Read Psalm 85:1-2

Are you feeling tested by overwhelming cares and losses this advent season? Are international news, bosses, broken cars, sinful habits, or relationships taking their toll and producing tension in your daily life? Daily concerns like these seem to compound and carry us to a place we don’t want to be. But we’re not alone. Israel found herself exiled in a foreign land as a consequence of turning away from God. The young virgin Mary found herself in an extraordinary, inexplicable pregnancy in a culture where she could be stoned for illegitimate conception. We may find ourselves tangled in the tinsel and troubles of traditions in a culture carried away by consumerism and materialism. Our hearts and souls cry out for relief. Our bodies and minds seek release from daily turbulence.

Yet our God has given us a book filled with his precious stories revealing his character and promises. God’s words bring comfort to every sorrowful and suffering saint. When we read his Word, we remember that God is sovereign. He has foreseen, foreknown, and foreordained all things. Our God is all-powerful. He made the heaven and the earth and walks on the wind (Psalm 104:3). God cares: he knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30) and collects our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). God pardons our iniquity: Psalm 85 says all of their sin was covered, and so is ours. God promised a redeemer — and he delivered. Jesus came to earth as a baby, and he grew into the God-man to fulfill, once and for all, God’s need for atonement for the sin of every tongue, tribe, nation and people.

These words can bring us comfort. But even when relief comes and tension is released, there may still be consequences. The aftermath of war, disaster, crisis, or pain involves rebuilding. And rebuilding involves change, rescheduling, and work. Thankfully, God promises to be with us through it all. He will never leave us, and he will never slumber or sleep. God has been true to his promises — and he will be true in the rebuilding efforts, too.

Reflection and Response

God is our strength and our consolation. He is the hope, desire, and joy of every longing heart. By his own sufficient merit, he will bring us all to his glorious throne. Use the second verse of the Christmas carol written by Charles Wesley to continue your prayer for comfort today. This time direct your prayers toward others who are experiencing daily turbulence.

Born Thy people to deliver,/ Born a child and yet a King;/ Born to reign in us forever,/ Now Thy gracious kingdom bring./ By Thine own eternal Spirit,/ Rule in all our hearts alone;/ By Thine all sufficient merit,/ Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

By Donna Burns  

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