"This is what the Lord says: 'In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, 'Come out,' and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar - some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan. Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.'" Isaiah 49:8-13
If you pay much attention to the news, you are probably blown away by the amount of negative news. We see it over and over again: murders, terror, wars, natural disasters, etc. It's even gotten to the point that I don't even want to watch the news. I keep asking the question, "Why?" And as a Christ follower, I know the simple and truthful answer: SIN! Sin has broken us. Sin has broken this world. Romans 6:23 tells us that the "wages of sin is death." Death is both physical and spiritual. Unless the Lord returns again, we will all die a physical death. However, there is something worse than physical death. Spiritual death is separation from God...separation from the Father of creation, the Father of love and mercy and grace. Sin has broken us; it has broken our land. BUT...Romans 6:23 also says that "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Just as death is both physical and spiritual, life is both physical and spiritual. Jesus tells us in John 10:10, "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." Jesus tells us in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The life that you and I were created to have is supposed to be full and eternal in Christ Jesus! That is God's gift to us. Remember, God SO loves us! That is why Isaiah reminded Israel of God's great covenant with them. God redeemed His children; He rescued them! God promised His children a time of favor, a time of salvation, and a time of restoration in the land that He gave them. God's promises extend from Israel to all of His children. God's promises extend throughout time, from the past to the present and even to the future! Through Christ Jesus, you and I can enjoy a covenant relationship with God. We can enjoy times of favor and of salvation and of restoration to our land. Isaiah said that the heavens would shout for joy and that the earth would rejoice and that the mountains would burst into song! Why? Isaiah 49:13 says, "For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Yes, our world is hurting and afflicted due to sin. However, God's grace is greater than all our sin. God's love is greater than all our hate. God's mercy and grace is great, and His comfort and compassion is enough to heal our hurts. Don't let the negative impact and effect of sin cause you to forget the greatness of our God! Trust Him, and trust His promises. Receive and embrace His comfort and compassion. Be encouraged by His powerful presence today, and then live His goodness out loud in a dying and lost world that needs to see and know Him.