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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 40’

Life can be a puzzle at times, don’t you think? Such a confusing mixture of celebrations, disappointments, happiness, sadness, outstanding successes and downright disasters.

This past week, I heard from four different friends, all facing huge issues in caring for their children. These range from life-threatening physical illness to equally life-threatening mental illness and personality disorder to rearing children with developmental disabilities to discovering your children have been abused by a paedophile. My heart goes out to each one. They are all amazing heroes and heroines, trying to keep their heads above water in the midst of such anguish, exhaustion and frustration.

Each one has a faith in God they are trying to cling to, despite everything. Their faith may be very weak and wavering right now, but it is there still—that longing to know God hasn’t deserted them, that somehow, some day, they will be able to make sense of it all or at least see things from a different perspective. I grieve with them and understand their wondering where God is, as they watch their children suffer. Anything I say sounds trite, so I merely listen and pray and try to do what I can to help.

Then in the midst of this, I attend a friend’s party to mark a special milestone birthday. It is wonderful to catch up with several who have been a rich part of my own life, to laugh and rejoice together at the way God has led us and to be so thankful for the blessings we have received. On top of this, I myself receive news that a book of mine has reached the finals of a Christian writers’ award. I am so grateful to God—yet how can I rejoice at this small success in the light of the hugely difficult issues my friends are facing? How can I wrap my brain around it all?

I open my bible and find I am up to Isaiah 40. Certain phrases jump out at me: ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. … All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. … The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. … He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. … “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?’ Then comes the clincher:

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. … Is 40:28-29

What can I say then? Our Almighty God will always be exactly that. We may never understand why God does not intervene in these terrible situations, yet we are not forgotten and our pain is not ignored. The cross makes that very clear.

God has reached out and shared our pain. This I know for sure. And God still reaches out, strengthening us to hold fast, however difficult the journey.

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