December 9, 2022
Comfort in Christ
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged (Isaiah 42:3 NLT).
Friend to Friend
My grandmother made me feel seen as a child. I can still envision her huge grin when any of her grandkids arrived at her home. When she was in her 90’s, I took three days off my typical work schedule to fly down and spend time with her. We walked down memory lane during those days, and she shared stories I had never heard about growing up during the Great Depression.
I was able to tell her again how her love impacted my life. The next year we had to cancel our family trip to Texas because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any family coming to see her, she began to decline rapidly and ended up passing from this life to the next only a few months into the lockdown. I know she is with Jesus now, but oh how I miss her.
We couldn’t gather as family at that time to celebrate her life, and grieving in isolation was challenging. I wanted to be with others who knew the same pain I was experiencing. While none of our grief looks exactly like another’s, we can find comfort alongside those who have similar circumstances. When someone can say, “I know this kind of pain,” it normalizes our suffering so we don’t feel totally alone.
While we can certainly find support from others, we will discover One who can truly comfort each one of us. No matter the source of our suffering, Jesus came to strengthen and support us. He set us free in a way no one else could because His suffering accomplished a restored relationship with our Creator.
Isaiah wrote about the future Messiah with these words, “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged” (Isaiah 42:3). Matthew quoted this text in his gospel in his account of Jesus healing the sick (Matthew 12:15-21). He had compassion for those who were suffering. He understands that we are a people who often feel like a bruised reed or a candle on the verge of burnout. We can find others to console us when we experience brokenness and weariness, but only Jesus can ultimately bring the kind of healing we need. Jesus understands our pain personally. We can find comfort in His love and realize that following Him sometimes means following a path of suffering.
My son recently updated his prayer requests with our family in an app we use on our phones to pray for one another. He wrote several requests but the last one read, “Pray that I would process through these questions:
- What does it look like for me to suffer for Christ in my life?
- Where am I running away from suffering for Christ?
- How can I actively love others by putting their needs first in my life?”
He added a note that he doesn’t want suffering for suffering’s sake! Instead, he wants to adjust his view to align with biblical suffering. I share his requests with you not to brag about my kid. I have plenty of stories of my children’s failures and sins that would knock me right off any parenting pedestal. I share this because I believe a realignment to a biblical view of suffering is needed in my life and maybe in yours as well.
Jesus knows you will suffer – sometimes because you live on a broken planet, other times as a result of your own poor choices, and perhaps even because you are a Christ-follower. In the midst of it, you can hold onto these truths:
- Jesus understands pain.
- Jesus won’t crush you in times of brokenness.
- Jesus came to bring you freedom through His suffering.
We can trust in God’s comfort because He sent Jesus as His Servant on our behalf. Our suffering doesn’t mean the Lord doesn’t love us. Instead of striving to avoid suffering, we can stir our affections for Jesus. He can use the good and the bad in our lives to draw us nearer to Him. For the people in Isaiah’s day, the Lord told them way ahead of time that He would send a Servant to save them. We are privileged to know His name is Jesus and benefit from the progressive revelation that gives us a more developed picture of God’s Servant.
Whether your candle has been burning strong or you have felt like that flickering wick lately, you can worship the Holy One in every season. You can sing even on dark days because Jesus is the Servant of the Lord who will not crush you. He will free you! Let this truth sink deep and bring you comfort today.
Lord, thank You for being a tender and loving Servant. Thank You for coming to bring light and liberty in my life. Give me a biblical view of suffering so that I don’t have a skewed view of You when I’m feeling broken and on the verge of burn-out. You are my hope when life is dark and difficult. Help me to see You clearly in those times and worship You in the midst of grief. I want to trust Your comfort today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Can you think of a season of suffering in your life where you found comfort from those who had walked a similar path? How has Jesus comforted you in difficult seasons?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s new Bible study titled Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More for an in-depth study of the book of Isaiah.
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Originally published Friday, 09 December 2022.