Israel’s Strength and Consolation Day 16

Open Your Bible

Isaiah 40:1-2, Isaiah 49:13, Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 2:21-38, Matthew 5:3-10, Matthew 23:37

I slid into my seat for a Sunday night college service and slouched to hide from strangers. The strobe lights danced in rhythm as the worship band sang about freedom and forgiveness in Jesus. I wept uncontrollably. I chose to enter a relationship with a guy that led me into rebellion, and I gave this boy—who promised me the world—everything. Then six months later, he tossed me like an empty candy bar wrapper. 

My soul felt sucker punched as I sat in the destruction caused by my sin, like sitting in a field of ash with everything burnt to the ground. But I wanted God—I needed God. He was my only hope of rescue. So, I cried out to him over and over as the guitar strung the gospel.

It was a feeling of desperation. I imagine my emotion in those moments is a glimpse into what the Israelites may have felt when they were led away from the land into captivity with the temple destroyed and their walls torn down—extreme pain and remorse for their sin. 

For decades they cried out to God as they longed for restoration. They toiled in foreign soil, grieving the desolation of their lives and homes—the consequence of their rebellion against God. And Israel cried out to Him and remembered God’s covenant promises.

And the Lord answered Israel. He proclaimed to His people that their time of hard service (consequences) were completed (Isaiah 40:1–2). The prophet called for the nation to rejoice and shout for joy at God’s comfort and compassion (Isaiah 49:13). God strengthened them and bound their broken hearts (Isaiah 61:1–3). 

I think Israel’s story is much like our own—much like mine. I wonder how much of our pain and suffering results from our own poor choices. We know the right thing to do, but we rebel against the prodding of the Spirit and the truth of Scripture. The destruction in our relationships—even in our hearts—leaves us desolate in spirit. But there is hope for us, just like there was hope for Israel. When we know we need God, we are called “blessed” (Matthew 5:3–10). Sometimes the pain of our sin becomes the tool of leading us back toward righteousness. At least, it did for me. 

The Lord comforted me in my mourning. The Lord helped me see the kingdom of heaven in a new way—one of freedom rather than limitations (Matthew 5:3–10). God indeed gave me beauty of wholeness from ashes of despair as I learned to walk with Him again (Isaiah 61:3). What feels desolate in your life? What causes your heart to ache? May you have eyes to see our salvation by His grace (Luke 2:30) and may His comfort and compassion heal your brokenness.

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81 thoughts on "Israel’s Strength and Consolation Day 16"

  1. Kerry B says:


  2. Tara Beatty says:

    Lauren, I am praying for you and your marriage. As well as Lori. Please pray for mine as well. ❤️

  3. Gloria Garcia says:

    I’m praying for you

  4. Gwenna Pelz says:


  5. Lori Lackey says:

    Lauren, I will pray for you. I have been praying the same over my marriage.

  6. Susan Lincks says:

    It’s crazy how easily I stray from God. Even at 48, I still make awful choices, knowing they aren’t right with my faith.

  7. Lauren Geneva says:

    I am desperate for more of the Holy Spirit in my marriage. Please pray for a closer relationship with the Lord alongside my husband.

  8. Vickie Menasco says:


  9. Vickie Menasco says:

    Praying for your brother

  10. Victoria E says:

    Amen Heidi !!

  11. Victoria E says:

    Praying for your encouragement and strength Allie.

  12. Brianna Parker says:

    If you see this, would you please pray for a brother in my church for healing? He is in the hospital and has suffered brain damage from pneumonia and lack of oxygen. We are praying for his complete healing and for his wife and children ❤️

  13. Allie McCandless says:

    This really resonated with me. I’ve been having a very hard time with my walk with Christ and am left feeling desolate and alone so often. Please pray for me as I’m finding my way.

  14. Kasey Evans says:


  15. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I’m so glad that God doesn’t allow sin to have the last word in our lives! ❤️

  16. Donna Wolcott says:

    Erin, prayers for a speedy recovery. God’s got you! Prayers for all who are ill and for those who need to feel “they are in God’s hands and under His wings”. Tina never apologize for sharing your heart. ps. it snowed here today too!

