Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 40

Healing and Peace

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 57:1-21, Luke 12:4-7, Ephesians 2:11-22

Text: Isaiah 57:1-21, Luke 12:4-7, Ephesians 2:11-22

I did not grow up in a Christian home. If we did attend church, we did so sporadically—but most Easter holidays, for sure. I had heard a smattering of Bible stories and knew about Jesus through the Catholic grade school I attended. And even then, I was drawn to Jesus.

I will never forget that day in the third grade when we had an Easter observance, the Stations of the Cross, during the school day. Our class filed into the sanctuary and began moving from picture to picture, pausing at each image that depicted Jesus on the day of His crucifixion. By the time we got to Jesus on the cross, I was in tears. Even hearing that He rose again didn’t comfort me. I couldn’t understand: how could something so awful happen to someone so good?

Still, as moved as I was, I felt far from Jesus. I didn’t know Him and I didn’t know that I could know Him. I didn’t know that He came to earth to die for me, so that I, Kim, could be saved. In my mind, the classmates who could walk to the front and take communion were the ones who were close to Jesus. I had to sit in the pew as they got up and filed past me. They were included, while I never thought I was.

In college I met friends who had grown up in church. On a couple of occasions, I attended Sunday service with them, watching as they opened their Bibles, knowing exactly where to turn at the pastor’s direction. They could quote Scripture and knew references to people and stories throughout the Bible. Once again, I felt far from Him, while others got to be near.

Maybe that’s why I so love the heart of God in these words: “‘Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says the LORD, and ‘I will heal him’” (Isaiah 57:19).  In Isaiah, God is revealing His plan for the world; salvation would extend to all nations and all people, not just His chosen people, Israel.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). Jesus’ earthly lineage came through the people of Israel, but He is the eternal God. Before the foundation of the world, His divine plan was for Jesus to be Savior of all.

“Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near” is joyous news for us all. Jesus’ arms are open unto us no matter where we’re from, how we were raised, or what we’ve done. So often we feel far from God because of things we’ve done, but the truth is there’s nothing that can that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39).  

It is Jesus who makes it so. His death on the cross paid a debt we could never pay. In Him, we are forgiven and able to dwell closely with our Lord, ever near. Peace with God through His Son is a gift overflowing with mercy, love, and grace. This is the God who beckons to us, not once, but twice—peace, peace. By the power of His Spirit may we turn to receive it and to rest in Him.

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Kim Cash Tate is the author of several books, including Though I Stumble (2016) and Cling: Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God (2017). A former practicing attorney, she has a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God. Kim lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two young adult children.

  • oohh I can feel and enjoy peace because he is peace… Blessings to all my sisters… Happy Ester Day tomorrow, He is alive and waiting for us in glory or may he come soon for us!!!

  • Thanks stormye, been praying for over 13 years now. Things are changing. May the Lord’s will be done in their lives. Amen.

  • Haha, had to do a double take when I read this today! My sister and I also grew up in the catholic school system and also ‘knew’ of Jesus but didn’t KNOW him personally. I remember exactly when I first walked the stations of the cross and took palm leaves on Palm Sunday, all pointing to our savior but I was still very far at the time. And I also gave my life to Christ in college, but my sister was the opposite. Funny enough, my sisters name is Kim. She has been suffering the opposite of peace for a long time, being in a marriage that has been tumultuous from the start, owning her own business that drives her obsession to control over the edge, creating an anxiety disorder that often leaves her breathless. I sent her this and pray that she may find peace, peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. Please pray for her and her husband Mike if you can remember, that they may be redeemed soon, however far they are from Him right now. Thanks.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for Mike and Kim right now. Thank you so much for sharing this, Evie. Asking the Lord to open their hearts and redeem them. He is a sweet Father an Redeemer.

      – Stormye

  • Rebecca Bates

    Love this lesson!!

  • Keri McCue

    I love when we see God hinting at what’s to come in Scripture. I love finding those passages and resting in them. They bring such a comfort, knowing that Isaiah 57 was written so far ahead of Jesus and knowing that God had a plan all along. It’s such a joy to know that He’s got this all under control whether we feel out of control or not.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Micah lee

    These are sections of Isaiah that I’ve never read or heard before. Any pastor I’ve had tended to use Isaiah to reference the judgement, the sins of Israel, all the scary passages. But I really loved reading through it here and seeing the way that all of those sometimes scary passages are all wrapped up in a continuous message of grace and love and peace.

