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I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him. Isaiah 57:18

The prophet Isaiah was called by God to minister to a people who never seemed to get the ‘living for God’ thing right. Their history with Him wasn’t stellar by any means. Even though God blessed them time and time again they refused to see Him as the source of their success. Any time something came along that looked better than God’s ways they followed it. They were stubborn, rebellious people who didn’t seem to care what God said.

Not only did they have a hard time following God’s ways, they blamed God when they didn’t get their own way. If God didn’t get them what they wanted they’d find a god that did. It may be money, new relationships, or stealing from other people. The bottom line was God’s people weren’t very godly after all. The people chose religion over relationship but that didn’t satisfy them so they found other things to soothe their pain.

Isaiah came before the people with a message straight from God. It was a simple message: “I know your name.” Things really haven’t changed much since Isaiah was prophet. We all still struggle with our spiritual walk. We try to live for God but are pulled in so many other directions that we lose sight of His way. People fail us, or abuse us, so we find others who will treat us well. We find comfort in drugs and/or alcohol but that is only a temporary fix to our pain. We try religion but religion is demanding and often doesn’t seem relevant to our pain. We get tired of trying and failing and trying and failing again. When we continue to fail like that it’s easy to just give up. We may decide God doesn’t exist or care. We may decide we are just too hopeless of a case and try to go it alone because there is no way He’ll accept us.

None of that is true. Isaiah 57:18 tells us that God knows who we are from the very beginning. He knows our name. He’s seen what we are like from the inside out. We humans tend to determine who we are and who others are by what we see on the outside. We associate a certain kind of behavior, looks and attitudes by what we see on the outside because we are limited by our humanity.

Our name gives people the framework for who we are. If I say I saw ‘Mary Jones’ today, and you know Mary, then in your mind you can relate all you know about Mary by that name. The same is true to a much larger degree with God. He knows who you are from the inside out. He doesn’t just know what you do, He knows the real reason you do it.

Not only does God know you better than anyone else, including yourself, He loves you. He wants to heal you. The Bible refers to our sin nature as a disease. It’s a disease we are born with and one we can’t heal ourselves. We seek all sorts of ‘medication’ to deal with it like relationships, chemicals, and religion, but nothing works. The only thing that will heal you is forgiveness by God through Jesus Christ.

If you are sick, you don’t say, “As soon as I get better I need to get to the doctor.” That’s a ridiculous idea. When you are sick you go to the one that can heal. Jesus not only heals you, He understands why you fail, comforts you in your pain and wants to help you learn to have a full, rich relationship with Him.

God knows your name. He knows who you are and exactly why you are the way you are. He’s real, powerful and loving. Through His Son Jesus, He can help soothe the pain you are in regardless of what you have done.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I’m so thankful that you know me. Other people think they know me, but even my best friends only know what they see on the inside. I praise you for knowing me from the inside out and understanding my pain. Forgive me of the mistakes I’ve made. Heal my wounds that run deep. Comfort me with your loving forgiveness. In Your Name I pray, Amen.


David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Imagine what it would be like to come home to find your home nothing more than a pile of smoldering rubble. Upon questioning neighbors you learn that your family has been kidnapped as well! In those few short moments you have lost everything that was once near and dear to you. Then, as though part of a horrible nightmare, people around you accuse you of being at fault for all of this tragedy!

This was the situation that King David faced in 1 Samuel 30:6. This was a time in David’s career when he was very popular among the people. He was just returning with his men from helping a neighboring King fight a battle. As the warriors came over the final hill they saw what was left of their city. It was nothing more than a pile of smoldering rubble.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that no one was killed. But where were the wives, the sons, the daughters? How many enemies had taken them? Then there was the sheer fatigue and anguish. The Bible says that the men cried until they could cry no more. In the midst of their anguish the men started to murmur against their leader. IF he hadn’t taken all of them off to battle this wouldn’t have happened. IF he’d left some men behind to guard the city they’d be sitting down to supper with their little boys and girls and getting a good night sleep in their own beds with the women they loved.

