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Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 30

God’s People Comforted

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 40:1-31, Isaiah 41:1-29, John 1:23, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Text: Isaiah 40:1-31, Isaiah 41:1-29, John 1:23,  2 Corinthians 1:3-7

I remember the exact Tennessee pasture I was passing when I found out things were not okay. One 43-second phone call was all it took to reroute my morning commute and all future plans. My favorite person was gone, leaving a void too large and a shock too real to swallow. I wasn’t sure what else to do but to keep driving, allowing the quiet backroad to usher me out of my once-present joy and into a whole new reality.

I pulled into my usual office parking spot with an unusual, aching sound caught in my throat. I felt paralyzed by the news, but somehow hurried inside anyway, my fingertips throbbing as I slammed the car door. Rebecca was already there, standing in the doorway, waiting to receive my sadness.

When I’d been introduced to Rebecca just a few weeks prior, I’d been wearing my first-day-of-work finest. Our shared love for showtunes had grown from a quiet, excited discussion to loud, harmonized renditions of all our favorite songs (with assigned parts, of course). Over a shared lunch of red pepper soup and tossed salad greens, we began brainstorming names for the baby she was expecting in the spring. But neither of us was expecting the news that would come sooner.

The 43-second phone call had sparked the need for a 5-hour trip—one Rebecca graciously offered to drive. As I sat in the passenger seat of my little blue car, I didn’t fully realize that God had given me the comfort I needed in the form of a person. But this was hardly the first time He’d come to comfort.

Exile had forced the Israelites to leave the life they loved, and without warning. I don’t know where they were when they found out, but I’ll bet the news left them dumbfounded, not knowing where to go or what to do with their grief. To whom could they take their heartache?

“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over,
her iniquity has been pardoned,
and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
- Isaiah 40:1-2

God was standing in the entryway of the Israelites’ new lives, offering the promise of comfort and an end to their suffering. They didn’t know it would come in the form of a person—much less a baby and ultimately, a cross—but it certainly would. “For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:5).

The best comfort in our grief comes not from answers to stand behind, but from those who will sit with us in our pain. The incarnation of Christ gives us both. The places His body were pierced on the cross created vessels for the Father’s comfort to flow to us. Because “it is finished,” we are comforted (John 19:30).

Praise the Lord for giving us a Person. “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram30s

  • This was my favorite devotional thus far. I read the 2 Corinthians verses at my grandmother’s funeral, and felt a peace I have never felt before amidst my grief.

  • I appreciate the devotional as I am traveling through a valley of grief I never would have imagined my family would go through. My youngest son lost his leg to cancer and may very well lose his life on Earth to it as well.
    But what struck me most was reading Isaiah 40. God is so great and omnipotent that he cannot be measured or contained in our human, finite brains; much less in the mold of a statue. He measures the waters of the sea in His hand, He can stretch out His arms the length of the universe, He weighs mountains on His scales; this is unfashionable to me.
    I cannot see or even imagine the Lord God Almighty but He created me and longs to be merciful to me. He strengthens me and comforts me and equips me to comfort others.
    31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
    they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”
    Thank you Lord!

    • She Reads Truth

      Laura, thank you so much for sharing this. Praying for you and your family in this time of grief and devastation. Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

    • Raegan

      Praying for you and your family, Laura!

    • Allison Coleman

      You and your family will be in my prayers. May God provide you hope and comfort during this hard and painful time.

  • I just broke up with my boy friend of two years because he was sexting other women. I tried to work it out ,but there was no longer trust. Being only 20, not married, and having no children involved it was best for me to leave. This passage could not come at a better time in my life. God is truly amazing and He is the true groom and I his bride. I am going to take this time to heal and work on myself and my relationship with Him. Thank you Lord for being my everything and my healer.

  • I love this scripture today! Circumstances we go through and the pain we endure can be used so that we are equipped through the Holy Spirit to comfort, strengthen, and provide hope to OTHERS WHO GO THROUGH SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES and are experiencing similar emotional and even physical pain.

    I was in the hospital 10 days following a roll-over accident my husband and I had been involved in. A laceration on my arm became infected and I had 4 surgeries, a wound vac, and high powered IV antibiotics during these 10 days. I was in unbearable pain. The Lord was such a source of comfort and strength, and people came to visit, including my brother.

