Comfort and Hope for the Weary!
by Tamara Eaton
I have experienced trials in several areas lately and just as the Lord has comforted me, I would like to comfort those of you who may also be in a season of trial. Perhaps you're battling depression because of feelings of inadequacy, or health problems or financial worries. You may feel nervous and fearful over the coming school year or experiencing conflicts with relatives or friends. Whatever your circumstances, God is more than willing to meet your needs and give you peace and rest in the midst of them!
He has not only made provision for all of our needs, but He has promised to forgive us of all of our sins, so that nothing can separate us from Him.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)
The temptation during a trial is to put the rest of our lives "on hold" while we battle depression over our seemingly unanswered prayers. Yet, this is the time we must be all the more faithful to trust not in our wavering emotions and circumstances, but in the all powerful, holy righteous God-- Who sees all, understands all, and is continually working in our lives, whether we have physical evidence of it or not!
We have a choice-- we can wallow in despair or boldly proclaim His Word is true and He is worthy of all our praise regardless of the circumstances! Even if God seems silent for a time, He has given us His Word which will endure forever and is always available for comfort.
Sometimes during a trial, I'll wake up first thing in the morning with a heaviness. If this is left unchecked, my whole day could be wasted in worries and defeat. Instead, I try to immediately put on the "garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isa.61:3) and the "full armour of God" (Eph.6:13-18) and begin to pray and meditate upon God's Word to get "recharged" for the day. God has given us His Word to use to defeat the enemy and the negative thoughts that assault our mind. Just like Jesus used the Word during His temptation in the wilderness to defeat the enemy ("It is written..."MT 4; MK 4), we also can use His Word to overcome our battles.
I believe that often the Lord uses these times of trial to draw us closer to Him, to allow us to renew our commitment to be "set apart" unto Him, and as a reminder to not get too caught up with the cares of this life or distracted because of physical infirmities or someone's criticisms or anything else. He is tugging at our hearts saying, "Come closer, I want to do a deeper work in you!"
So let's yield to Him, and allow Him to do that precious work in our lives. Put on the praise music and worship Him! Make time to saturate yourself in His Word, allowing it to comfort you and build you up in faith. Commune with the Lord, day and night and let Him flood you with His grace and mercy and strength. Allow Him to help you redeem each day, not wasting one hour in defeat. Enjoy your family, reach out to others, seek to glorify Him in everything you do and say!
Elisabeth Elliot has shared how her mother's teaching of "Do the next thing" helped her so much during the days after her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed by Auca Indians in Ecuador, leaving her to raise their young daughter alone as she continued their missionary work in the jungles, and later when her second husband died of cancer. She found this poem in her mother's things and I share it here hoping that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me:
Do the Next ThingFrom an old English parsonage down by the sea There came in the twilight a message for me; Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven, Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven. And on through the hours the quiet words ring, Like a low inspiration: DO THE NEXT THING.
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. DO THE NEXT THING.
Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command,
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing!
Then, as He beckons thee, DO THE NEXT THING.
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 )
More Comfort from Scriptures:
"Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy word hath quickened me." (Psalm 119:49)
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." (Psalm 42:11)
"...I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us..." (2 Corinthians 7:4-6)
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)
[NOTE: For more encouragement along these lines, see these past articles of the week: "Overcoming Anxiety" , "In His Presence" , "Homeschooling in Times of Trials" and "Feeling Frazzled".
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."