Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage…In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.”
Psalm 94: 14, 19
“Some of you are perplexed with a multitude of anxieties about your life. You do not know what to do…you have tried various ways and methods to escape your present difficulty. But you have been disappointed and are distracted. Your thoughts have no order; they drag you in opposite directions. The currents meet and twist as if you were in a whirlpool.
My perplexed friend, remember the children of Israel at the Red Sea. The sea before them, rocks were on either side, and the cruel Egyptians roared in the rear. Imitate Israel’s actions. ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today’ (Exodus 14: 13). You reply, ‘I cannot be quiet. I am agitated, perturbed, perplexed, tossed and distracted. What shall I do?’…Remember, your way is ordered by a higher power than your will and choice. The eternal God has fixed your every step… He who loved us from before the foundations of the world has immutably determined every step of our pilgrimage. It is a blessed thing, after you have been muddling and meddling with your anxieties, to throw your burdens on the Lord and leave them there.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction; that Your word has revived me and given me life.”
Psalm 119: 50
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 5
“A Word of Consolation and Comfort”
“I have worked over the Bible, prayed over the Bible for more than sixty years, and I tell you there is no book like the Bible. It is a miracle literature, a perennial spring of wisdom, a wonderful book of surprises, a revelation of mystery, an infallible guide of conduct, an unspeakable source of comfort.”
What passages of Scripture have consoled and comforted me in times of heartache?
“In the times of my life when the future appeared darkest and my broken heart yearned for comfort, it has been God’s Word where I turned for a healing balm. No other book down through time has the ability to bring peace in time of conflict; consolation in time of grief; and hope for our future.”
“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by our steadfast and patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.”
Romans 15: 4
It was the saddest night of my entire life. At 10:P.M. the phone rang. My mother’s voice cracked as she spoke the words, “Dorothy, Daddy is dead.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My legs buckled and I slid to the floor, dropping the phone.
The grief that overtook my emotions and my physical well-being was something I’d never experienced before. It was as if sorrow had attacked every fiber of my being for within a week, my temperature was 103° and I had pneumonia. As the doctor told me – “the shock has hit your body in a dramatic manner.”
Night after night, when sleep didn’t come, after hours of tossing and turning, I’d stumble out of bed trying to think of any way to fall asleep. Finally, almost as a last resort, I opened my Bible and began to read the Psalms, beginning with the “Shepherd’s Psalm” – Psalm 23. Repeatedly I found that the Bible would lift my heart during this time when human comfort was in short supply.
As David so touchingly penned, “Yes, though I walk through the deep, sunless valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod to protect and Your staff to guide, they comfort me” (Psalm 23: 4, Amplified Bible). Again in Psalm 119: 74, 76 we find more healing for our sorrow-filled hearts: “Those who reverently and worshipfully fear you will see Me and be glad, because I have hoped in Your Word and waited for it…Let, I pray You, Your merciful kindness and steadfast love be for my comfort, according to Your promise to (me).”
As I continued to read, not only passages in the Old Testament regarding the comfort God’s Word bestows upon His heartbroken children, my journey led me into the New Testament and the words penned by the Apostle Paul when writing to the Christians in Thessalonica. He encouraged them when he stated, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and well-founded hope through His grace. Comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them, make them steadfast in every good deed and word” (II Thessalonians 2: 16, 17).
As time passed and God’s Word began the healing process that soothed my broken heart, I found that the “everlasting consolation” Paul speaks about took the pain in my heart and replaced it with the hope promised in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18, “Now also we would not have you ignorant brethren about those who fall asleep in death, that you may not grieve for them as the rest do who have no hope beyond the grave. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep in death…For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summon, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain on the earth, shall simultaneously be caught up along with the resurrected dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always through the eternity of eternities we shall be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort and encourage one another with these words.” As I read Paul’s words again and again, not only did I find the comfort and consolation the Psalmist promised, but my trust in God’s Word became deeper and stronger.
And I ask you, what other book provides the comfort found in God’s Word? There’s not another! And why is this true? As one of my favorite authors, A. W. Tozer explains, “It is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself.” This is the reason our hearts are consoled by God’s Word when grief, and sorrow inflict pain upon us. It’s because if we go to God’s Word, we will witness His personal healing at work in us. Let us never forget, it is God Himself who promises that He will, in the greatest act of gracious Fatherly kindness, come to dwell with His children and as the Apostle John writes, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish, sorrow or mourning nor grief nor pain any more for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away” (Revelation 21: 4, Amplified Bible).
If today your heart is aching and sorrow infiltrates your daily life, there’s no place like God’s Word to find the healing you are longing for. As the Psalmist penned, “Remember Your word…for You have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promises preserves my life” (Psalm 119: 49,50, N.I.V.).
“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”
Poem by Katharina von Schlegel b. 1697
Translated by Jane R. Borthwick
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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