    Fast forward just 4 months after being in my own hospital room, and I found myself in another hospital room–this time in Houston, TX at MDAnderson Cancer Center. This time roles were reversed. I was the visitor. My brother was the patient. Post surgery he had two of the very same high powered, full ammunition IV antibiotics that I had been administered, and he experienced identical side effects that I had experienced. He also had a wound vac tethered to his arm which I had on my arm as well just 4 months earlier. WHAT ARE THOSE ODDS to experience such identical medical treatments especially within such a narrow window of time? I was able to tell him side effect symptoms to watch for and identify that I had experienced, and then was able to promptly alert the medical staff to them when they occurred with him. I am convinced it was Nothing short of God’s hand preparing me in advance to be a source of comfort and strength to my brother, and I was so thankful to have gone through my own experience regardless of the pain I endured.

    The Lord also spoke though precious friends of mine who gave me amazing scripture to comfort me, and I was able to use some of those same verses to encourage my brother. Even one of his busy surgeons paused during one of his daily visits to comment on a verse that was written on a white board propped up on the counter in my brother’s room. Through my own experience, the Lord comforted, strengthened, and prepared me in many ways to be a better support, encourager, and care taker of my brother out in Houston, and I was again thankful for my own experience.
    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this, Raegan! So encouraged by these words and seeing how the Lord works in every person’s life. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

  • I’ve never been one to lean on people. I have too often been disappointed by people and quit seeing them for what they are-gifts from God. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be alone. I can trust and love the people God has put into my life for their comfort in my time of need and to be able to comfort them and others in the future. God doesn’t want us to suffer. I am so blessed to know God so deeply. Thanks be to God!

    • Hannah

      See, in the opposite. I’m too trusting of people and I need to rely more on God. People have let me down so many times but God never will. Interesting the different things people can draw from a single passage.

  • I love the fact that God is our comforter. And the verse from Corinthians talking about how you are comforted, so that you can be a comforter to others. It is such a good reminder to never take for granted the gift that others give to you when going through a difficult time and always be available to others who are struggling.
    I recently discovered this quote by Oswald Chambers describing a comforter and I LOVE it: ” The place for the comforter is not that of one who preaches, but of the comrade who says nothing, but prays to God about the matter. The biggest thing you can do for those who are suffering is to not talk platitudes, not to ask questions, but to get into contact with God, and the “greater works” will be done by prayer.” Such a good reminder that comforting others can be simple; it doesn’t have to be some big act of hospitality or some grand gesture or mind-breaking snippet of advice. You can comfort someone simply by being there and praying for them. Love that. And love the reminder in Isaiah that God will comfort and redeem His people.

    • Elizabeth Highsmith

      Thank you for this, so relevant. I recently lost my dad to a long battle with cancer as someone on the receiving end of comfort this is so true and good.

    • Catie

      Great quote! I too recently lost my dad very quickly and unexpectedly, he was 59. I’ve said since that I have never felt such comfort in my life regardless if I could not even pray for myself because of how many people were going to God on my family’s behalf. Only by the Lord’s work have I never asked why or searched for answers to why I lost my dad so young, but I’ve been constantly reminded and resting on that his ways are higher and that He does not owe answers to me but promises to comfort and to provide each and everything I need in every moment whether it was a friend to laugh with, sob with, or to just sit with.

    • Naomi

      Love that Leesha!

  • When I got baptised 10 years ago I was given Isaiah 41:10 as my baptismal verse. Over the next few days I made it a point to memorize it. I have repeated it and prayed it so, so many times to myself over the years. Still, even today, it is a favorite verse of mine and gives such peace and comfort to me throughout every day.

  • Isaiah 40:27-31 was given to me 6 years ago on a piece of yellow paper at a youth retreat. I remember reading it and just kind of brushing it off but over the years it has come back to me in so many ways. Today, reading it in the Message translation it washed over me in an incredibly powerful way. Haven’t you been listening?? He doesn’t come and go, he stays!! He gives fresh strength and allows his people to SOAR. What a wonderful image of God by our side through everyday life. The hard times and the joyful times and the mundane times, He is there. What a beautiful reminder during my “mundane” lunch/study break…God is present and active and full of life.

  • Carrie Rogers

    Yes, praise Him!

  • This message came at the perfect time. I’m on my way back from my Dad’s funeral. I had the strength to stay strong through everything the last few days knowing that mine and my Dad’s Savior, Jesus Christ, was (and still is) right there with me, (I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
    Philippians 4:13 NIV). But I’m sitting here at the airport and discovered I had a voice mail from my Dad. So I’m crying and reading this devotional. Realizing once again I’m not alone. So thank you, SRT, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you Lord for always being there. Also, thank you all for you prayers.

  • peanut cheese

    That part in chapter 40, where we people are put back right to where we belong, by reminding us that nothing goes above God’s intelligence, hits me over and over again. Who are we to sometimes put our morals and insights above God’s? Whom do we have above us? An almighty and opnipotent God who is above all and everything. And yes, He’s also the One who sits next to us and hears us. But let us pause a moment and think about his exaltedness first.

