“I have seen what they do,
but I will heal them anyway!
I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace,
both near and far,”
says the LORD, who heals them.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:18-19‬ ‭(NLT‬‬)

Sometimes people who are far from God look at Christians (who, hopefully, are close to God) and think we have it all together. Sometimes we seem to – we arrive at Church on Sunday mornings dressed nicely, smiling at others as we greet them. Sometimes we look like people who’ve never had a problem in our lives. 

But I promise you, everyone in church is fighting some kind of difficult battle you know nothing about. They may carry shame for the things that have said or done in the past. They may be struggling just to find the strength to smile. Maybe the clothes that look so nice hide bruises and scars. Maybe they feel like everything is falling apart in their lives, or balancing on a knife edge of disaster. 

Maybe you’ve heard the saying that church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. We go there because we know our own brokenness so keenly, because we know our need for God better than anyone. 

The very good news is that Jesus didn’t come for those whose lives were already together. He spent his time with the worst kind of people. And he called out of them the best kind of transformation. 

You see – God knows what we have done, but chooses to send his Son to heal us anyway. God knows our problems and our messes and our stains. He knows our need. And out of his great compassion he sent Jesus to be with us, to teach us and then to lay down his life for us. So we could be healed. So we could know peace. Whether we are near or far. 

This Advent may you trust the LORD who heals you. May you have abundant peace whether you are near or far. 

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