You were delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9–14)… seek the things that are above, where Christ is… Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth…your life is hidden with Christ in God… Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry… In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away… seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator… And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another… with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:1–17 (ESV)
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said”:
“No, I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you.”John 14:18
Does the Christian’s path lie all the way through Beulah? No, he is forewarned it is to be one of “much tribulation.”
He has his Marahs as well as his Elims—his valleys of Baca as well as his grapes of Eschol.
Often is he left un-befriended to bear the brunt of the storm—his gourds fading when most needed—his sun going down while it is yet day—his happy home and happy heart darkened in a moment with sorrows with which a stranger (with which often a brother) cannot understand.
There is One Brother “born for adversity” who can.
How often has that voice broken with its silvery accents the muffled stillness of the sick-chamber!
“I will not leave you comfortless: the world may, friends may, the desolations of bereavement and death may; but I will not; you will be alone, yet not alone, for I your Savior and your God will be with you!”
Jesus seems to have a special love and affection for His orphaned and comfortless people. A father loves his sick and sorrowing child most; of all his household, that child occupies most of his thoughts.
Christ seems to delight to lavish His deepest sympathy on “him that has no helper.”
It is in the hour of sorrow His people have found Him most precious; it is in “the wilderness” He speaks most “comfortable unto them;” He gives them “their vineyards from thence”; in the places they least expected, wells of heavenly consolation break forth at their feet.
As Jonathan of old, when faint and weary, had his strength revived by the honey he found dropping in the tangled thicket; so the faint and woe-worn children of God find “honey in the wood”; everlasting consolation dropping from the tree of life, in the midst of the thorniest thickets of affliction.
Comfortless ones, be comforted! Jesus often makes you portionless here in this world, to drive you to Himself, the everlasting portion! He often dries every rill and fountain of earthly bliss, that He may lead you to say, “All my springs are in You.”
“He seems intend,” says one who could speak from experience, “to fill up every gap love has been forced to make; one of his errands from heaven was to bind up the broken-hearted.”
How beautifully in one amazing verse does He conjoin the depth and tenderness of his comfort with the certainty of it—“As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you, and you SHALL be comforted!”
Ah, how many would not have their wilderness-state altered, with all its trials, and gloom, and sorrow, just that they might enjoy the unutterable sympathy and love of this Comforter of the comfortless, one ray of whose approving smile can dispel the deepest earthly gloom!
As the clustering constellations shine with the most intense luster in the midnight sky, so these “words of Jesus” come out like ministering angels in the deep dark night of earthly sorrow. We may see no beauty in them when the world is sunny and bright; but He has laid them up in store for us for the dark and cloudy day.
“These things have I told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”
by John MacDuff
I can feelingly say, he has proved himself stronger than I and his goodness superior to all my unworthiness.
He tells me (and enables me to believe it) that I am fair, and there is no spot in me. Though an enemy, he calls me his friend; though a traitor, a child; though a beggared prodigal, he clothes me with the best robe and has put a ring of endless love and mercy on my hand. And though I am sorely distressed by spiritual and internal foes, afflicted, tormented and bowed down almost to death with the sense of my own present barrenness, ingratitude and proneness to evil, he secretly shows me his bleeding wounds and softly and powerfully whispers to my soul, ‘I am thy great salvation.’ His free distinguishing grace is the bottom on which is fixed the rest of my poor weary tempted soul. On this I ground my hope, often times when unsupported by any other evidence, save only the Spirit of adoption received from him. When my dry and empty barren soul is parched with thirst, he kindly bids me come to him and drink my fill at the fountainhead. In a word, he empowers me to say with experiential evidence, ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ Amen and amen.”
Joseph Hart (1712-1768), quoted in Peter C. Rae, “Joseph Hart and His Hymns,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 6 (1988): 22-23.