O Lord of Hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem? . . . And the Lord answered gracious and comforting words to the angel.
What a sweet answer to an anxious inquiry! This night let us rejoice in it. O Zion, there are good things in store for you; your time of travail will soon be over; your children shall come forth; your captivity shall end. Bear patiently the rod for a season, and under the darkness still trust in God, for His love burns toward you.
God loves the church with a love too deep for human imagination: He loves her with all His infinite heart. Therefore let her sons be of good courage; she cannot be far from prosperity to whom God speaks “gracious and comforting words.” The prophet goes on to tell us: “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion.” The Lord loves His church so much that He cannot bear that she should go astray to others; and when she has done so, He cannot endure that she should suffer too much or too heavily.
He will not have his enemies afflict her: He is displeased with them because they increase her misery. When God seems most to leave His church, His heart is warm toward her.
History shows that whenever God uses a rod to chasten His servants, He always breaks it afterwards, as if He loathed the rod that gave his children pain. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.”1
God has not forgotten us because He strikes—His blows are no evidences of absence of love. If this is true of His church collectively, it is also necessarily true of each individual member. You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made or the only saint He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace.
1) Psalm 103:13