The Pastor’s Pen

“‘Comfort, yes, comfort my people!’ says your God.”

                                                                        Isaiah 40:1

         There’s nothing quite so heart rending as the inconsolable cry of a child. For some incomprehensible reason, there were six of them on the flight home from Los Angeles. They took turns wailing with first prize going to the year old twins sitting right behind me. I suspect the change in air pressure played havoc with their fragile eardrums. My heart ached for them, and for their parents who tried everything they knew, without success.

         It didn’t end when we got off the plane, an exasperated single mom carrying a two year old simply could not get her wailing five year old to budge. Total melt down. I introduced myself to the mother and in my most pastoral voice assured her that as a mother and grandmother, I’d been there and would it be helpful if I carried one of the children with her to baggage claim, walking right by her side. She was apparently too exhausted to care if a stranger absconded with one of them, so off we went. The five year old clung to me like the survivor of a shipwreck.

         I envy the honesty of children. Five hours on that plane left no few grown ups on the verge of tears as well. Who among us hasn’t wished they could throw a tantrum just once and not move until somebody noticed our need and attended to it? We know what it’s like to be at the end of our rope: helpless, hopeless and out of control. Life is messy, if not our own, then that of someone we love.

         Fortunately, we do not suffer alone. When it feels that way, it is perhaps because we have neglected to cry out to the one who can and will carry us when we’re exhausted. At such a time as this, the most honest prayer we can utter may be, “God, I give up”, followed closely by “help”!

         Whatever disturbs you at the start of this New Year, recall that help is as near to you as a mother’s breath in your waiting ear. God is your refuge and strength, your comforter and guide, your rock and your redeemer.

Prayer: Comfort me, O God. Surround me with your love and lead me with your light. May this burden pass from me. And if it cannot pass, then may the load become bearable. And if it cannot become bearable, then help me to endure. Amen


God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland