I Am with You, Declares the Lord (Haggai 1:13)

Haggai 1:13 says, "Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord." This reassurance was given to the Israelites who had returned from exile and were tasked with rebuilding the temple. They were discouraged and overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but God, through Haggai, reminded them that He was with them, providing the strength and encouragement they needed to continue their work. Today, this verse is a powerful reminder that God’s presence is always with us, especially when we face daunting challenges. Just as the Israelites felt overwhelmed by the task of rebuilding, we too often encounter situations that seem beyond our abilities. Whether it is a demanding job, family responsibilities, or personal struggles, we can feel discouraged and unsure of how to move forward. In these moments, God’s declaration, "I am with you," offers us the comfort and strength we need to persevere. Making this re

Thirty-Second Day of Lenten Reflection: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted"

On this thirty-second day of Lenten reflection, we immerse ourselves in the comforting assurance of Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." This verse touches the core of the Lenten experience, a time when we confront our vulnerabilities, sorrows, and the brokenness of our world.

Lent is a period of deep reflection and penance, often bringing to the surface the pain, regrets, and struggles we carry. The message that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" serves as a powerful reminder of God’s presence in our moments of anguish. It reassures us that in our times of emotional and spiritual distress, we are not abandoned; God is intimately near.

The closeness of the Lord to those who are brokenhearted is a testament to His compassionate nature. It reflects the heart of a loving Father, attentive to the cries of His children. This closeness is not a mere sentiment; it is an active, sustaining, and healing presence that offers comfort and hope in times of despair.

In the context of Lent, this verse also encourages a deeper trust in God. It invites us to bring our brokenness to Him — our failings, our regrets, our hurts — with the assurance that He receives us with open arms. God’s nearness in our brokenness is an opportunity for transformation and renewal. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect.

Furthermore, the promise that God "saves those who are crushed in spirit" speaks of His redemptive power. Just as Lent leads us to Easter, where we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death, this verse reminds us that God brings resurrection and life out of our deepest sorrows and losses. Our crushed spirits are fertile ground for God's saving work.

As we continue through our Lenten reflection, let us find solace in the nearness of God to the brokenhearted. In our moments of reflection and repentance, may we experience the comfort and healing of His presence. Let us also be agents of His comfort to others, sharing the love and nearness of God with those around us who are experiencing brokenness.

In this season of preparation and anticipation, may we hold onto the hope that, though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes with the morning. With God close to us, even our most painful experiences can be woven into the greater tapestry of His redemptive plan.

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