“Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” – Isaiah 49:13
To be “afflicted” is to have hardship and suffering. We often talk of illnesses afflicting people with pain.
Isaiah 49 is a prophecy concerning the coming of Jesus. It is through Jesus that “the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” Jesus Himself was afflicted on our behalf.
Elsewhere I have written about the “God of all comfort“, but here I wanted to focus on our response to that comfort.
Because the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on them, all of creation is to join in the worship and adoration of God. We are able to rejoice and burst into song during times of affliction because of God’s comfort, because we know He is compassionate.
A few things that this rejoicing in the face of suffering accomplishes are:
- It lifts our spirits and reminds us of the truths that we are not alone, the Lord is with us, He cares for us and is actively working on our behalf.
- It brings honor and glory to God for who He is and what He is doing.
- It is a witness to the world. Rejoicing in the midst of suffering doesn’t make any sense outside of Christ. That we are able to shout for joy and sing praise is a powerful example of the work of God.
So, if you are facing affliction of any kind, know that the Lord is compassionate and He comforts His people and let that knowledge lead you to worship. During some of the darkest and most difficult times in my life, when I have moved to an attitude of worship and even rejoicing, have been radically transformed. God’s love, grace, and especially comfort were powerfully evident in those moments. The situations may not have been resolved as quickly as I wanted, but God brought beauty into their midst and quieted my soul.