The following post is by Dr. Roy Ciampa of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
There’s so much pain and suffering in this world. Sometimes it feels as though we only experience judgment and not grace. It can feel as though God has led us into a wasteland only to leave us there to perish, forsaken and alone. When will we know God’s favor again?
It is to a people asking such questions, a people weary with pain and suffering, especially pain and suffering caused by their own foolish sins, that God speaks the promises found in Isaiah 40:1-5. He promises the end of suffering for sins, the end of the sense of God’s absence from his people, the end of waiting. And he promises comfort—tender words of comfort. He promises the restoration of his presence in the midst of his people. Nothing would be allowed to separate God from his people: not deep valleys, not high hills or even mountains, not roads that are impassable. God will come to his people and they will know comfort, and forgiveness, and presence, and … glory! In the Advent season we remember that "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us" (Rom. 8:18)!