Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Isaiah 40:1-11 is about the Israelites in the wilderness. Wilderness under slavery in Egypt. Wilderness in another forty years of wandering after crossing through the Red Sea.
Wilderness and hardship and the unknown. After reading and reflecting on the passage, I had bright and distinct knowledge that the COVID-19 crisis and pandemic is our wilderness.
What proof that our Bible rings true in every age and era are the words, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” We are in exile, in the wilderness … not knowing when or how we will all get through this. Despair, depression and confusion abound with a wilderness of opinions clouding our way forward. I don’t think I have ever read a passage and been so struck as to how it could have been written yesterday to cover the world I live in now. We are exiles in our homes and our former lives, waiting on a cure or a vaccine to free us.
We all want and need God’s words of comfort. It doesn’t by any means change that fact that life, with all of its hardships and beauty, goes on. The grass will still wither and the flowers will still fall, but God’s love is reliable and supersedes all of it and brings each of the beauties back in new seasons.
So in this season of Advent, let’s nickname it “Advent under Covid,” we look with hope and faith to the birth and arrival of our Savior. Oddly, I don’t have a Christmas carol as my mental background music, but Diana Ross and the Supremes singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to usher my heart and thoughts into this season of Advent. I am buoyed by faith that we will get out of this wilderness being cradled and comforted by God. Verse 11 says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
Whatever your wilderness, God is always there offering comfort, care, love and forgiveness. During this season of Advent, I have such comfort from knowing that the gift of true love from our Father is coming, and soon. True comfort and the gift of salvation through the birth of his son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Be comforted. Amen.