  • This reading could not have come at a better time. This study is the first time I have ever ACTUALLY read the Bible. I studies short passage during core classes at my Dominican Catholic alma mater, and listen along to the readings during the occasional times I attend Mass. Since the birth of my son last April I have felt a calling to engage with my Faith. A faith that has been dormant for 30 years. Let’s just say it’s been an emotional rollercoaster over the past 40 days. I’ve struggled to understand the language, after I finally figured out which bible version to even read (LOTS of googling…) and have, over the last week in particular, been feeling like maybe I’m too old to be religious. That i would never understand it like someone who grew up in a more traditional Christian household. DID I EVER NEED TO HEAR – “peace to those who are far and those who are near”. Even though I may not understand every verse or every reference, God loves me and has a plan for me. My childhood, my upbringing, my finding of She Reads Truth in a random Instagram post are all part of the plan. I must have Faith and carry on!

    • Brenda

      Yes, Emma, keep plugging along. God will bless you for your diligence. I only started learning more after my daughter was born and she started asking lots of questions. If you can, find a solid Christian to help with your questions. I was so fortunate that God placed some great women in my life. I still don’t know a lot, but I know more than I did yesterday! Keep learning!

    • Claire

      Praying for your journey!

    • Maureen

      God bless you Emma!! I am home with a little guy too. And it’s hard! I am also catholic. Anything from “Steubenville” that you can follow on instagram may also encourage you! Prayers sweet one!

    • Terri

      Oh Emma, I’m so glad that you want to know our Lord and Savior better but remember that you don’t have to muster up faith on your own. Tell Him how you feel. He will help you. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart and help you to understand. Ask Him to send a spiritual mother your way to help. We all have a story; we all have a past. Yes, some are much worse than others, but God is still there. Joni Erikson Tada says that God allows that which He hates to accomplish that which He loves. Godspeed on your journey.

  • Working to wrap my head around this one. In a good way. Lately I’m so stuck with all the ways I’ve messed up, or all the ways I fell short. And, then I’m discouraged by a small group that was so good to join… but now, is this constant discouragement. It’s like, I hear all the ways it’s stupid & pathetic to still be in love with someone, & I’m reminded I’m not over someone I DO still love. Or, I’m told to dumb down my replies, constantly told to add more to my answers… when I’m saying what I do mean. And, this small group that should be such a good extension of God’s grace… is turning into a nightmare. I can’t figure out what I’ve done wrong, or what I could change. And, I’ve reached this point where I am tired of sharing because it’s dismissed, & I’ve shared all the things that are going on in my life. And, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of what ladies can think of me, or what they do think of me. And, then. There’s this study. Reminding me that it doesn’t matter. Because God’s love says He’s enough, His love takes me in all my shortcomings, & He cares about me so much that He knows every hair on my head. He doesn’t forget the things going on in my life, & He knows where I need healing… & the fact that He calls for peace is just such a welcome reminder right now.

    • Emily B.

      I’m so glad this study has been meaningful for you with what you’re going through. Cling to the truth of God’s character, and He’ll reveal Himself to you.

    • DM

      Maybe you can take some of your learning and understanding of this study to the small group study. Many times people get focused on what to say or what is right, when faith, hope and love of our God/Christ/Holy Spirit is a relationship, which is always work, there is not right or wrong it just IS. God bless, know that what your are doing is building a better relationship with the Lord and share that love with your study group.

      • Maryssa

        That’s a good idea. The biggest thing has been when I bring things up they don’t take me very seriously though. But, you’re right. It’s not good to be so focused on what to say or what is “right”. Thanks!

    • Terri

      I’m glad you are finding encouragement here. However, face to face relationships are even better. Or thay should be anyway. Is there a study leader that you can share your feelings with? A bible study should be a place you can learn more about our Savior and His love for us. If you talk to the leader and nothing is resolved you might should think about changing groups. Be open to different age groups too. One of my closest and dearest friends is about 20 years older than me. I love her insight and wisdom.

      • Maryssa

        Face to face relationships are even better. She Reads Truth is what pushed me to even find a study group at all. The group has fairly mixed ages, so there are a lot of perspectives brought in… but the less we’ve focused on the Word the harder it has been to really connect as a group at all. Up until they wouldn’t change a study that consistently brought on panic attacks & nightmares, I was so sure it was where God wanted me to be. It is discouraging, & finding another group wouldn’t be easy. But, I don’t know. I’ve been finding that the things I have discussed with the leader is written off, & I’m not entirely sure why. Thank you so much for your input. I will be (& already am) praying about these things.

