|In the midst of this fallen world, is God really always with us? During the many trials of our lives, that question certainly seems to haunt us more than we would choose to admit. Today’s scriptures provide solid direction for those times when we catch ourselves feeling abandoned and hopeless.
In Isaiah’s message, we see God speaking to the people of Israel. They are experiencing hardships of many kinds and they seem confused about where to turn for help. Isaiah reminds them that God has not forgotten them and that He will provide all their needs. He will never forget them nor forsake them, even when they are suffering, even when they seem to have forgotten all the ways that they have been blessed. God has always been at their side.
We too need this constant reminder. It is so easy to forget all the instances in our lives when God has brought us through trials, hardships and heartbreaks. We get trapped in the “what have you done for me lately” mindset, when it should actually be so easy to keep our focus upon God, simply be remembering all His blessings throughout our life’s journey. Today’s Psalm further reminds us to maintain our focus upon our mighty God and all that he continues to do in our life – even when His plan and His timing are difficult for us to understand. We are called to simply wait for the Lord in faith, trusting in His everlasting presence.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus provides us with a clear example of what it means to follow Him. Jesus spent time in this world traveling “around all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom”. These were likely the things He did every day. Perhaps not too different from us as we go about the daily routines in our life. But Jesus taught us a very important distinction. While doing his daily work, he specifically took the time to notice those around Him. He did not let His daily routines crowd out the importance of the people around Him. His heart was moved by their suffering. He didn’t simply notice them, He did something about it, curing their diseases and illnesses. However, meeting the needs of those in direct contact with Him was not enough, for He noted that the need for compassion was great – the “harvest is abundant.” And then Jesus made a remarkable observation – “the laborers are few;” so, Jesus sent out his disciples to “Go to the lost sheep” and while proclaiming the good news, actually helping them in their troubles.
It is hard to miss this stark example, this directive. Rather than focusing on our trials, we have the responsibility of seeking Jesus’ eyes and ears, to notice those He has placed in our lives. To see their hurts and to actually do something about them. We know that Jesus’ care and love will always be with us throughout every moment of our lives. Jesus clearly reminds us that we are to extend this care and love to those we encounter each and every day. We need to take this directive seriously – as the harvest is indeed abundant in today’s world. How will you choose to answer this call?
Dear Heavenly Father open my heart to the hurts and needs of those I encounter each and every day. Help me to focus upon them in lieu of whining about my problems. Thank you for your care, your love, and your eternal patience. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.