  • Alanna Davis

    While I haven’t been the best at keeping up with my reading as I should, I definitely agree with everyone else: what a balm chapters 40 and 41 are! It helps that chapter 40 is my favorite chapter in the Bible – the amazing show of love, grace and power that God gives to His people in these verses brings me awe every time I read them. I hadn’t even thought about it until the reading this morning, but I (and my family) received a piece of God’s comfort yesterday as hopeful news was shared about the prognosis of my sister’s father-in-law’s health. We know that he is not out of the woods yet, but God is giving us hope and comfort through the middle of this heart-aching time. We continue to pray for him and rest in the comfort that God gives to us, in His word and the people that He sends to us. Praise God for His faithfulness always!

  • Veronica

    The passages today were just what I needed to hear in this season. I found myself underlining so many verses, holding back tears as my soul cried out in thankfulness. It has been dark here, sisters. For weeks I have been praying to a God who seems silent, to our Lord who seems distant. The weight of my struggles has been holding me down, and I have been drowning in incredible loneliness as a result. My time in devotion and prayer led to tears and grief rather then joy- God, how long do I need to cry out? How long until you answer my prayers? Where are you in the midst of my pain?

    “I have chosen you and not rejected you, do not fear for I am with you… I will strengthen you; I will help you.”

    It’s as if those words were written for me today. Reading the passages today of promise and hope has breathed new life into me. He still feels so silent, so distant, but thanks be to God I know his promises are true, and that he is ever faithful. Nothing has changed in my circumstances, but these words give me the trust I lack to re-word my prayers…

    “Father, thank you for this trial! Use these circumstances to grow me into the person you always knew I could become. I surrender my will, my hopes, my dreams to you. Give me the courage to share your grace and comfort with others, even when I want to keep it all for my own aching soul. I believe you are here with me, I know your promises stand true. I am eager for you today.”

    Today, my struggles remain the same. But I serve a God of grace and compassion who has chosen me, chosen YOU, despite our sins and circumstances, to be his children. I rest in His promises today.

  • Melody Suarez

    I experienced comfort this week in my church community as well as being able to comfort another person in return. I love how God uses different people in our lives to both receive from and give to during our hardships and suffering. It’s a beautiful reminder that He is watching over us and cares about us. I’m going to need His comfort a lot these next 8 weeks of nursing school and I hope that I’m able to fully rely on Him for it, and not other idols or outlets that are set before me. I just love Him.

  • Caroline

    Yes! So thankful for those who have sat so near and close to me through all my pain. So thankful Jesus is always sitting with me too.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Diane Huntsman

    The sting of heart wrenching news.. the comfort of a godly friend.. thank Jesus for the comfort He brings in and through the humans we love.

  • The greatness of who God is in chapter 40 is astounding, but then the fact that he comes to us, his created, in chapter 41 and is our Redeemer, our help, our answer and more. He is not just this distant God out there somewhere, but he cares for and is involved in our lives. I find that so mind boggling and comforting at the same time! I just need to praise Him!

  • Hailey T.

    This post is perfectly timed. I mentor a young woman who is going through a very dark time. I too went through dark times as a teen too and did not worship God. BUT he was faithful. He was faithful to the door I opened in my heart when I was 10. He was faithful in protecting me in my personal whirlwind. I am taking comfort today that He is with my Little. The moment she was brought to the mental facility he was following her on eagle’s wings.

    “So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

    Praying, sisters, for a reminder in his glorious light of a time for strength, not of fear, but of wonderful love.

  • fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
    My heart is opened up this morning by the I-you promises of chapter 41. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Do not fear, for I will help you. I have chosen you.

    Thanks be to God.

  • When I am overwhelmed, I remember:

    “He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
    he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.”

    It does not remove the difficulty and sadness in life. It does not explain it all. It does not fully reveal
    His plan. It shows that he is with us in the pain. He knows us intimately and leads us with compassion.

  • Praise the Lord for giving us a Person. “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
    Absolutely praising Him for His forever comforting arms, love and grace…Amen. x

    Sending love wrapped hugs to you all this amazing gift of a spring day..xxx

  • “For I am the Lord you God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ” This is one of my favorite scriptures and in the past I would repeat it to myself to help me over come fear. I am moved at just how comforting that passage was for me and how the Lord helped me overcome that fear. I feel so blessed that we server a God who comes and meets our needs-love our Lord!

  • I am particularly struck by the “have you not heard” language in the reading this week. We can make idols or feel like God isn’t with us, but that’s only when we get lost in ourselves instead of listening to the word. God is so much vaster than any idol could ever capture, so much more loving than we could ever imagine. Taking strength in this today!

    • Ashley

      I totally agree!! I was reminded of how crazy and ridiculous it is when I look to other things to satisfy, fulfill, comfort when God is the Everlasting One. I too love that language, it’s like God is saying wake up! Don’t you remember who I am? Won’t you rest in Him and receive all I have for you? Thanks for your words!

    • Cari

      The “Have you not heard” repetition struck me too. Even when I know He is with me, I catch myself needing the reminder.

  • Isaiah 40:27-31 stood out to me this morning. I’ve asked/felt the same way; that I’m able to hide from God &/or I’m being ignored by God. It felt good to know that I wasn’t alone in this — that people of today aren’t alone in this feeling.
    It bolstered my soul to read about our everlasting God who never grows weary, who has no limit to His understanding, who gives strength.
    “Do you not know?” was asked, and I’m reminded that sometimes I can “know” something but not really “KNOW” it. (If that makes sense at all). May I, and all of us, come to KNOW that God is for us, that she will renew our strength and help us to soar.

  • Notes I took along my reading this morning: Renew strength, The First & The Last, Don’t be afraid, God calls & chooses, REJOICE, God does not forsake!, A Great Provider, Father of Mercies & God of all Comfort…all so true as He gently continues to “carry” me through this 3 year pancreatic cancer journey!! I can share & even shout it from the house top…God comforts, heals, encourages & provides for our every need!
    Yes dear Churchmouse…I will “cry out” with you…”Jesus loves you..He want to carry our burdens and heal our diseases”
    So beautiful to read my sisters’ comments and see the great compassionate hearts and love that flows through my SRT sisters…what a great ministry …..love you all & praying along with each one of you as we continue on this incredible & exciting journey together…IN HIM!
    Have a blessed Tuesday y’all <

    • Kendra

      ❤️❤️

    • Raegan

      All too often I’m so guilty of not sharing what Christ has done in my life because of not wanting to “step on toes” but I feel so encouraged by these words today! I am praying to be less timid and “cry out” with y’all!! Also praying with you in your cancer journey for strength and healing! Blessings!! :)

  • God is so good to have given us this reminder this morning. My husband and I are grieving a loss right now and just before bed last night we cried out to Him to be our constant comfort for “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!”

  • I am reminded of God’s restraint this morning, which seems odd given the intense words of destruction and judgment throughout the book of Isaiah. About halfway through chapter 40 as I was reading how He reduces rulers of the world to nothing and blows away people who have just taken root (v. 23-24), and I thought it’s no wonder so many people feel a false sense of power claiming God is on their side…those who use God and Scripture as a weapon against others. Reading verses like that, it doesn’t surprise me. God can appear so mighty, and kind of cold, at least in my opinion. UNLESS we also remember that He is a shepherd who tends His flocks, He gathers lambs in His arms, He carries, He gently leads…. (vs. 11). This is the same God! And all of the sudden I am in awe of God’s restraint and His mercy! And I am reminded that a sign of a great leader is not the amount of their power they wield, but it is a leader of great power who chooses not to rely on his/her power but instead show wisdom, mercy, restraint and love.

  • candacejo

    Such a good lesson, so many take-aways! Like many others, I have experienced the same when God sent the answer, or the comfort, in the form of another. Maybe it will be an encouragement to you. http://www.hopeinthehealing.com/2015/07/05/god-sends-people/

  • I’ve never read through the book of Isaiah, or really much of the Old Testament. I have been enjoying reading through it and these chapters especially were a sweet reprieve from the chapters of heartache and destruction. Thankful for my sweet Savior today!

    • She Reads Truth

      I agree, Maddie! It was such beauty and felt almost like a reward for enduring. I think it made me appreciate God’s character all the more. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

  • May God continue to comfort you in your loss.

  • Fear not, I am the one that helps you. ❤ Declares the Lord. I love this! He is actively helping us. Almost say

  • I did a lot of underlining and making stars in my study book today. Must mean I need comfort from The Lord. This was a really empowering and amazing read today!

  • Thank you for choosing Isaiah in this season. I feel like I have learned so much by reading through the whole book. The books of the prophets have always been intimidating and so I skim through them or pull the “good” verses out whenever I need them.

    These last 28 days have brought some really tough scripture. Hard visuals of destruction and justice but I’ve learned a lot about God’s desire for his people through those hard chapters. Today I got to see His tender words pouring out in comfort over His people. I am thankful for a God who is jealous for my undying devotion and who loves and comforts me through my weakness.