  • I have replied to posts, but I don’t think I have posted until today. So many of you have shared such private thoughts and feelings it has encouraged me to do the same. This study has been encouraging to me, but the comments have been just as uplifting. I was abandoned by my husband of 20 years. He left about 4 years ago. In many ways time hasn’t made it easier. But reading about “peace to those who are far and those who are near” is just beautiful. For the past few years, I have felt so distant; I guess thinking that something is wrong with me. But I have to keep reminding myself that my Lord sees everything and loves me anyway. The reading in Isaiah 54, a couple of days ago, really captured my attention “For your husband is your maker, the Lord of hosts is his name…For the Lord has called you like a wife abandoned, grieved in spirit…For a brief,moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to myself again].” (AMP) The Lord is my husband! I am not alone. He won’t abandon me! Thanks to everyone who has shared their private thoughts. You have all been such an encouragement to me!

    • Zoe

      You are on the right path my friend. God is so good. I will be praying for you this afternoon.

    • She Reads Truth

      Terri, thank you for being brave and sharing with us! So grateful to have you in the SRT community.

      – Stormye

    • Claire

      Thanks for your openness, Terri. Praying many blessings upon you!

  • Melody Suarez

    Peace to those who are far and to those who are near….this will be my verse to meditate on today ❤️

  • Jennifer Williams

    Thanks for your ministry in the word….love this study.
    I can’t help but think of this hymn continually as I have walked through this…”I stand amazed in the presence of the Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean. How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be…..Is my Savior’s love for me!

  • As I thought back on all that we’ve read in Isaiah so far, it’s amazing to see God’s continual pursuance of His people. We have probably all experienced being rejected at some point – in a relationship, a job application, a class – and the last thing I ever want to do after rejection is go back and pursue it again, risking rejection again with the sting of it still tender in my heart. Yet, God does it over and over and over again, not only with Israel but with US! I have pursued so many things besides Him over my lifetime but He never stops pursuing me. It’s honestly still a love I can’t grasp and don’t understand. But it’s a love I’m praying God will use to transform my life and use to teach me how to love.

  • This hit home because I didn’t grow in a Christian home either. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Lord, I want more of your peace and more of your healing. More, Lord!

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

    • Jessica

      Ditto Caroline! Her story is so similar to mine…going sporadically as a child, feeling removed because I didn’t know the routines or how to find verses. But God is so good and placed some really amazing people in my life, so that when I was in my mid-twenties, I opened up and truly accepted the Lord. Deuteronomy 4:29 comes to mind and goes hand in hand with so many of the encouraging verses in Isaiah…He wants us, He is waiting for us, He beckons us to come…

  • Hailey T.

    I LOVE this section of Isaiah. I grew up in an environment much like you described, Kim. And because of this I asked God into my heart in elementary but then grew away from Him in my teen years. BUT he pursued me in the words of Isaiah through the music of Sufjan Stevens “The mountains and hills will burst into song before and the trees of the fields will clap their hands”. I reflect now, as an avid and thirsty believer, on how he guided and protected me in those years. our days don’t all reflect a well run life but NEAR or FAR Jesus pursues our hearts.

  • “You have placed your bed on a high and lofty mountain; you also went up there to offer sacrifice… when you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry all of them off. ” Isaiah 57: 7 and 13. This bit jumped out at me this morning. It must be a really human thing to seek deliverance through sex. But I think the message here is that you’re not going to find it there. You’re only going to find it by remembering, seeking, and developing a relationship with God who supplies all the love we need. “Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid.” Luke 12:7 “Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

    I love how human the book of Isaiah is. It lays out all of the ignorant behavior we’re prone to as people (arrogance, heartlessness, idol worship, etc), tells us why it’s wrong, why nothing but destruction will come from it, tells us how to go about fixing it (repent!), and then delivers forgiveness, grace, peace, love, joy, and victory. What a book!

    • KimN

      This is the first time I’ve studied the book as a whole and I agree! It’s very epic in scope and although it was a tough slog to read about Israel’s (or insert my) sin and withdrawl, it has shone such a different light on the redemption and promises that lie within!
      Really enjoying this study – thank you SRT!

  • Kim, thank you for allowing me to peek in to your thoughts and feelings as you were watching the church while growing up. Hearing your perspective is instructive to me as I desire to balance the witness of words and actions to those I am burdened for.

