They will eat and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
The health magazine, Elemental, published a compelling article about the human experience of relief. The article begins with a simple example that goes something like this. There is an itch on your back you are unable to reach. The discomfort is terrible. Finally, a trusted friend is able to reach the spot and scratch. The relief you feel is so great that your brain lights up in the same area that responds to addictive substances.
But then the article goes on to speak of bigger things. Beyond relief of physical irritations like an itch, there is relief from another kind of pain that’s far more significant. It quotes a neuroscience professor from Dartmouth College. In part, the professor says, “Every time you think about something that makes you feel dread or concern or shame, your [deep emotional] pain is refreshed. And so relief from those negative experiences—for example, relief from…years of intermittent sadness, anger, dread, and embarrassment—can be profound.”
Which brings us to the kind of relief that God describes in the Bible. In the Old Testament book of Zephaniah, God is speaking to souls who are facing dark, difficult days. As he does, however, he gives them an assurance. He assures them that a great relief is on the way. All the things that vex them, all the things that haunt, discourage, and weigh them down—all those things are temporary. As God describes it, one day his people “will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” In other words—relief that is lasting and true.
This Ultimate Relief has arrived. His name is Jesus Christ. On our behalf, he has lived a life of perfect goodness—the life you and I have failed to live. In our place, he has suffered and died to wash away our every wrong. Now, through faith in him, his full forgiveness gives us a peace that surpasses understanding. And one day, when we enter life eternal, we will experience full release from the presence and effects of sin. Relief that is lasting and true.
Heavenly Father, through your gospel remind me of the true relief I possess in your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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