  17. Kimberly Z says:

    This reading really resonated with me today. @Erin praying for your surgery! Praying for all you ladies today and I hope it’s a great week.

  18. Elise McGee says:

    Prayers for you, Erin. God always heals so I’m asking specifically for His healing for you here and now and that all who witness your story will see your love and trust and faith in Him and His miraculous grace and mercy. I pray that you feel His loving comfort and presence through all of this and that you are strengthened by it.

  19. Elise McGee says:


  20. Elise McGee says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Beautifully stated and from the heart. God has given me the best and most as He grows me up through the trials and tribulations of my life. Almost every single one is a result of my own sin and disobedience but His mercy is never ending. My prayer is that we all know the peace and joy of hope that comes in our transformation through Him.

  21. PamC says:

    Such a blessing this group is! Erin, praying for you this Monday morning. I too have had this surgery…a long time ago now. A mother of one of my employees told me that I would feel immediately better after the surgery, even while still in recovery. I didn’t, couldn’t believe her, until I found out she was right! I have zero pain tolerance, but God…

  22. Emily Nyenhuis says:

    Thankful for this reminder! Just like this story, God redeemed my life and saved me from the mess of sin I had created and lived in for years. Thankful for His gift of GRACE and my life and the many ways in which he has chosen to be gracious and faithful to me. Today’s devotion is a needed reminder of this, when my spirit and faith has felt more flat than growing, this season. All Glory to God!

  23. Traci Gendron says:

    TINA – Please keep talking about your daughter and your story. It helped me more than I can ever let you know. I enjoy searching for your comment every single day.

    Prayers for all and especially the requests.

  24. Leesha says:

    What I love about Simeon’s response to meeting Jesus is his acceptance of death. He had asked the Lord to be able to see the Savior, and once that happened he didn’t need more time on earth but was ready and willing to die in peace knowing his prayer had been answered. We don’t know when he died or how much of Jesus’ life he was able to witness, but his faith that the Messiah would save Israel was enough to see Jesus as a baby and know.
    How often do we need to see the fullness of the promise to believe it has happened, and sometimes God is asking us to trust at the very beginning when we have just a glimpse of what it going to look like?

  25. Dorothy says:

    What a thought-provoking but wonderfully written devotion. I never thought about some of my pain being because of some of my poor choices. Now that I look back at some of them I would have to agree but not fully, I say not fully because in one instance I wouldn’t have had the two sons I have. I made poor choice in a husband but through that poor choice came two wonderful and sensitive sons — only one is still alive.
    I would like to share something my minister said in her benediction yesterday: “God is ever present, if we’re paying attention.” I just loved this and thought you, my sisters in Christ, would to.
    I would like to request prayer for myself, I’ve been very stressed lately with all that’s been going on with my sister and nephew and I feel it’s been effecting my work. I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years and been working w/ Finley for over 4 years but lately I feel like some of what is happening with her, her family and I is getting to me. I’ve been thinking about totally changing cases to the other little girl I care for, Kaylee, or maybe even retiring early. Finley and her family are going on a mini-vacay over the New Years weekend maybe that would help. Please pray that I let God guide me in the proper direction. Also that I let Him take care of my sister and nephew.
    Be blessed and LISTEN and FOCUS on what God is trying to tell you (yes I will be doing this too).

  26. Audra O’connor says:

    Christmas is hard when you are suppose be happy and joyful but you are depressed. I’m thankful for the reminder of todays reading.

  27. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    This advent, this Christmas, finds me reflecting, so much more on the advent to come and grateful for the first advent. I just can’t imagine what it must’ve been like when people realized the Messiah had come.

    Anna and Simeon knew the Messiah had come. How exciting that long awaited King had arrived! Now we celebrate the first advent and wait in anticipation of the second advent, Christ’s return, just like them.

    I am so grateful for all of your sisters, and the stories that you share and the prayers that you pray. I am praying for your requests and praising with you for the Lord’s answer to prayer. Have a blessed day sisters!