  • Such a touching message and testimony! Jesus does reach all!

  • Kristine L

    V 18 For I have seen his ways, but I will heal him. For some reason, this verse reminds me of parenting (we are on spring break here so I’ve been doing a bit more 24/7 parenting than usual!) It’s so easy to see down the path, to know how your 3-yr-old is going to destroy the finally clean playroom once again, to hear the whining over technology before it even starts up. For I have seen their ways. Just as I continue to stumble over the clutter and wander off the path and whine, He has seen my ways. But. That wonderful, redeeming But. But He heals us anyway. Even knowing we are just going to mess up again. It’s still worth it to Him. We are still worth it.

    • Terri

      My children are grown *sigh,* but I remember those days. When it gets “too quit” we just know we need to check on those little beauties! Isn’t it the same with us? When we are too quiet (not praising, not praying, not reading His word) our Father knows that we are going to get into trouble. I find this to be true in my life, anyway. And I love that phrase “but God” too. It reminds me of Eph. 2. V1, 2a “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air…” Oh, but look at verse 4 and 5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…” Isn’t it such a beautiful phrase here?! But God…I want Him more. I need Him more!

  • “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him.”
    Glad for a God who knows me and still wants me. Glad for a God who knows those that I love in ways I never will and who loves them perfectly in ways I cannot. That he does more for them than I ever could. Use me, Heavenly Father! ♥

  • ‘For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
    to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”‘
    He inhabits eternity. He knows our spirits. He knows our circumstance. He chooses to revive. Fill me, O Lord, that I might be revived only with you and walk the path you set before me.

  • Peace to him who is far off and peace to him who is near brings such comfort to my heart and mind this morning. Grateful for this community and your words, Kim. Thank you for speaking the truth!

    May I ask you ladies for prayer this morning? My husband and I have moved a lot in the last several years for his job and were faced with the possibility of moving again this fall. This time we could possibly be moving back home where all of our family is, but I am beginning to feel very anxious about leaving our current home and particularly my job. I work with many nonbelievers and care deeply for them, and I hate thinking that me leaving nearly just as I got here will only discourage and upset them and possibly cause them to associate me as a Christian with someone who quits and leaves them high and dry. It honestly sounds a little silly when I type it out, but if you would join me in praying that the lord would lead us in his righteousness and make his way straight before us and prepare the hearts of myself, my husband, our families and my coworkers to be prepared for the outcome either way, I would be forever thankful. ❤️

    • Churchmouse

      Praying just as you requested, trusting that you have planted seeds there that God will surely water no matter where you end up. God’s outcome is always good!

    • Marytony

      One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 55:11 “his word does not come back void, but it will accomplish that what I have said”. I pray this over you, that the words and seeds that you have planted in your co-workers will accomplish their purpose. Also I pray peace upon your heart regardless of the outcome, because God is with you wherever you go.

      Blessings to you this morning!

    • Hilary

      Praying now, Kelly!

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for you today, Kelly. Asking the Lord to give clear guidance and direction and to not just open doors, but to close those that do not need to be walked through. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

    • Terri

      Oh, our Father, our Papa, give Kelly your peace. Lead her family clearly and make your path plain. Use the seeds she has planted in her coworkers in a mighty way like only you can. Dearest Friend, you know how scary change can be for us. Calm Kelly’s heart. Calm her family with your comfort. Let them feel your arms around them. Use them in a mighty way wherever you have them go. All this I ask for your glory, Christ Jesus. Amen

      • Kelly

        Thank you ladies so much!! I am forever grateful for this community, and I can’t wait to see you all on the other side of eternity and give you a hug for your kind thoughts and prayers. What an awesome God we serve. ❤️

  • Churchmouse

    I love the first two words of Ephesians 2:13. “But now…”. Before we were without the Messiah, without hope and without God in the world (vs12). “But now…” We have been brought near and He is our peace, breaking down dividing walls. It is good to look back sometimes to realize how far we’ve come. And Who accomplished the change. That was then. This is now. Who I was then is not who I am now. Jesus makes all the difference! Praising God this morning!

    • Marytony

      My pastor always says that he loves the “buts” in the bible. This is what he is referring to. Those times He comes into the picture with a “but” that changes everything… we were headed for death, BUT Jesus came into the picture to give us life… We were sinners, BUT now we are made righteous in Him. So many “buts” to be thankful for!!!! :)

    • Kathy

      These verses in Ephesians are some of my most cherished verses. We were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. BUT NOW…” Don’t you just love that! “But now in Christ Jesus…” I am so thankful.

