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Our God has said: “Encourage my people! Give them comfort. Isaiah 40:1 (CEV)

Where do you get comfort from? For the Christ-follower, the ‘Sunday School Answer’ is Jesus. Okay, we have that one out of the way. Easy enough, right? Not if you are stuck in a marriage that never seems to find the fulfillment you hoped for when you said your vows; not when you struggle with an addiction and find yourself once again suffering from its consequences; not when you are a mother sitting by the bedside of your child or spouse as they breath their last breath; not if you are loading the last boxes onto the moving truck because the bank has foreclosed on your dream home because you lost your job.

It’s at those times that all the ‘Sunday School Answers’ of your past may seem to pale in relation to the pain in your soul. Is God real? Yes, you believe it with all your heart. Does he love you? Certainly. Never a doubt in your mind. Does it take away the knot in your stomach? The knot that seems to be growing so large that it is making it hard to breathe? Not always.

During the darkest times of our lives we don’t need another sermon on God’s provision, we need comfort. We seek comfort in many ways. Some seek it with a new relationship, but new isn’t always better, in fact, second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages and the chances of success at marriage decrease with every attempt.

Other comfort foods for the soul can be food (leading to guilt and health issues), drugs, anger, withdrawal, depression, religion and a whole list of other attempts at quenching the pain in life.

When you’ve tried all the above remedies for the pain within you it turns out the ‘Sunday School Answer’ really is the best. Sometimes, when we are honest with ourselves, we realize the pain we are experiencing is the result of our own sin. Other times we’ve done ‘everything right’ but our spouse still leaves, our health fails and our bank account disappears.

After years of slavery and exile, Jehovah God tells Isaiah to comfort his people with these words. The trial is over. The penalty has been paid. His words point forward to the restoration of Jerusalem (physical restoration) and the sacrifice of Jesus (restoration of the soul).

If you are struggling with the pain of life let me point you to Jesus. Not the religion of Christianity, but the relationship with a loving Savior who understands your need and longs to comfort the pain in your soul.

If you have ridden out the battle and find yourself on top, remember that those who are struggling with life don’t need another sermon. They don’t need a reminder of their faults. They need the comfort and encouragement that only the grace of Jesus can give them. Please be an instrument of that encouragement. Their pain is great enough.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the blessings you’ve given me. I ask that you empower me with your Holy Spirit to be an encouragment to those who need you so that they may experience the comfort only you can give. Amen.

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