Someone Who Encourages the Heart

Aren’t there sometimes situations in our lives when it seems that nobody understands us or can help us? Where do we find comfort then? Jesus so lovingly invites us to bring our burdens to Him; He wants to refresh us. No friend can love like Jesus!

At some point in life, everyone has the need to share their problems with someone, to simply pour out their heart. Perhaps we have a close friend we can go to, or it could be our mother or our father, a sibling, or our pastor. But there are times when even our dearest friend would not understand our difficulties and burdens. The worries sometimes seem so great that we want to call out like David, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8). But even a change in location will not necessarily take away our worries and will not provide a shelter in the storm.

When people travel great distances, as many do, to escape their pain and sorrows, their troubles are often multiplied. David left the capital city and traveled to Mahanaim because of his son Absalom’s revolt. But there, we find him voicing his deep woe, lamenting, “O my son Absalom – my son, my son Absalom – if only I had died in your place! O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33) And not only did his son go astray and leave him, but his beloved advisor deserted him and joined those who were against him. David considered Ahithophel as one of his most trustworthy friends, and yet he failed him. “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in the throng” (Psalm 55:12-14). Even the best friend may desert us in a time of need.

To whom can we go? There are times when there is no other place to go but to Jesus to find real comfort. That is what the disciples of John did when their leader was taken from them and deep sorrow weighed them down. John had been brutally murdered to satisfy the passion of a morally decrepit person. “Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:12). – They went and told Jesus. They did what millions of others have done since then and many still do.

They knew He would understand and comfort them. Without a doubt, some of them would have been in the crowd by the Jordan where John the Baptist was baptizing the people. They would have noticed the unknown prophet from the north enter the scene as John made them aware, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me’” (John 1: 29-30). Some of them may have been among those whom John sent from his prison in Machaarus (as per Josephus, John was imprisoned in the castle of Machaarus, where he was subsequently put to death) to ask Jesus if He was the Coming One or if they should look for someone else. 

On this occasion, they recognized His power and compassion, for “that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them’” (Luke 7: 21-22). Then they hurried to Him with their concerns.

There is One with whom we can find refuge from all that pursues and punishes, from everything that torments and depresses us in all the fears, storms, and upheavals that we face. In all these troubles, we will find a haven, a safe shelter in Jesus. 

When we don’t understand, and when troubles, worries, and disappointments seem so dark, we can always enter God’s holy presence and seek His counsel. When we can’t understand the why’s, when’s, and wherefore’s of God’s plan – since God’s thoughts are not like human thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways – we can ask Him to help us understand.

Trouble and worry, suffering and disappointment drive us to this sanctuary. Isaiah, whose tragic life is known to us, calls out, “The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary” (Isaiah 8:13-14). Jeremiah, who is called the “weeping prophet” because of his difficulties, found this sanctuary and stated, “A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary” (see Jeremiah 17:12).

Anguished, tired, and with a heart broken by worries and sorrow, surrounded by storms, we hasten to Jesus in prayer. We hurry to Him who is merciful, like a loving father cares for his children. A conversation with Him will help us. We will find that He shares our troubles and trials and wants to carry our load, because He cares for us. 

E. Martin

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