"The Lord will give the people of Israel relief from their pain and suffering..." (Isaiah 14:3) Patti and I visited the coastal area of Maine last week... Relief is so critical in our lives - relief from our own pain and suffering, relief from the pain and suffering of others, relief from our labor, and even relief from the oppressive heat that suffocated the eastern part of our country last week. (Thought I'd try to offer some relief with a photo from a winter's visit to Maine instead of one from the 98 degree heat we experienced.)
Relief is one of many gifts from God. Sometimes relief comes after much anticipation, sometimes it surprises us. Regardless of how and when it arrives, relief is something to be welcomed and cherished. Yet, there are times when we may find it almost difficult to celebrate relief. When loved ones end their long struggles with illness and finally leave us to join God's heavenly celebration, sometimes it's difficult for those left behind to relish the relief they feel from daily trips to the hospital and agonizing hours by the bedside. After all, why should I deserve relief when my loved one just died? It's difficult to feel relief when others still suffer. Yet relief is truly a gift from God. Like all gifts from God, relief is not just for me. Even though it is the relief that I experience, the relief renews and prepares me to be in further service for others.
Do you need relief from something? It's more than just okay to pray for relief. It's a necessity. I pray that God will give me the gift of relief when needed so I might better continue to serve. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia