"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God" (Isa. 40:1).
Store up comfort. This was the prophet's mission. The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou art sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained. And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood. Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the Divine art of comfort. Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness. --Selected
God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. --Dr. Jowett
"They tell me I must bruise The rose's leaf, Ere I can keep and use Its fragrance brief.
"They tell me I must break The skylark's heart, Ere her cage song will make The silence start.
"They tell me love must bleed, And friendship weep, Ere in my deepest need I touch that deep.
"Must it be always so With precious things? Must they be bruised and go With beaten wings?
"Ah, yes! by crushing days,
By caging nights, by scar
Of thorn and stony ways,
These blessings are!"
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.