Tuesday, May 8, 2007

God of all Comfort

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people!” says your God. (Isaiah 40:1)

This past week has been a roller coaster of sad or upsetting news, of prayer requests and weeping with those who weep.
While none of my own family suffered directly, people close to me or people close to people close to me seemed to be under an onslaught of tragic events.
There was a mother badly beaten, a daughter falsely accused of a serious crime, a father suffering a serious heart attack while out jogging, a brother killed in a car accident, a mother-in-law with a baffling medical condition scheduled for serious open heart surgery, an uncle dying of cancer, a young women in hospital with difficult pregnancy – the list goes on.

The beautiful thing that happened in the midst of all this is that an army of prayer warriors fell to their knees to call out to the One who alone can help in the time of need. Hearts swelled with love and concern for those in pain. Prayer requests flung out into the bogging/e-mail world were caught by outstretch hands and lifted up to heaven’s Throne.

And God heard and answered.
In several situations tears of sorrow are turning into tears of joy!
Sorrow shared is sorrow divided and joy shared is joy multiplied!!
How wonderful it is to celebrate ‘good news’ with those we also wept with.
Priorities slip easily into their rightful places; the things of this world seem mundane in the light of our shared trials, grief and joy.

I read these beautiful words today….

“For the Lord will comfort Zion,
he will comfort all her waste places;
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
And her desert likes the garden of the Lord,
Joy and gladness will be found in it; Thanksgiving and the voice of melody!”
(Is. 51:3)

When yielding to the God of comfort in a terrifying situation and finding that refuge of peace close to His heart, there is nothing sweeter than the presence of God that covers His child.
I have experienced it and I have heard countless others who attest to the same.
We are not promised roses without thorns in this life…. In fact we are promised tribulation and trials. But we also have the promise that God will take us through!

Annie Sherwood Hawks was born in New York in 1835.
From an early age her gift of writing poetry was evident and though she wrote hundreds of poems, there is only one hymn for which she is still well known.
As a young wife and mother, one day as she was busy with household tasks, she was filled with a sense of the nearness of God and she wondered how anyone could ever live without Him… either in joy or in pain. Poetic expression filled her mind and she wrote the words to the old hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” which was set to music by Pastor Robert Lowry.
Annie was surprised by how deeply this hymn seemed to comfort so many people.
But sixteen years after she wrote the words, she found herself in the valley of sorrow following the death of her husband.
In her grief, she personally experienced the comforting power of the words she had been given that had comforted so many others and were now comforting her.

I need Thee ev’ry hour, most gracious Lord; no tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee ev’ry hour, stay Thou near by; temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee ev’ry hour, in joy or pain; come quickly and abide or life is vain.
I need Thee ev’ry hour, most Holy One; O make me thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.”

“I even I, am He who comforts you!” (Isaiah 51:12)


Demara said...

His is so good, so good to me...so good to us...and yes I love that he IS comforting us in these trials and tribulations indeed!

Cherie said...

Thank you for your encouraging story today Aunt Julie. I am happy to see that others who are experiencing pain are having their prayers answered. Thank you also for your continued prayers for my mother in law. Have a wonderful day!!!

Laura said...

This blog, as well as it's author, have truly been a comfort. I just thought you would like to send a prayer of praise up, joined with mine and the many others who are rejoicing with me. My name is cleared! I have been tested with fire, and found pure and innocent. Someone had indeed stolen my password, and action has been taken against them. Thank you again for your strenth and support in prayer. I appreciate you and everyone who came to my side during these last horrid days. Thank you again. I will continue to keep you as well as the others in my prayers as well.