Here’s something else I saved. It’s from a little book I found a long time ago at a church where I worked. I remember that I opened to a random page in the book, to a passage entitled “SUPPORT IS GREATER THAN RELIEF.” I happened to be going through a trial at the time and the words “support is greater than relief” encouraged me. They still do. I should have made a note of the title of the book and author also, but I didn’t. Apparently this section is a letter of encouragement written by a believer to two of his brethren who were going through a great trial …
“I cannot tell you how it weighs on me the Mount Moriah the Lord is leading you both to. I have sought Him for you, and I was assured from the first that He would interfere for you. The faith of yesterday will not do for the trials of today. I am comforted by hearing that you have been exercised before Him seeking His will. When I remember that He cares for you infinitely more than I do, though it is He who has taught me to care for you, I am confounded, and it is an immense comfort to me that you both are sensibly and consciously supported by Him. I believe that His object in this discipline is to lead you more into the knowledge of His support. I think that to young Christians He vouchsafes relief, the pressure is removed, as the storm was stilled for the disciples in Matthew 8; but when Peter would join Him, as we see in chapter 14, no circumstance is changed; Peter is made superior to everything; the Lord’s support could alone enable him to leave the ship (which suited him naturally) and undertake to walk on the water, which humanly speaking would have been instant death to him. There is a depth of love which we cannot easily take in in the Lord’s desire that we should know His support. Blessed be His name! He likes to be indispensable to us. This is the first part of His priestly service; you cannot understand Christ as Priest until after you have known Him as your Saviour. It is a marvelous time (though it is little I know of it) when one has nothing to cling to, no support but His mighty hand reaching down from “higher than the heavens.” I can compare it to nothing except the support which the martyrs found when they went to the stake. Who can tell their great gain from the realization of His own support – a sense of His favor and interest in one never to be forgotten. I feel that it is as I see this that I am consoled about you both – the great, the unspeakable gain which will accrue to you when you reach “Jehovah Jireh.”
There is a great difference between Abraham going up Mount Moriah and Stephen transported in spirit from earth to heaven where Christ is. We have to learn both. In the one, it is counting on God who raiseth the dead, no hope but in God. In the other, it is leaving everything here to join the Lord, as Peter did when he left the ship. You have seen “the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.” I expect much from you.
Here’s another little article I recently found in Bits of Sonshine, a nursing home ministry newsletter that I saved. It was written by a pastor. Although a heart wrenching story, we can rejoice that the man referred to went to be with the Lord …
“Last Sunday I Cried
by Pastor Paul F. Johnson
Last Sunday I cried. The first time in a long time. Perhaps it was because hardly anyone stayed for the memorial service I was to conduct after the morning church service. After all, the man wasn’t famous, and he had spent his last 5 years in a Nursing Home – blind, bedfast, and helpless from a stroke.
Nobody visited him except me – his pastor – and his sister-in-law. She used to bring him ice cream and compassionately feed it to him. His wife was dead, and his stepdaughter had died screaming in a fiery automobile crash as onlookers stood by helpless.
Once he was a successful land developer and salesman and world traveler, but the last years of his life he lay helpless and blind and poor. And a poor man soon runs out of friends, especially when he can’t do any favors.
Maybe I cried because I wanted an audience for his story. I wanted to tell them how his faith never wavered, how his mind was keen, and how hard it was to stand by his bed with no answers. How we prayed together, and his response was always positive.
We often equate faith with great deeds and incredible results in the face of overwhelming odds. But I’ll take the faith that is tested day after day after day with nothing to show for it but a firm belief in the ultimate goodness of God.
I’m glad I cried because I haven’t cried for a long time. The heart is like the earth. It needs loosening up periodically because it can get so calloused and insensitive. Crying breaks up the hardness and selfishness and makes it possible for love to trickle down into one’s innermost being – like a good rain makes the earth fertile after a long drought.
Perhaps in that moment I was subconsciously crying for the homeless and abused and unfairly treated and those who die without hope and without a Savior and without any future.
I was embarrassed to cry in front of the half-dozen people at the funeral. I shouldn’t have been, for long ago a man cried when He thought of me. And because He did, someday we’ll all laugh together, me, my friend who was forgotten and my other Friend who died alone.
It was the end of 1997 and we had just sold our home. Our plan was to move in March of the following year, but unforseen circumstances made it necessary for us to move sooner than planned. Our new residence wouldn’t be ready for another three months so we needed a place to stay temporarily. My parents had a vacant apartment on the second floor of their two family home, so I asked my mother if we could stay there. She said no. Suffice to say that our relationship was not the best, never was, and that it wasn’t her fault.
I prayed and asked the Lord to “give me my mother back.” It was my way of asking the Lord to restore our relationship. I went on a fast and after three days I hesitantly called my mother again and asked her the same question. She not only said yes, but told me I could also store my belongings in her attic. It was from that point on that our relationship slowly began to mend, by the grace, mercy, and Spirit of God. 🙌 ❤️
A couple of years ago I attended a funeral service. The preacher told the people that whatever their relationship was with the deceased person, that’s what it would be forever. Whatever was said was said, and whatever was unsaid would forever remain unsaid. He poignantly went on to say “what is written, is written.” Truly memorable words.
On March 12, 2007 my mother went to be with the Lord. The day before she died I stood by her bedside, hoping she could hear me, and said goodbye. I told her that she was the best mother in the world and that one day we would see each other again. I thought it might be the last time I would see her alive, and it was. What is written is written, what was said was said, and by God’s grace I have no regrets.
I was cleaning this afternoon, discarding some of the material I had accumulated over the years, when I came across some interesting articles that I had saved from the Bits of Sonshine newsletter. I started to read them and was blessed. This one, by Gospel Tract Harvester, really touched my heart…
HOW TO CARE FOR OTHERS
by Gospel Tract Harvester
The measure of one’s soul is the things that make us weep. Esau wept for the loss of his heritage. Delilah wept to make Samson tell her his secret. Hezekiah wept because he was about to die. David wept for Absalom. The scarlet woman wept at the feet of Jesus for her sins, and Peter wept because he had denied his Lord. Jesus wept over a lost and doomed city. Tears may be the most selfish or the most saintly things in the world.
Little Janie came into her house and told her mother that her friend Susie had dropped her doll and that it had broken. “Did you help her fix it?” Janie’s mother asked. “No, we couldn’t fix it.” replied Janie. “But I helped her cry.”
Although we are not able to fix up the brokenness in the lives of the people we know, we should be able to help them cry. If we do not enter into their suffering, if we do not really feel their troubles, we will not be able to help them. But if we see it as though it might have happened to us, if we wade into their tears until we are heart deep in them, we will likely find ourselves helping people in their times of deep down trouble. And when we are able to help bear their problems, the likelihood is that we will be able to help them come to know the Heavenly Father.
In a house of ill fame lay a poor, diseased woman. Different Christian workers visited her and spoke to her of her soul’s need, but to no avail. Finally a woman who was especially interested and burdened went to see her. As she stood by the bedside of the poor creature and told of the way of life, tears streamed down her cheeks and one fell upon the cheek of the poor woman. Somehow, that day her heart was broken up and she was gloriously saved. Later someone asked her what it was that touched her heart. She replied, “The tear did it.”
We do not know the load our neighbor may be carrying. We see a heroic soul wearing a smile but we do not know the crown of thorns he may be wearing on his heart or the burdens he has to bear.
Lord save us from coldness and professionalism and give us broken hearts of love for a lost world. It is true that tears are not always the test, but many a sincere tear has touched a soul for Christ.
Isaiah 25:8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.