Our Hope and Consolation
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving is over, and the Chirstmas season is in full swing.  Most of my neighbors have already put up their Christmas lights, and when I go to the grocery store I hear holiday tunes like "Up On the Rooftop" and "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"

There's a hymn that's traditionally sung around this time of year, called "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus".  The lyrics of this hymn include these words:

Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.

We probably don't think much about that word, consolation.  Yet, have you ever experienced grief, sorrow, or disappointment, to such a depth that it seems like nothing will ever really take it away?

The dictionary defines the verb console as, "to alleviate or lessen grief, sorrow, or disappointment".  But I think the Scripture has a stronger view of what consolation means.  Consider these verses from Psalm 30:

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:11-12

What kind of consolation is so profound that it doesn't just make you feel less sad, but actually takes away the sorrow altogether — forever — and fills your heart with joy and praise?  This is the consolation we find in Jesus.  When Jesus gave his first sermon in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-21), he quoted from this passage in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release from prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn,
to console those who mourn in Zion,
to give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Compare this with the following scriptures:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4
The ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 51:11

This is kind of consolation Jesus offers to those that have put their trust in Him.  The Scripture says, "Each heart knows its own bitterness."  There may never be another person who can truly know and understand the pain and brokenness you've experienced, but the Holy Spirit knows the burden of your heart, and He knows what it will take to bring you healing.

And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:7
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!

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I've always wondered about the hopeless state of Adam's heart as he was cast out of the garden; he was right there in The Lord's presence, but gave it up by his choice. Wonder if any human has ever felt such loss? Yet God gave him the hope of the promise of man's Descendant who will crush the serpents head.
Posted by d'Fox on Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
— Colossians 1:9-12