How blessed, then, to know that the God of our salvation, the One who has been fully set forth in Christ, is “the God of all comfort.” The phrase is preceded by another - “the Father of mercies”; that is, as we understand it, the mercies or compassions which have been ministered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ have all flowed out to us through Him from the Father's heart. (Compare Rom. 12:1; 1 John 3:1.) In like manner, God is the blessed fount and source of all the comfort which can be received, and He is this because He is the God of resurrection. Now that. He has been fully glorified in the death of His beloved Son, He is set free in righteousness to let the mighty tide of His comforts flow out, without let or hindrance on His side, into the sorrowing hearts of His people in every part of the world. The only barrier to its inflow, at any time of need and distress, is to be found in our own state. A clear way has been made for Himself to minister it; but, alas! its reception is often checked by our unbelief and lack of expectation.
Together with this it must be remembered that, if He is “the God of all comfort,” there is no comfort outside of Himself. It is one of the sorrowful failings of His people that they do so often turn to other sources for relief and alleviation in seasons of grief; and thereby they miss the blessed lessons which He would teach them through their exercises under His chastening. Like Israel of old, instead of turning at once, when under pressure, to Himself, they frequently have recourse to the broken cisterns which can hold no water. Not living amid unseen things, they want human sympathies and support, and seek thus to comfort themselves, only, however, to realize, sooner or later, that the very thing which they most craved for and obtained for themselves was but another means of sorrow. No! God is the “God of all comfort,” and His mourners are shut up to Him, for He alone can put off their sackcloth and gird them with gladness, and cause them to sing praise to Him and not be silent. Taking up this attitude of waiting alone upon Him, they will soon learn that, if weeping endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning. Let these two things, therefore, be engraven upon our hearts, that He Himself is the source of all our comfort, and that there is no comfort elsewhere to be found.
It should be remarked, also, that to comfort is His character - that, in other words, He is the comforting God. As the apostle says, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,” and again in chapter 7, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down.” So likewise in the Psalms, as, for example, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” In each of these passages it will be noticed that the verb is in the present tense, that the action is consequently characteristic, and that therefore it is not what God will sometimes do if we wait upon Him, but what He ever does because it is His character and delight to do it. The question need therefore never be raised, Is He willing to comfort? It should rather be this, Are we in the state to receive this blessed ministry from Himself? What a God it is with whom we have to do! One who has told out all His heart in the dark domain of death through the gift of His beloved Son; One who, being “rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us .. . hath quickened us together with Christ”; and the One who, while we are passing through a world where sorrow and tribulation are our portion, presents Himself to us as a comforting God - the God, as Paul says, “who comforteth us in all our tribulation.” And is He not the same still? He is not One who cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, and we may therefore come boldly to the throne of grace for the needed mercy and the seasonable help. What an evangel of consolation this is to weary, burdened, and sorrowing hearts!