Though we serve a God of grace and mercy who comforts us when we need to be comforted, how can we expect to feel a holy peace and a contended surrender if we are not seeking Him, reading His promises in Scripture, or begging Him for wisdom and the ability to view our trials without anxiety or fear?
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. ... do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4
Sometimes I can be very bold in speaking truth, and other times I am afraid to hit the "send" button or observe the response on the face of the listener. This was one of those times. Though I know her very well and am confident in her desire to praise God in the delightful and the difficult, I was not sure how my words would be received. I had been praying for her all morning after reading a long e-mail that revealed the deep struggles of her heart and asked the Lord to give me the exact words she needed to hear to feel encouraged and refreshed. My hesitancy to send my response was squashed when I recalled that truth. The Lord was choosing my words, so my only job was to be obedient to speak them.
You can imagine my joyful relief when she sent this response:
I read your email, I just haven't had a chance to respond. THANK YOU! It was very encouraging and brought me right back where I need to be! I needed someone to tell me I HAVE to be in the Word every day and I loved reading what you said about ignoring God and His word and then expecting Him to bring me comfort. Thank you - I needed that!
When I read her words I thought about how the apostle Paul felt when he heard good reports about believers who were steadfast and faithful in the midst of suffering. He rejoiced! And then he praised them and encouraged them to continue in that vain.
Suffering creates extreme highs and lows the believer must wade through day by day, sometimes hour by hour. Encouragement is a necessity. It is a life ring. Sometimes the Lord will use the words and kindness of others to provide the encouragement, blessing both the giver and the recipient. But even if the whole world fell silent, there is One who offers unending, never-failing, always-available, wholly-sufficient grace - mercy - compassion - wisdom - strength - encouragement - and comfort.
And everything He offers ... every promise He makes ... every evidence of His love ... every reminder that He is sovereign and has a perfect plan for His children ... can be found in the pages of Scripture.
My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to Your word!
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to Your word!
Remember Your word to your servant,
in which You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that Your promise gives me life.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
give me understanding according to Your word!
Let my plea come before You;
deliver me according to Your word.
In our hardest moments,
In our darkest hours,
When we feel overwhelmed,
When nothing makes sense,
When our strength is gone and our flesh is weak,
When we feel like we cannot even pray ...
He says, "Come! Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST."
As helpful and gentle and loving as people show themselves when we feel the walls closing in around us, their comfort cannot begin to compare to the tenderness of our Lord.
He offers us everything.
And He is all we need.