To Be Comforters

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 (ESV)

To a people in exile, suffering under the weight and repercussions of their sin, far from home and seemingly without hope; prophets are called on by God to comfort them. To serve them, raise their eyes to see him and find hope.

This is a wonderful launch into a new section of Isaiah, an unfurling of chapters written and spoken to a nation in exile. But it is also a call for those that preach, that lead, that pastor God’s people today.

I think of the people in the pews, that might feel their own exile. The loss of expected gain. The struggle of anxiety or depression. The tensions of human relationships. The recovery from abuse or oppression. The drama of everyday life. It all piles on and when we gather to open God’s word, the true word that lasts, it it good news, the gospel we are meant to proclaim and reflect to one another.

I have spent enough days in ministry needing what only Jesus provides and sitting with people that are starving spiritually for the comfort only he can give. It is not a permissive gesture or false freedom to live for self, but it is grace that sustains, serves, and heals those that he loves. His people.

What can you give today? To your friends, to your neighbor, to those hurting and in need, to those celebrating and unaware? Jesus. Comfort that the striving can cease, that righteousness is won by him for us. That he is enough.

Hear of this comfort, this Savior, Jesus who longs for you, and gave himself up for you. That you can have peace, now and in eternity. Rest in him.

Touch Him

“His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'” – Mark 5:31

We know the story. The poor woman, unclean for twelve long years, has only a sliver of hope. Would the One known for healing, heal her? The isolation. The despair. The bleeding. It would all end with this touch. The touch to the hem of a garment. And he knew. Jesus knew that he had healed someone in that moment.

It is not as if he didn’t know who touched him. But he wanted her to come to him. I wonder if she was afraid in that moment. But Jesus calls her “daughter.” A name of relationship, of closeness. How long had it been since someone was close to her?

We walk in our sin in much the same way. Despairing. Tired. Ready for it all to be over. And we are scared. Scared we will be found out and accused. Scared that we will be punished. Jesus though, wants us to touch him.

“Don’t be afraid to go to him now. He isn’t fazed by your sin; he isn’t afraid that you will contaminate him. In fact, as you get close to him, his holiness will infect you. Go ahead… press in through the crowd of all that threatens to block access to him – your shame, pride, destitution, and uncleanness. Touch him out of your desperation and find him patiently loving and awaiting your arrival.”

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 5.