  28. Kenya Rafferty says:

    Having been in a desperate situation before completely surrounded by the consequences of my sin, I understand the desperation Isreal had for consolation after all seemed ruined. However, the real consolation came generations later in the form of a little boy. And although it was glorious, how many people didn’t get to see the Lords promise lived out? Sometimes our consolation comes in forms we don’t expect or in timing that’s not ideal, but in the deepest shadows we are made to turn to God because we have no other choice. Whether a result of our own decisions or not, I have to believe it’s all part of Gods plan to be led to freedom from sin with a righteous heart and mind.

  29. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    Suffering and sorrow are just part of life as we know it here. Once I came to accept this, the blessings of God became sweeter. Jesus made it very clear in the Beatitudes… Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the humble, the hungry, the thirsty… the kingdom of heaven is theirs, they will be comforted, they will inherit the earth, they will be filled… The mercy of God comes through our own merciful actions and when we turn our hearts to God He will purify us and we will see Him. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”. In all of these things, we will be blessed by the creator of the universe. When I am weary or frustrated I can make war or peace with those around me. Or even within myself as my thoughts are reigned in or let free to wander with no discipline. Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers, and this makes me a child of God when I make peace. I think of this often. A peacemaker goes with peace to places where there is none. In our relationships, in the cities, our workplaces, our homes, our hearts and minds. The peace of Jesus is a gift to open in all of these places and share to quell the wars that are indeed going on. Just as Jesus came to bring comfort to us, He did, and He still does. Because we need it every day. Everyone has sorry, and everyone has access to God’s comfort. Only His voice guides and leads us to life and salvation. We need to learn and remember the sound of Him calling to us, guiding us to the good pasture where peace and joy grows. Looking for what we need from anyone or anywhere else never brings lasting comfort, only sorry when it fades. Only the true light of Christ will lead us where we should go. His pasture is plentiful and peaceful. As we receive Him, we are abundantly filled and comforted. He called for someone to comfort His people in Isaiah 40:1-2. Only He could do it, so our Lord came Himself (Isaiah 49:13). Our Messiah brought good news to the poor, heals the brokenhearted, freed prisoners, and gives crowns of beauty instead of ashes. He planted His people as righteous trees for His glory. (Isaiah 61:1-3). So yes, there is sorry, but God gave us an even better yes for our comfort. This world will pass away with all of its pain and sadness, but the kingdom of heaven is also ours, and this is the hope that keeps joy burning brightly in my heart. An eternal flame of fire and zeal for the here and now because of the forever and not yet to come. Maranatha.

  30. Brooklyn Seidewitz says:

    Thank God for his redemption! I feel thankful to be in a season that has me reaching for God more then I ever have

  31. Rachel says:

    Praying, ERIN! Also a year post-op from a total open hysterectomy. The lovely ladies here prayed and God was faithful – I will pray and believe the same will be true for you. Taking pain meds around the clock for the first few days and using ice packs were also a huge help. Word to the wise: if you are one who typically cuts your own hair, don’t let yourself walk by scissors unsupervised while taking narcotics (apparently I did and a few days later was like WHAT HAPPENED TO MY HAIR?!?!) ;)

  32. Traci Gendron says:

    Kimberly Z – thank you for your continued prayers!

    I have caused myself much grief over my 61 years. I made poor choices in my youth and young adult life. I regret those. But it was what brought me to God. I remember sobbing calling out to God to heal my brokenness. And He did.

  33. Mari says:

    Good Morning sweet sisters! @Erin Lewallen praying for you right now. May you be comforted that we SHE’s are all praying for you!

  34. Mia Faith says:

    @erinlewallen / praying for you! Praying for peace,comfort, an excellent outcome, and a quick recovery

  35. Churchmouse says:

    Are we not all longing for comfort and consolation these days? When I was young and was ill my mother would provide chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, orange jello and plenty of Vick’s VapoRub. She believed those could cure most anything. As I’m dealing with RSV these past few weeks, I’ve cherished comfort foods once again. Alas their comfort is short-lived. Comfort foods have little effect on the larger issues we face. True comfort and consolation comes only from complete trust in Christ, in His finished work on the cross. We have peace because He came. Our future is secure. We wait for His return with full confidence for He is not a man that He should lie. His Word is the ultimate comfort food for all that ails us. We taste and see that He is good. All the time.

  36. Jennifer Woods says:

    Prayers they find no cancer. I had a hysterectomy end of September the recovery was not that bad. Praying you will have the same healing in recovery as I did.

  37. Jen H. says:

    I am loving how this study is based on a hymn. Finding myself singing it all day long!

  38. Lara C says:

    Seana Scott- these words really struck me this morning- “The Lord helped me see the kingdom of heaven in a new way—one of freedom rather than limitations (Matthew 5:3–10).” Love this.
    Praying for Erin and other requests, I’m so thankful for this community.

  39. Heidi says:

    “Seek my Kingdom first… and MY righteousness (literally- My definition and example of right-ness)”… (Matt 6:33)
    After my own poor choices, and effects from the choices of others that have impacted my life, as I try to figure out life and answers to simple unknowns (should I sell my car, should we move, what job should I seek after…) I’m being reminded consistently to stop and seek HIM first.
    Seek where house payment will come from…
    Seek where gas money will come from…
    Seek how “——“ will get paid for…
    Seek better health, friends, etc.
    Seek HIM first. Take example of the right way of living and praying and loving and intentionally start living that out FIRST.
    THEN- direction in ALL these things (food, clothing, health, work, finances… Matt 6:25-31) will be given.
    If my hope or joy is coming from anything other than His presence and salvation and existence- it’s false and will 100% end up leaving me spent, broken, and betrayed.
    I’m learning these things (too slowly!) but He is proving Himself faithful- regardless of the fact He owes me nothing and has zero reason to “prove” anything to me.
    Trusting Him can feel so intimidating- but to trust anyone/thing else is to deem Him unworthy. What a misstep that would be… ✨

  40. Jessi Nash says:


  41. Claire B says:

    “I wonder how much of our pain and suffering results from our own poor choices.” I believe for me…with the exception of the death of loved ones, 99% of it. When you look back at the trail that got you to the suffering I usually find “me” in there. Now admittedly there are mean and some well meaning people that for no reason can hurt you but if we forgive and move on by God’s guidance instead of lingering on that hurt his love will be the balm that heals us. Blessed week to you all ♥️

  42. Kerry Rowley says:

    Praying for your Erin.

  43. GramsieSue says:

    Aaaaawwwww Tina. What a precious testimony you share. It makes my heart soften and puts a smile on my face.
    So many of the hardships in our lives are what draw us closer to Jesus and suddenly they don’t feel quite so bad. Oh, I know, they are still painful. We wish they had never happened. That we never had to go through them. But God…
    He uses them for His glory. To draw us in. To grow us. To wrap us in His tender arms.
    As I begin this week I feel so blessed, even as I watch my hubby struggle to get up out of his chair (where he sat with me to read his Bible). I know that God is with us. In the hardship. In the pain. And we will come out on the other side better than we were.

    @Heather Tomberlin thank you for sharing what Simeon and Anna teach us. So good.

    Hugs and blessings to all the She’s ❤️

  44. Claire B says:

    I wonder how much of our pain and suffering results from our own poor choices.

  45. Foster Mama says:

    @ SEANA SCOTT… thank you for this wonderful devotion and being raw with us.

    @ KELLY (NEO) – I am praying for you in your new church family and in all that you do. Thank you for always keeping us in your prayers and thoughts.

    @ ERIN praying for you; may they be God’s hands using all the medical staff as his instruments.

    @ NADS, praying for your breaking heart and that God will lift you up and sustain your joy and perseverance; that you will see His timing in your relationship.

    @ TINA – never ever apologize; you and your sharing are precious gifts.

  46. Debbie Burton says:

    Beautiful reading today.

  47. Rebecca W says:

    Blessings over all this Monday morning. Lifting you in prayer Erin for peace, comfort and complete healing. I had that exact surgery two years ago and the recovery time was really quick. I pray the same for you. @Michelle Patire- glad you were comforted by our prayers and Christ’s love! You often comfort others on this site with just the right words, too. So thank you for that.
    Simeon and Anna waited their whole lives to see the coming of our messiah. I no longer have to wait because I know He has come and I rejoice in that! But give me patience and love and peace as I wait for his triumphant return. ❤️

  48. Kathy says:

    Praying for you, Erin. May God fill you with His peace and love.

