Comfort for Heartache
God often reminded the people of Israel that the Lord kept covenant with them for the sake of God’s past promises of mercy. It is to this heavenly compassion God’s people would appeal, such as when the Psalmist prayed, “Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.”
Now Mary pronounced the fulfillment of God’s gracious benevolence. She spoke of Israel as a child even as she rejoiced in the child she held within her and would soon hold in her arms, close to her heart.
Years later, Jesus spoke of God’s mercy and compassion in the imagery of comfort through sorrow. He used the strongest word possible for mourning, a passionate lament of heart-wrenching grief and anguish over indescribable loss, or terrible transgression. With aching heart and flowing tears, the more you and I hurt, the more we are willing to receive the compassion and comfort of God.
God’s consolation brings a deep satisfaction and awareness of being seen, known, loved, and forgiven. God’s reassurance refreshes and restores, filling heavy hearts with hope, “Oh how serene and joyful, how deeply comforted is the person who is desperately sad, or desperately sorry, whose heart is broken, because God has profound comfort for that person.”
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
This, this is Christ, the King,“What Child Is This?” William Chatterton Dix (1865)
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!
O Lord, so often we come to you weary, with our hearts heavy-laden. We carry weighty burdens, in desperate need of the rest You promise, and to learn from You, for You are gentle and humble in heart. In You we will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)