22 July 2020
Summer Psalm – The Close Comforter
This summer, we thought it would be encouraging to release a mini, two-part blog series on Psalms. Particularly as we remain in a time of great uncertainty and worry, the Psalms are a great reminder to us of how we can approach God and what He is like. Christopher Ash, Christian author and pastor, says the following:
In the Psalms we have words that God has given us to speak to God. Such a rich tapestry of praises, laments, meditations, requests, and urgent supplications is given to us that we neglect it at our peril. The Psalms tie our personal prayers to the corporate prayers of the people of Christ in every generation. They warm our hearts, inform our minds, and shape our wills.
In Psalm 145, we have King David’s words of praise. Words which we can echo, which we can make our own. But perhaps you’re not feeling like praising God at the moment? A running theme for many people over this lockdown period has been isolation / distance / loneliness / separation. Isolation from the outside world, distance from places we love, loneliness from not seeing friends and family, separation from our usual activities. And I know there have been times when even God has felt distant to me. So that’s where this Psalm warms my heart, informs my mind and shapes my will…
"The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfils the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them." (verses 17-19)
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” What an amazing thing to remember. God is always near, we just need to call. His character is perfect and good. If you read the rest of Psalm 145, you will see Him described in many beautiful ways:
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (verse 8)
“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all that he has made.” (verse 9)
“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (verse 13)
“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (verse 14)
The Lord will never be distant from us. Even through a global pandemic! David’s song of praise is a timely reminder to me, and I hope to you too, that the Lord is rich in love and faithful - He promises to be near us and so he will! And of course, He ultimately proved himself by coming to earth as man. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Our gracious, mighty, compassionate God, right here with us. He couldn’t come much nearer than that!
One of our ministry partners, the Evangelical Mission for Assistance to Fishermen in Brazil, knows this truth and holds dearly to it. Despite being separated from one another and the communities they serve due to Covid-19 restrictions, the EMAF missionaries have still felt the Lord close to them, directing their steps. They have been determined not to let the circumstances stop people hearing about Jesus, God with us.
In of one their recent blog posts, they wrote:
Let us commit ourselves so that our arms, even in these difficult days, will continue to embrace our people on the islands and along the riverbanks. After all, even far from one another, it is important that we make Christ known.
How amazing that whilst much of their lives, and ours, is restricted; whilst we remain distant from many people and places, God will not be restricted or distant from us. To all who call on Him, He is near. God can be known, through Jesus.
I pray that you would know and be comforted by the Close Comforter. And please join me in praying especially for WorldShare’s ministry partners around the world, that they would continue to call on the Lord for all they need. May David’s words of praise be ones they can echo and may they see many come to know Jesus, God with us.
By Emily Hobbs, WorldShare’s Marketing Communications Assistant.