    • Pam

      I am loving Isaiah and learning so much through this book. It speaks to where I am most every day!!

    • She Reads Truth

      So glad to hear this, Jess! Grateful to have you reading with us!

      – Stormye

  • Tochi Heredia

    I’ve been in need of comfort lately.
    The recent changes in my life, the lingering disappointment and the uncertainty of an undiagnosed disease, weigh on my shoulders like a mountain.
    The problem is that the only thing people have provided me with are comments of “you’re too young to be so skinny/tired/bitter/etc, and they keep telling me to suck it up and keep going. Even the people closest to me.

    It’s such a beautiful thing knowing that God comforts us, gives us strength and upholds us with his righteous hand.
    But my stubborn heart wants people’s comfort, too. It wants understanding and support from the people I love.
    This morning I’m praying that God’s love, promises and comfort are enough to calm my anxious heart.
    Prayers are appreciated.

    • Emily

      Praying for Tochi! Father, lift her up and comfort her heart and draw near. Father, we know you hear our cries for help, hear us now as we lift Tochi up to you in prayer. Blessed be your name, for alone are enough. Amen.

    • Emily

      He is “intimately acquainted with all our ways” I pray for you (and me) that He will show something incredibly personal today, so that you are reminded of His endless love for you. That you will be comforted in a deep way. I also pray, if His will, for someone dear to you to be a conduit of His compassion. Grace to you…

    • Savannah

      Sister, as a chronically ill (and young) person, I know the yearning to have the understanding and support from those around you – family members, peers, as well as the anxiety derived from undiagnosed health problems. Today, I pray that we will both seek fulfillment and comfort from our Savior, knowing He is all we need. Matt 11:28-30

    • Claire

      Praying for you, Tochi. I’m currently experiencing a flare up of my illness and it’s hard when people around don’t understand…but God does!

    • Tochi Heredia

      Thank you, ladies! You made my day :)
      Praising God for providing us such a beautiful community here at SRT​ ❤

  • “The best comfort in our grief comes not from answers to stand behind, but from those who will sit with us in our pain.”

    Yes! My Daddy died unexpectedly when i was 14. I’ve often said the most meaningful thing anyone has ever done in my life is grieve with me. My friends who just sat with me, cried with me, listened to me, and loved me were Jesus in the flesh! I’m eternally grateful for them. And oh, so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His son to save us!

  • 11 He PROTECTS His flock like a shepherd;
    He GATHERS the lambs in His arms
    and CARRIES them in the fold of His garment.
    He gently LEADS those that are nursing.

  • Kathleen

    22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
    I love this – it brings me such comfort.

  • Sarah Joy

    So many sweet, familiar words in these chapters of Isaiah. After many days of wading through the prophesies of heartache and destruction today’s reading was that much sweeter. In the past I have skipped the prophets and only pulled out those verses that make sense without work. Now I’ve become curious about the context and the storyline of Isaiah. Reading straight through has challenged me, but it’s caused me to come to the oasis of this section with gratitude.

    Thank you for your mercy God when we deserve destruction in the face of your holiness. Thank you for having a plan of redemption.

  • Couldn’t help but sing The Young Messiah’s “Comfort Ye” along with Larnelle Harris as I read this. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rTun1tYkWEg. Brings me right back to the early 90s. :)

  • Churchmouse

    It is the time to “Cry out!”. God has come once again to save His wayward people. The words of impending deliverance must have revived the hopes of Israel. He had not forgotten. He had not forsaken. Oh they certainly had. But He had not. And that would make all the difference. As I read the news even this morning, I know these are the last days. Every day is a day closer to the Last Day. Oh let me cry out! Let me shout “Do you not know? Have you not heard? “. There will come a day when there will no longer be an opportunity to shout, no opportunity to tell, no opportunity to point out the Way. I know. I have received His Comfort. Let me not hesitate to cry out while I can. I can comfort with the ultimate comfort even as I have been comforted. I know. I have received. I can be in perfect peace. The time is now. The day is today. Let none of us be timid. Let us all cry out. “Do not be afraid! Here is your God!” We cannot keep this any longer to ourselves. We must cry out. Because we know. And the Day is coming.

    • Leigh

      Yes Yes Yes

    • cj8of8

      Yes! Amen. Oh Holy Spirit- fill the hearts of your people! Help us to cry out in this wilderness! So many have heard, yet suppress your glory oh God! Your kindness and mercy are overwhelming.. we will not be ashamed! Thankful for your word!

  • Elisabeth7291

    For as difficult as so many of the preceding chapters have been, 40 & 41 are so rich! May we hear the ‘herald of good news’ and bask in its grace.

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