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Comfort, Comfort My People

I never knew how comforting scripture memorization could be until the spring of 2012.

Oh, you know, like a lot of people, I had memorized a verse here and a verse there.  John 3:16, the Roman Road, and the like.  For Lent 2012, I decided I would memorize a whole chapter of Isaiah, specifically, chapter 40.

Why chapter 40, you ask?  Well, mostly because I loved the verses at the end of it. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings like eagles.”

I decided that I wanted to earn those verses by memorizing what led up to them.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God….

Little did I know how much those words would mean to me.  A week or so into Lent, I got one of those heart-stopping phone calls.  A family emergency. A 3 hour car ride. Several days away from home.

Since I had just started my Lenten challenge, the first verses were the ones I rehearsed.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her…

Over and over they played through my head.

I failed in my Lenten goal, barely scratching the surface of Isaiah 40.  Life became more and more complicated with unexpected twists and turns that left me feeling like I was barely hanging on, like a scene from a movie, with just my fingertips holding me on the edge of an abyss.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned…

I continued to work on it, though, determined that I would memorize it if it took me all year.  Easter came and went.

With June, came another jolt, one of those stomach-wrenching roller coaster drops. July was even worse. I would wake up in a cold sweat, heart-pounding, my mind filled with terrifying thoughts that were leading me down even more terrifying paths.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned,
That she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins…

Every time the nightmares came, I would start at the beginning again.  Comfort, comfort my people…

I completed memorizing the chapter in September, but God’s Word had wrought its comfort in my heart in the intervening months.

Is there anything more comforting that His Word whispered in your heart?

comfort

*************

Thank you to Lisa Jo Baker for this week’s prompt: Comfort.  Check out Five Minute Fridays on her blog, lisajobaker.com.

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5 comments on “Comfort, Comfort My People

  1. Michele
    May 10, 2013

    Sarah-what an unexpected surprise to come over here after posting on five-minute friday and find a post on scripture memorization. I love ScriptureTyper.com and have found, like you, that with memorization, the Word begins to soak into you, in a way that it can’t with just reading. One chapter carries so much more weight when it is inside you! You have encouraged me to keep going on Romans 1, 8 and 12…thanks for sharing your story too. I don’t think it matters how long it took because those verses are there for you now forever. Blessings. M

  2. Mia
    May 10, 2013

    Dear Sarah
    This is also one of my favorite verses in the Bible. When our Lord reveals these verses to our hearts, it truly is such amazing comfort! He is the God of all comfort.
    Blessings
    Mia

  3. yourothermotherhere
    May 10, 2013

    When I found out I had cancer, one of my favorite verses was “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

  4. Judy Guion
    May 10, 2013

    Those final words in Isaiah have been a mantra to me since just before I was born again – at the age of 38. They continue to encourage me when I’m facing struggles in my life, and remind me that I “shall mount up with wings as eagles.” Thank you, Sarah, for your reassuring post.

  5. jodaley
    May 10, 2013

    The end of that passage also means a lot to me, something I memorized as a teen and have carried with me all my life. I memorized lots of scripture growing up, and have taken that up again in recent years. Last year my 17 year old niece passed away and truly, God’s word imprinted on my heart, helped so much. Thank you for stopping by today.

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