Comfort and Joy

Comfort, comfort my people … shortly before I went to bed, I got a text from a friend with a message not unlike many I had received this week. “Without warning two of my friends were laid off indefinitely from their jobs. Please help me pray for them.” I had a sick feeling multiplied by the number of similar requests to pray just in the past week. From my recent prayer journal pages – Please pray: My mom has dementia and I don’t know how much longer I can care for her.  My son’s wife wants a divorce. My husband said Merry Christmas, he’s leaving me and our kids. I suffer from Lyme disease and am unbearably fatigued much of the time. My daughter needs an operation and has no health insurance. My spouse has just been admitted to hospice care. I have debilitating migraines and can’t get out of bed. My work schedule is ruining my chance for family vacation again. My daughter is making extremely poor choices and our family is devastated. My mom passed away and I worry about my dad now.  I have fibromyalgia and this pain is taking my quality of life.

Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.” Do you open an email, read a text, or see a post on Facebook and your heart is broken because your friend is riding out a storm and can do nothing but pray.  I often wonder if David was called a man after God’s own heart because he prayed often and recorded his prayers in the Psalms.  Psalm 102:1 is just one where David’s endurance has dissolved “Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.”

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever reach the end of your strength and say, “Lord, do you even see me here? Do you care that I’m exhausted from just too much. This is just too much.”  God used David’s poems, songs, and reflections to comfort, comfort His people.  Psalm 34:18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Sometimes I do things backward. God should be my first choice, not my last resort.  When I woke up this morning I heard the song in my mind “In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.”  As soon as I got to my computer the verse that prompted that heart song was easy to find:  Psalm 88:13But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.”

In chapter six of Matthew, there are descriptions of how to pray and even some guidelines for the attitude that’s pleasing to God. In Matthew 6:6  we read one option “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  Does this mean before we can pray we have to find an empty room? Of course not! We are invited, even implored to pray anytime, anyplace, for any reason. We pray for shattered hearts to be healed Psalm 147:3He heals those who have a broken heart. He heals their sorrows.”

We pray for direction when lives have been turned upside down by turmoil; we ask for acceptance when we have to bear the consequences of decisions made outside our control. Our faith takes a beating, doesn’t it? In these times, acknowledge what God tells us in Isaiah 48:17 “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” When every ounce of energy we have left wants to shout, “Really God? Is this really the plan you have for me? How am I supposed to get through this one?” Let’s scan a few statements here in Jeremiah 10 … “No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power… God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” This verse is key for today just as is was back then. Jeremiah 10:23 “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

We have to go forward, move past the calamity, rise above the chaos, and clear out a lot of torn feelings all cluttering the path to joy. Remember happiness is circumstantial and sometimes our circumstances have no characteristics close to happiness. Joy comes from believing that God’s plan is for our ultimate good. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Before that next cup of coffee, before returning to the TV, before making that phone call, remember Psalm 6:9 “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Comfort, comfort my People says your God. In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.

Amy Grant – Breath of Heaven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdLwZCprtkI

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