In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
Isaiah 63:9 (NIV)
Over forty one years ago we had our first child. After the usual 3 days in hospital I brought my wife and son home. I had purchased flowers for my wife, a large “Welcome” sign hung in the foyer of our home, and I ensured that the entire house was clean and in order.
However only two days after we arrived home my wife had to be suddenly rushed back to hospital for emergency surgery. I took my newborn son to a friend’s place to be lovingly cared for and I returned to an empty house.
I was the saddest person alive. I wondered what I did wrong to have such a trial sent my way when I was supposed to be celebrating the arrival of my first child. Then the phone rang. I picked it up and a familiar voice on the other end said, “Hello Gordon, it is Paul Irwin.”
My heart was suddenly lifted as I heard the voice of our very caring doctor on the phone line. We had a wonderful Christian doctor and he had spoken to the surgeon and then was calling me to explain what was happening to my wife.
My doctor friend was very compassionate and caring. Just to know that he was involved with our family’s suffering meant so much. I learned that I would be able to take my wife home in just a couple of days and everything would be all right.
Suddenly my empty house did not seem so lonely as I hung up the phone. Yes, I was still on my own and would be for a short time, but the right person knew all about the difficulty and was involved to set things right. That one fact settled my heart and enabled me to endure.
This is the message of our verse today. God is distressed at our problems in life and bears our burdens Himself. What Isaiah is saying is that when God’s people are afflicted God is afflicted. The child of God never bears pain and sorrow alone.
There can be wonderful help and encouragement for God’s people when they find themselves afflicted. To know that God is bearing our sorrows on His shoulders is somehow immensely helpful. The trial seems somehow lighter when we see the heart of God.
We are never alone in our times of suffering even when there is no one else in the house. The Lord is holding up the burden so that we are not crushed under the weight of it. We read in Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering…”
Pray to the Lord today and ask Him to make His heart known to you. Tell Him you need to sense His presence with you right now. Ask Him to tenderly speak peace to your troubled heart. He waits to hear from you so come to Him and come now.