  49. Michelle Patire says:

    @Erin– God be with you and comfort you. May your doctors have great wisdom in this serious procedure. Please Lord cover and show Erin your steadfast love. Let her feel Your nearness. May she feel loved and seen and heard. Please bless her body and show her Your salvation. Thank you, God. May she be restored in fullness and healed — as we read even today you came to HEAL. <3

  50. Michelle Patire says:

    I just want to say I am so thankful for this community. This weekend, I just felt the love and grace of God so deeply. I know when I reached out for prayer Friday, it was a good thing. Your prayers are heard, friends. God always is so faithful in reminding me that He is faithful to hear them. I just want to share that as an encouragement. That your prayers all matter. And I have read every comment of response and see you all too <3 thank you.

    I wait on the Lord. He tells me to REJOICE. Today's reading was a good reminder that His grace doesn't make sense. He gives us DOUBLE for our sin. Uhhh, wow?! Reminds me to hold tight to grace when people wrong me. Oh, how I look forward to the fulfillment of the remaining prophecies of God. "on that great and terrible day…" I hide my face in the sight of the vengeance of the Lord. May we stand firm and rejoice in salvation.

  51. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    Thank you Seana for reminding us that God is a God of mercy and restoration! Praise to Him that He can make beauty from ashes and give us a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair!
    There is always room for redemption and forgiveness as long as we are still living and breathing!

    @Erin Lewallen – praying for you this morning. May God’s peace and comfort be upon you and may God spare you from finding any cancer. Father God guide the hands of the surgeons and give Erin your perfect peace, and may she continue to trust you – no matter what the outcome.

    A blessed Monday to all of my She Sisters!

  52. Margaret Bacon says:

    Oh Erin – honored to pray for you – that your fears would vanish and the peace of Gods presence would cover you completely. The Great Physician will be in that operating room – guiding your surgeons hands. May you know intimately how completely and unreservedly your Jesus loves you. And may your surgery be completely successful and perfect. Blessings all over you today dear Erin

  53. Linds says:

    It’s so easy to think of our own ain and to maybe fall into a shame spiral that doesn’t belong to us due to our freedom in Christ. It’s easy to forget that redemption also means freedom from sin done unto us — that not only was the author here weeping for her own sin but likely also because the sin done to her! and yet we have hope in Christ of healing from ALL.

  54. AZ Walker says:

    Praying for you Erin. Praying for you Kelly NEO, I am wrestling with my church of 22 years as I am drawn to another church pastor, their truthful sermons and overall direction.

  55. Michelle Baier says:

    Prays for Erin, Kelly I love that you check on everyone. I was in the church many years ago crying and God wrapped His arms around me and carried me until I could stand on His love. He is my rock and my redeemer.

  56. Courtney Heck says:

    Great devo Seana!

  57. Charlene Witherington says:


  58. Kaydee Beedy says:

    Just prayed ❤️

  59. Heather O'Malley says:

    Praying for you, Erin, that God would give you peace and comfort, knowing that He has you wrapped in His arms. I pray for wisdom for the surgeon and for a complete and fast recovery.

  60. Larisa Lightfoot says:


  61. Jennifer Covaleski says:

    Erin, prayers are lifted for a successful surgery with cancer-free results and a healthy, speedy recovery. xx

  62. Erin Lewallen says:

    I’ve been a devoted reader for years but don’t often comment. I get a lot out of reading all of your thoughts. I am grateful for this community of women. Can I ask for prayers today? I have surgery to remove ovaries, tubes and a full hysterectomy. I’m scared. Could you pray there is no cancer to be found? Thank you She’s.

  63. Heather Tomberlin says:

    I love that these 2 elderly people were celebrating the presentation of Jesus. There is so much to learn from them. In studying I read the following: “Simeon and Anna teach us several spiritual lessons. They teach us to keep praying. They teach us to have faith that God’s timing is not our timing. They teach us to have trust even if God’s promise is taking longer than we’d like. Finally, they teach that when we hear good news, we can’t keep it to ourselves. Even at the end of their lives, these two prophetic senior citizens were still paying it forward.” What a legacy. Lord help me to be more like these 2 precious servants.

