May 12, 2004
Encouragement for Today
God of All Comfort
Rachel Olsen, Proverbs 31 Speaker
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
A certain day in May, not long after Mother's Day, comes the anniversary of my mother's death. She died of cancer when I was still a teen. Though we had experienced our share of mother-daughter conflict, I suddenly felt without my anchor. As you would imagine, it was a very difficult thing to live through and it still bears impact on my life today.
About five years after her death, I found comfort and assurance in the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ. He wiped away my tears, filled my heart with hope and infused my life with glorious purpose. When I placed my life in His hands, I gained a companion that would stick closer to me than my own older brothers (Proverbs 18:24). God's word promises me He will never leave me. "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
Following my saving encounter with Jesus Christ, much of my mourning turned into dancing. However, a new concern arose in my heart. Once I realized that Jesus Christ is truth personified, and that He said no one can come to Father God in heaven except through Him, I wondered if my mother was in heaven (John 14:6). I had previously assumed that anyone who believed God existed and tried to be a good person, would automatically go to heaven. Now I realized that if my mom had not accepted Christ's shed blood as atonement for her sins, she may not be with him this day in paradise.
Did she? Did my mom know Jesus? She was the only member of my immediate family that showed any interest in going to church, if only occasionally. Her interest in the things of God definitely increased as she battled the cancer. But did she know the simple requirements for salvation to eternal life?
A few years ago, one of her old Bibles that I didn't know she owned came into my possession. In it I found a small sheet of paper with her unmistakable handwriting on it. This is what she had written down:
II Timothy 3:2-5
As I read through these verses, found in her Bible written by her very hand, I knew that yes, indeed, my mother was aware of Jesus, our mighty savior. She had heard the good news of the gospel and how to attain salvation through Him. While mere knowledge does not assure salvation was accepted, I have been greatly comforted by this little piece of paper. I believe that God, in His compassion for me, brought this paper into my possession to assure me of my mom's present whereabouts. As I write these words today, I realize that she likely prayed for my own salvation. In Isaiah 66:13, God says "as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you" (NIV). For the last 15 years He has been a mother to this motherless daughter. Friends, God cares about and intends to wipe away your every tear (Rev 21:4).
My prayer for today:
Dear Lord, thank you for caring when we are hurting. Thank you for being an unending source of comfort and strength. Thank you for sending Jesus to die of a broken heart that my own wounded heart can be healed. Amen.
Look up and read through the verses above my mother had written down. If you don't have a bible handy, use the search box at www.crosswalk.com. If you have not yet welcomed Jesus Christ as your savior, I hope you will do so today. If you have, lovingly share these verses with lost friends and family. None of us know how much time we really have left.
Are you in need of comfort? Have you turned to the author of comfort - Abba Father God?
Receiving comfort from God requires you to humble yourself before Him.
Is there someone God has laid on your heart to comfort, or to witness to? Have you obeyed?
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us is all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (NIV)
Psalm 147:3 The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (NIV)
Psalm 119:76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, O Lord, according to your promise. (NIV)
Psalm 34:19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delvers him from them all. (NIV)
Stress Busters tape set by Mary Southerland
P31 Woman Proverbs 31 Ministries' monthly magazine
Originally published Wednesday, 12 May 2004.