|Comfort from a friend is a rare gift.|
When I face trouble and heart-ache, I read. I look for wisdom, help and comfort from the experiences of others. Here are some odds and ends I've found lately:
#1. Ps. 112:4 -- "Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous." Or, as James Ward's song says, "Even in darkness, light dawns, for the gracious and upright!"
This is a huge comfort to me, because I truly believe -- I know -- that my dear husband has acted uprightly in all he's done. He's acted in love for God's people and in concern for their welfare. Yet we are in darkness, in trouble and difficulty. This verse from Psalm 112 tells us that the righteous man is sometimes in darkness, but when he's there, light dawns on him! The darkness does not remain. God brings deliverance, help, and a new day. What a comfort!
For a listen to James Ward and his choir at New City Fellowship, here is his fabulous song, "Death Is Ended." I couldn't find a Youtube of the other one.
My mother sent me a clipping from Banner of Truth. The article is about Alexis, Baron von Roenne, a German who opposed Hitler and went to his death for it. These words from Psalm 112 about the upright man, were a description of him, in this article. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." Ps. 37:37
#2. My mother also sent me a prayer letter that they used at church this past week. There were many verses about the importance of prayer, but I was most struck by this one: "Prayer is part of our chief end: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. [This is from the Westminster Catechism.] '...and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.'" Ps. 50:15 Look at how all these things are connected! My trouble, my prayers about my trouble, God's deliverance, and His glory. It is a seamless thread of purpose, His plan altogether. I do believe it is the main goal of my life to glorify God and enjoy Him. What better glory can there be, than a miraculous deliverance of someone in trouble?
#3. My husband has tweaked his blog. It used to be just a theological blog, with his sermons and thoughts on Scripture. He's widened it to include his varied interests and skills, which are many :) But here's a quote from him, from a post about forgiveness and mending broken relationships. "Real repentance is a mourning for a broken relationship. When we forgive one another, it is simply not enough to remove the offense; the relationship must also be restored ...." Wow!! Usually we think of repentance as turning from our sin, which is true. But real repentance -- real turning from sin, is founded in a deep desire to be right with God, a longing for the close relationship that we've lost with Him.That's what we should feel, every day.
#4. I've always struggled with whether God will really take care of me. How do I know He will provide? He can, but will He? Of course, there are many promises, and I must remind myself of them over and over. A new one occurred to me. Jesus tells his disciples (and us) that he will not leave us comfortless. He will be with us, even though he's returned to heaven.When we are sorrowing, he comforts. Now, consider James 2:15: "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?" Jesus said to us, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled" - be comforted in sorrow and cared for in need. He's not going to merely say those words, without acting on them as well. He's no hypocrite, giving lip-service to mercy, without deeds too. So, I believe that since my Lord has told me to be comforted, He will give the things to make that comfort happen. He'll put feet to his words.
He's already doing that. I've had such warm, loving emails and messages from friends, I just can't tell you. One dear pastor friend emailed today, and included a precious prayer for us, in his email. I cried as I read it. With love like that from Christian brothers, how can I worry? How can I bemoan my trials, when without them, I would never receive such expressions of friendship and love?