  64. Aimee D-R says:

    Draw closer to me as I draw closer to You Father God. In Jesus name, Amen

  65. Taylor says:

    @Searching I feel like I do the same thing in looking to everything/everyone else for peace, love, comfort, and fulfillment rather than God. Definitely convicting for my heart this morning! Also it was mentioned in today’s devotion and in yesterday’s sermon at my church that following God’s law over the way of the world gives freedom rather than limitations. Since I’ve heard it twice very recently now, I definitely need to confess how I’ve been looking to the ways of the world to give me freedom rather than God’s ways. Lord draw my heart to you and help me to realize that true satisfaction and contentment is found in nothing but Jesus.

    I hope everyone has a blessed start to their week <3

  66. Angie Mills says:

    Simeon and Anna were two Israelites who believed that, even though He had been silent for 400 years, they would see the Messiah that God would send to save and redeem all men. They believed that the Messiah would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to His people Israel. Advent is a time for us to remember the purpose of Jesus’s birth—the whole reason for why He came was to purchase our redemption from sin by dying in our place on the cross and granting salvation for those who are His. At the same time, we look forward to and anticipate His second coming. We live in a world that is broken and will remain that way until He comes again. We look forward to that time when He will renew His people and the world and restore everything for His glory.

  67. Sarah Adams says:


  68. Christine F says:


  69. Jennifer Palumbo says:


  70. Melissa Paz-morales says:


  71. J M says:

    Thank you Seana, for your truthfulness. May we all cry out to God. ❤️

  72. Stephanie Hart says:


  73. Bekah Cook says:


  74. searching says:

    So many years I spent looking for fulfillment, peace, love from anyone other than God. Thank you, Jesus, for forgiveness and restoration. When I read through the Old Testament about the cycle of turning away & restoration that the children of Israel repeated again and again, I think why didn’t they learn the last time or the time before? Or why didn’t I?

    TINA – you are such an encouragement and I will never tire of learning the pieces of your testimony. Your love for God and for your daughter warms my heart ❤️

  75. Krista Branch says:


  76. Kelly (NEO) says:

    “Sometimes the pain of our sin becomes the tool of leading us back toward righteousness. . . .
    What feels desolate in your life? What causes your heart to ache?”

    Desolate seems an overstatement, but as I’ve been transitioning into a new church family, I miss the those from my previous church of twenty years who knew me and the ups and downs of my life. The accountability level is not as deep now, and I am leary of my journey without those human guardrails.

    CHARITY SCOTT – how are your little ones with RSV?

    MORGAN BENNER – how’s your dad?

    CHURCHMOUSE – how are you feeling?

    SAMANTHA BEZEMES & LAUREN GW – have you recovered from COVID?

    EMILY VAHLE – hope you are still with us on this study and you are feeling moments of joy in your heart

  77. Elaine Morgan says:


  78. Sherri says:

    I’ve always loved the story of Simeon and Anna—watching for their Savior.

    Tina, I’m so thankful for your “across the pond” thoughts and comments to greet me early in the morning. I don’t comment often but I’m always so encouraged by you and this community of shes. I pray we all take a deep breath and focus on our Heavenly Father as we start another week in the Christmas season. ❤️

  79. Andrea P says:


  80. Tina says:

    Seana, what hope you bring today in this devotional.

    Thank you.

    I talk about my daughter a lot, forgive me… but you see, it is in her being called home that my walk with God became ‘for real’
    I have always been kind to others, but I have also not been the best of people..

    BUT GOD..

    Wrapping me up in His love and grace gave me a new heart and a new song to sing. Yes indeed, a song of freedom from the person I was to the person I am today covered by His wings and safe in His mercy, and filled with hope..

    Prayful over you and me dear sisters, that as our freedom was bought by Jesus we pay it forward by being the best we can be because, let’s face it.. let’s say it.. let’s believe it..

    BUT GOD..


    Happy snowy Monday sisters wrapped in freeing love and warm hugs.. always..❤

  81. Kristen says:

    Seana said, “ May you have eyes to see our salvation by His grace (Luke 2:30) and may His comfort and compassion heal your brokenness. Amen! I just listened to a message on YouTube called: The Heart of Christian Obedience” by Paul Washer. I related this devotional to that message. Many powerful thoughts in this sermon! Hope you get to listen! Prayers for you all!