  • Cecelia Enns Schulz

    All too often I camp out in one of two extremes. I recognize my sin, I see the severity of my yuck and I stay there. Feeling forever dirty. Or else, I recall grace and get to comparing sins on a scale – well, mine aren’t as bad as… Oh, God, give me eyes to see the truth – my sin was great (indeed, my righteous acts are dirty rags) but your LOVE was greater. Your blood was shed for me. Don’t let me minimize my sin or your gift of grace and mercy. Yes, I have sinned and fallen short BUT I AM a new creation. I’ve been given a new heart and a new name. I’ve been washed in the blood and while I have carried the grime, that’s no longer me thanks to the great mercy, grace, and love of Christ. Teach me to see. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

  • Oh this is so timely to read about peace and healing. Much needed in my chaotic life right now. Thank you God for your love, mercy and grace!

  • 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
    I love to think that God is filling me with His spirit. I may not be worthy but perhaps if I can continue to deny myself I can radiate Him.

  • Praise God that his peace is for all, near and far! I struggle with mild anxiety most days and the last few days through SRT I have really been able to feel the peace that Jesus so freely gives. I just had to decide to take it and be aware of the devil trying to take it away. His attempts are futile with Jesus in my heart. My work as a stay at home mom has become more positive and confident, and it really changes the overall feel of the house. I am so thankful for this bible study and all of you. Praying you all have a day filled with peace and God’s love.

    • Emily B.

      I love “his attempts are futile with Jesus in my heart.” Thank you for sharing that this morning!

    • She Reads Truth

      Praise Him, Caitie!! What a blessing to feel the peace of the Lord!

      – Stormye

    • Jacqui

      Oh thank you for sharing this. I struggle with anxiety also. This will be my prayer today and in the days to come as I look after my 4 & 2 year old. My husband’s work hours are very long just now and I’m mostly solo. I want to show my family a mum & wife who is resting in the Lord and loving and serving in His strength.

  • My prayer is for someone to be touched by the Peace of Jesus today. Amen

  • Penny McAuley

    The verses this morning that have touched are “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,” the devotional talks about feeling like an outsider. I have always felt like I wasn’t as knowledgeable in the Word as others and have a hard time memorizing and repeating scriptures so maybe I am not as good as other Christians. Verse 20 joins me with a family of prophets and apostles and makes me feel a deeper connection. SRT has brought me closer to his Word and increased my knowledge. I continue to pray for help to remember scriptures so that I can share with others.

    • Ellie

      My prayer is the same, and I’ll pray God lifts up you and anyone else who may at times feel like a Gentile, an outsider, to know that we are all precious to Him and able to accept His love, not by anything that we’ve done, but by His grace and sacrifice! Growing up in the Episcopal church, I can recite the Nicene Creed, the Doxology, tons of liturgy, but my knowledge of the Word itself is far less developed. Attending a non-denominational church with a wonderful teacher for the past two years has opened up a new world of understanding, and has taught me that God doesn’t care how much scripture I know, or how eloquently I pray. What He craves most is a personal relationship with me, and I work daily on that relationship. That’s what matters, above all else…to love and reflect Him!

    • Marytony

      I pray John 14:26 over you. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of all that Jesus has told us.

    • She Reads Truth

      So grateful for you, Penny. Blessed to have you in the SRT community.

      – Stormye

  • That is what is needed today, peace!

  • Grateful for a SLEEPING BABY today!! Thank you Jesus! Never thought I could have so much pleasure in sitting alone in my house and just reading and drinking coffee quietly. Today I loved Eph. 2:22–we are “being built together into a dwelling where God lives.” I’m not a completed dwelling, I am being built every day. Growing more. Sometimes taking some nails and a hammer to the head because I start to think I’m already a finished project. But I’m not and that’s ok! Reminds me of the children’s song “He’s still working on me!” :)

    • Emily B.

      Good reminder that it’s okay to not be finished. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking that I’d like to be, and things would be easier. But that’s not the point. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hilary

      Yay for a morning to sleep in! Isn’t it good to know that “How loving and patient He must be. He’s still working on me!” :)

    • She Reads Truth

      Praise the Lord! It is so wonderful to see His goodness in the small daily pleasures of life. Grateful for you, Heather! Keep going, mama!

      – Stormye

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