I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.…
The word "comfortless" means "bereft." We have adopted the Greek word, and have gradually limited it to the severest kind of bereavement — orphanhood. But the promise, starting from one kind of bereavement, enlarges itself, and takes in all who from any cause want comfort. God does not say that you shall never be comfortless, but on the contrary, He implies that you shall be so. Nobody, however saintly, could say he was never comfortless, but he can say, "I was not left comfortless." And the length of the comfortless period depends upon the faith we have in Christ's coming to us.
I. Let us confine our view to one kind of sorrow — BEREAVEMENT, This has in it —
1. Change. One you loved, and with whom you were almost hourly in converse, has passed away. Everything is changed; nothing looks to us as it used to look in the sunshine, which seems as if it never would come back again. It is wonderful how one face gone, one voice silent, alters the whole world.
2. Separation. Then a gulf opens, which, however persons may talk about it, is then very wide. The grave is a wall of adamant to you — they may be conscious of no distance, but to you, oh, how very far off!
3. Loneliness. No wonder that the silence is oppressive. No matter how many you may have around you, or how kind, you are thrown hack into your own thoughts which circle about one, and that one is gone, and it is a perfect solitude.
4. Fear: a painful apprehension of what the future is going to be. "How shall I live on? What shall I do without that love, that counsel?"
II. FOR THESE FOUR WRETCHEDNESSES, CHRIST IS THE ONLY ANTIDOTE — "I will come to you." And mark, it is His presence, not His work, His Cross, His final Advent, but His living presence now.
1. With Him there is no shadow of a turning. It is the same voice which faith hears, and the same face which faith sees now, which you heard and saw in years long gone by. "I will never leave you." And the awful change which has passed over everything else only makes it stand out more comfortingly — His impossibility of change.
2. And with that felt, present, unchangeable Christ, both worlds are one. The Church in heaven and the Church on earth are the members, and all meet in that one Head, and in Him they are here. Where then is loneliness? He is a Brother by me, to whom I can tell everything, and He will answer me. I seem speaking to them because they are holding the very same converse within the veil.
3. The solitude of the soul, where He is, becomes peopled with the whole host of heaven. There is no sense of being alone when we realize that we are alone with Jesus.
4. And so the fear flies away. For what Christ is now, He will be always. And that presence is the pledge of a reunion. A little while, and it will be He, and they, and I, and we shall be together forever.Conclusion:
1. Read a particular emphasis on the "I," that great word which God is so fond of. Whatever it be to you now, this gay world will leave you utterly "comfortless." Those whom today you are most fondly cherishing, and the thought of whose death you dare not admit to your own heart — if you have none but them, and no Christ in them, you will wake up some morning to such a cold vacancy, for that one will have gone, and will have left you "comfortless." Friends will come with their emptinesses, and they will go, and you will be as comfortless as when they came. Only He who could say, "I will come to you" as none other comes, as He came to Martha and Mary at Bethany; only He can say, "I will not leave you comfortless."
2. Read another emphasis on that "you." "I," Jesus seems to say, "I was left comfortless, but I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
3. Of all the bereaved in the whole world, there is none so bereft as that man of whatever happy circle he may be, who cannot look up to heaven, and say, "My Father." That man is an orphan indeed.
4. There is another. He has known what it is to feel God His Father, but it is gone Do you say, "It is I?" Then I am sure that at this moment Jesus is saying it to you — "I will not leave you an orphan," etc. For if there be a thing on the whole earth which Jesus will not have it is an orphaned heart.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.