Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
A number of years ago, in a time of personal struggle, a very fine and mature Christian brother drew alongside me and ministered grace. He was full of compassion and love as he led me through a maze of problems. I became very close to him because of his ministry to me.
This same person also drew alongside Susan within hours of her late husband’s death. Once again he was a “father in Israel” to her. His warm and loving manner did much to comfort and strengthen Susan in her very lonely times.
A verse of a poem he left with her was carried by Susan everywhere she went for months after the death. Each time she became upset and fearful, she would pull the piece of paper out of her pocket and read it. After a short while she would only touch the paper in her pocket and the words of the verse would come to mind. The words he gave her were as follows:
I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see-
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand,
And follow Thee.
Then this same person became terminally ill with cancer. Susan and I visited him and his wife and received much more comfort from them that we were able to minister.
The very organized and thoughtful way he set his affairs in order is an example to us all. He assembled all his wishes regarding every detail that needed a decision in the days and weeks before and after his passing in an “ultra” organized file.
In this way he ensured that his family would be able to follow his wishes, and his wife would be able to grieve, without the pressure of the many decisions that have to be made when someone dies. His concern for his family will comfort them for many years to come.
It was my privilege to assist at the memorial service and help the family in that way. It was a very hot summer day, and at the graveside there was a lovely tall and shady tree for the many people to gather under as we committed his remains to the ground.
We were very grateful for the tree that protected us from the blazing hot sun. It seemed as though the deceased thought of that detail too as he selected the resting-place. As we sang two choruses of his choosing – “I love you Lord” & “He is Lord” – a gentle breeze began to blow and it was as if all the angels of heaven were singing with us.
It’s hard to look on difficulty as a blessing when you’re in the midst of it, but in God’s sovereign providence we have been able to comfort others with the comfort God has given us.
2 Cor 1:3-4 –
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 in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.