Nothing lasts forever. For some situations, this is frightening. When everything is going well, who wants change? For other situations, this is a word of hope. When things aren’t going well, change is a welcome respite. My family has had so many major, life-changing illnesses and conditions, we have come to expect it. (Diabetes in 3 of my 3 kids, MS in my oldest, my mom has survived 3 cancers, and my little sister has survived colon cancer. There have been many surgeries and appendicitis. We also have in the family depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. It seems we have some major new diagnosis or hospitalization at least once a year.) In fact, when things are going well and all my people are healthy, we start to get a little squirrely. We wonder, what is the next tragedy to strike?
Then we look to God’s word and find this: “Comfort, O comfort.” A gentle reminder that nothing lasts forever. Everything changes. When the challenging times strike, we are reminded that there is always something new on the horizon. Illness often does heal. Exile can turn to restoration. Broken relationships can be mended. Grief can melt into joy.
Today we are all healthy. Since we do not know what tomorrow brings, today we will enjoy today.
Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
‘Here is your God!’
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.