As we continue to study Isaiah 61, we come upon a section in verse 3 which focuses on the wonderful treasures the Lord has bestowed upon us that we can then give to others. It begins with the gift of compassion: “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion.” Over the years, I have had several friends who are bestowed with the gift of compassion. Those with this gift are the ones who take the time to care for those whom most people would prefer to walk by or ignore. I once was mentoring a young woman named Kathy whose heart of compassion often led her to do things which were extremely sacrificial. She was forever bringing the homeless into her apartment to feed them and give them shelter. One time, Kathy spent her last few dollars to make a care package for her grandfather who was a shut-in. She had just enough money to buy and then mail the package, but at the post office, they told her she had to use a certain kind of tape to seal it. As she had no money left, she ended up shop-lifting the tape because she so desperately wanted to cheer up her lonely Grandpa. Unfortunately, she was arrested for stealing and I had to go bail her out of jail. Well, I would not recommend doing illegal things to help out another. However, I do admire my friend’s tenacity to comfort one who was suffering. How much effort are we willing to put out for those in need?
When others are in need of comfort, how do you respond? Specifically, God was referring in this Isaiah passage to those who are oppressed and grieving. When others are mourning a loss, what do you say and do? In an effort to make the person’s pain go away, it is too easy to throw out glib comments like: “Time will heal,” “You will be alright,” or “I am sure God has something or someone better for you.” But many times what people really need is just a listening ear, someone to cry with them in their pain, and someone to hold them and pray for them. We can “provide for those who grieve” (Isaiah 61:3) by helping them with their physical needs. Be willing to babysit their kids, run an errand for them, help them financially, or just be with them so they do not feel so alone.
Is there someone God has placed in your life who is going through a difficult time? Ask the Spirit who is the Comforter and Counselor to fill you with compassion and wisdom so that you can comfort your grieving friend or family member.
Excerpt from // More Beautiful By The Day