March 4, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Prepared - Part Two
Van Walton, Spanish Ministries Coordinator, Speaker Team Member
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NLT)
No one wants to face the reality that, in this life, we will have sorrow. Some suffer more than others. Most will, at one time or another, be tested.
Aaron had been in the IMCU for one week when we faced his third, life-threatening crisis. He would be hospitalized for five weeks. Even then, when we flew home, Aaron would be re-admitted four more times. Ultimately, surgery was scheduled at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
I had no idea when I stepped into Aaron's hospital room that God was ringing the school bell. Being a teacher, I am used to a controlled setting in which to learn. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that an education could take place in a setting where everything seemed so out of control - especially my control.
I learned that there is a reason for God's Word. In the Bible, we can find lessons for life.
Lesson # 1 Know God. It gave me peace to remember the stories of God's people. I knew I could trust Him in the dark and lonely times, so I went to Him with the same words spoken by kings, prophets, and priests of old. As I poured over God's truths in the Bible, I read that He always has a purpose. It gave me great comfort to picture our sufferings first flowing through God's hands, as He allowed us to experience the hardship.
Lesson # 2 Teach your children about God. Introduce them to Jesus. I believe our story might have been a much more desperate one, had Aaron not grown up knowing that one day, in God's time, he would be called to heaven. As a result of his peace with death, we had sweet time together, day and night, even though his suffering was often unbearable. He knew the power of prayer and welcomed the elders when they arrived to anoint him and pray for him.
Lesson #3 Be involved in a church. The church is God's plan for His people. It is Christ's body on earth. People care for one another. Even though I was far from home, I knew I was not alone. Letters and cards arrived daily from people in my church. It was comforting to read kind thoughts. Others cared. Word spread. Our family's name was placed in many prayer rooms. Strangers contacted us, assuring us we were remembered.
Lesson # 4 In the midst of pain and trials God's children can touch people. We might have lost control of life, but we hadn't lost control of our ability to esteem others. Aaron understood what it took to keep him comfortable. He learned the name of every person who entered his room. From the lady mopping the floor, to the pancreatic specialist, he treated everyone with dignity. He always said "thank you". Some days his words were hardly audible. He developed a reputation. Everyone knew he was different. Many learned that Aaron believed he "could do all things through Christ who strengthened" him.
Lesson # 5 An I-give-but-I-don't-ask-for-help attitude is not biblical. The ones whose help I cherished most were my son's friends. Girls arrived with the latest campus gossip and lots of laughter. They brought him videos and took me shopping. Buddies showed up, shivering and wet, having walked several blocks from campus in blizzard conditions. Often they just sat quietly by his bed. Please don't let me hear anyone say that today's youth are all self-focused. I know a group of kids who will make a difference in the future.
If you are like me, you pray to be delivered from the trials of life, thanking God that He has blessed you with good things. I don't ever want to face another emergency like Aaron's, but if I have to, I praise God, that in his sovereignty, my life lessons have prepared me for a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, with Jesus by my side. May He be walking with you today, preparing you for the riches that are in Christ Jesus.
My Prayer for today:
Father, sometimes it is hard to live here on earth. Life is hard. Please come beside me because I need You to comfort me and help me face each day's trials.
Study the names of God so you can become better acquainted with Him.
Read all of Psalm 3. Today's 'enemies' are fear, anxiety, lies, negative thoughts. As you read this Psalm, exchange the word, 'enemies', and other related words, for those issues in your life that frighten you.
Consider several ways you might ask for help when facing 'various trials'.
Read Psalm 131. Have you learned to trust in God the way a child trusts in a parent?
Do you look for opportunities to teach your children about God and His plan for them?
Have you considered volunteering in your Church's mercy ministry?
Are you aware that Satan would keep you from your Christian testimony by throwing stumbling blocks in your way? Find ways to touch others in the midst of your sorrow and suffering.
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God - the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT)
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the Power of Christ may dwell me. 2 Corinthians 12: 9 (NAS)
Help carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (GNB)
Anyone who is sick should call the church's elders. They should pray for and pour oil on the person in the name of the Lord. James 5:14 (NCV)
At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes
For Those Who Hurt tape set by Mary Southerland
The Art of Helping by Lauren Littauer Briggs