Today’s Scripture Selection: Isaiah 40:1

Another passage that comes immediately to mind as we think of the “Balm of Gilead” – the healing that comes from God – is this one from Isaiah:

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, and that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for her sins.”

Although this speaks to a very specific political situation in the life of Israel, it also speaks to the very nature of God’s love.

God’s tender comfort – God’s encouragement – God’s promise of rescue – comes over and over again to His people – despite their times of disobedience and wandering from Him.

It may come in some very surprising ways – as in the case of working through a king named Cyrus in a far, away land called Babylon.

And, just so, God’s mercy that brings comfort may come to us from some equally unexpected sources.

But come it does – that healing, restoring, redemptive love.

So, when you feel defeated, alone, uncertain, even abandoned – keep watch.  God may be just about to do something wonderful and powerful in your life.

It’s no accident that the very next verses following this passage in Isaiah are the ones that point to a Savior who would come many years later:

“A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God…And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’

Who knows what God has in mind, or when, or how His healing comfort may come.

Prayer: Lord, help me to level the highway in my heart, and smooth the desert places of my soul, in preparation for you.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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