Their murmuring grew into threats and David soon heard that they were about to stone him! It’s hard to imagine what made David feel worse. Was it the fact that his own two wives were among the missing? Was it the fact that his own life was still in danger from Saul? Was it seeing these men, whom he loved in such anguish? Was it the ruins of his city? Perhaps it was the fact that these men, whom he loved dearly and whom he’d done so much for had now turned on him. All his training and protection and provision for them didn’t matter. In this time of crisis they turned their backs on the one that had done so much for them.

There are times in each of our lives when we may feel like David. We pour ourselves into the lives of others. We try to help them through times of need and struggle. It could be a friend, a child, a parent, or even a total stranger. But then something goes wrong and all of the sudden we are the ones to be blamed.

In the midst of his personal despair, at a time when he’d lost everything of physical value and now his closest friends had turned against him, David did what each of us must do when we are attacked. David turned to God. He got alone in a quiet place and asked God what he should do. He didn’t lash out at his attackers. He didn’t defend himself. He didn’t try to place the blame on God, the men themselves, or even the enemy. He met with God and formulated a plan to rescue the women, children and material possessions that had been taken.

When things go horribly wrong in your life, follow David’s example. First of all, don’t give up. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the ‘poor little old me’ mindset. Then, like David, pick yourself up and go to the one that will never leave you, never forsake you and always be a loyal, trusted friend. God allows adversity and tragedy in our lives in order to teach us to trust him and not men. He alone can bring you through whatever you are facing today. You may be betrayed by your closest friends, but God will never ever forsake you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the story of David. Thank you for the reminder that when those I thought were my closest allies fail me; I can always turn to you. Show me how I can trust you to resolve conflicts. Give me strength to pick myself up and move on. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to trust you in all things. Amen.


 “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30:11

In Old Testament times when people were in deep distress they would put on sackcloth and wail in anguish. This was particularly true when they mourned over the death of a loved one. As it is today, this was perhaps the deepest agony of all. Death brings with it the loss of dreams, the loss of companionship and the loss of hope for the future.

In Psalm 30 David recounts the many times that God has delivered his people from a variety of disappointments and tragedies. In verse 11 of this song of praise he tells us how, in the midst of their agony God brought them joy. The rough and uncomfortable clothing of sackcloth became clothing of joy and comfort. Their songs of agony became songs of praise.

As we travel along the journey we call life there are many times when tragedy comes upon us. It can be the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or a broken relationship. People we trust let us down. We let people down we trust and love dearly. We grow old and change becomes harder to adjust too. Health and financial woes remove our hopes and dreams.

How we react to the hard times of life is really up to us. We can dwell on the pain or we can allow God to turn even our own most desperate times into a time of joy and comfort. How we respond to adversity is largely dependent on our view of God and of ourselves.

If we allow the words and actions of other people to determine how we feel about ourselves and God then we will feel the pain of life’s disappointments. Life will seem hopeless. Pain and discomfort will be the rule of our days and sleeplessness will spend the night with us.

If we realize God’s great love and provision for us then we enable Him to make our darkest times to be times of comfort and joy. It is only God that can take the sackcloth of our mistakes and the abuse of others and turn it to joy. It is only through God’s love that we can endure the hardship of tragedy that comes our way.

You are a child of the God of the universe. You are His most cherished possession and the apple of His eye. Leave the ashes and sackcloth of yesterdays mistakes and abuse be replaced with the comfort of God’s love for you. Replace the wailing for the failures and tragedies of the past with praise for the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ you will see a better tomorrow.

You won’t find lasting joy here on earth through relationships, toys, wealth, power or popularity. Lasting joy comes only through complete faith in Jesus and the realization of God’s great love for you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m in such turmoil today. You know the pain I’m feeling. You know the mistakes and tragedies of my past that handcuff me. I’m trapped by feelings of hopelessness and despair. To be honest there have been times of late when I’ve doubted your love or even your presence. I ask that you would empower me through faith in Jesus and the power of your Spirit to clothe myself with your joy and comfort even as I walk through these dark and lonely times. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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