Abundant Grace in Time of Deepest Need

February 2, 2013

Abundant Grace In Time of Deepest Need

            Sooner or later all of us will have to pass through “the valley of the shadow of death.” If we are in a close relationship with God, he has promised to give us sufficient grace to meet our need.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Corinthians 9:8).

Pain comes in two ways.  There is physical and emotional pain.  Doctors treat physical pain in two ways.  They treat the ailment to relieve the pain.  They also have medications to relieve the pain until healing comes.  Relief from emotional pain comes, if possible, by correcting the malady that is causing the pain.  If that isn’t possible, relief comes by the comfort and consolation we receive from friends and relatives.  It also comes, to believers, by the grace of God.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to face the reality that our loved one is near the point of death. There comes a time when the doctor has to say, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing more we can do except relieve the pain as much as possible.” When that time comes we need to commit him or her into the hands of God.  We can do that by praying, “Dear God, I know that nothing is impossible with thee.  You can still heal, but may your will be done.”

If we refuse to accept reality, the frustration and hurt will be even greater.  Some believers feel guilty because they think that accepting the inevitable is a lack of faith.  They go to the last minute expecting a miracle from God.  At the hour of death they feel that either God failed to answer their prayer, or they didn’t have enough faith.

Doctors don’t always tell the patient that death awaits them.  Sometimes they tell close relatives the sad truth and expect them to tell their loved one.  Sometimes the patients loved ones don’t want to face him with the truth.  They tell him a lie instead of the truth.  On more than one occasion I have gone to the hospital to visit someone whom I knew was dying. I was met at the door by one of his relatives who said, “Please don’t tell him that he is dying.” I had to tell them “In that case I had best not go in, because if he asks me if he is dying, I would have to tell him the truth.”

I know it isn’t pleasant to be the bearer of bad news.  Once we had an old man in our church whose wife was dying.  His daughters didn’t want to tell him the truth, but they knew he should know it.  They ask me to tell him.  The old man was extremely hard of hearing. When I talked to him he was sitting in the sun beside their little pre-fab house.  I had to shout in his ear to make him hear.  I wondered if some of their neighbors may have received the news at the same time.

On two occasions, when I was a young pastor, it was my lot to give direction and spiritual consolation to women whose husbands died.  I felt extremely incompetent because I had never been in their situation, and couldn’t relate to their suffering.  God revealed to me that it wasn’t necessary for me to feel their pain.  It was just for me to share with them the love of God, as it’s revealed in the Bible, and help them rest in the abundant grace that God gives for such times of grief.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, said “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13).  Of course there will be sorrow, but, thanks to God, we have hope.  In Argentina, at a funeral, I have seen grown men throw themselves on the ground and have what appeared to be a child’s temper tantrum.  It was because, being without God, they had no hope.  Believers find consolation in God.  II Corinthians 1:3 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” In our time of great need we can also claim the promise of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

The loss of one’s mate leaves one with a great void in his or her life.  It is a trauma that leaves one in danger of falling into depression.  For that reason, it’s important that those who are close to the bereaved stay at their side as much as possible to give them consolation.  They can do things with and for the bereaved to show love and attention.  It’s not good for the bereaved to pass a lot of time alone.  One of the difficult tasks is that of sorting through the departed loved one’s personal things and deciding what to do with them.  There will also be legal matters to attend to, and bills to pay.

If you have lost a loved one, especially if it is your mate, you need the strength that others can give you.  Sometimes there is the temptation to be alone and feel sorry for yourself.  Don’t do that.  Stay faithful in a friendly church.  Perhaps you could ask your pastor if he could suggest something you could do to occupy your time.  Stay close to God and find in him your strength.  “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.   The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed” (Psalm 28:7-8).

The loss of a loved one may be the cause of the most intense pain you will experience in life.  It’s a pain that is healed over time and by the grace of God.  Many have passed through “the valley of the shadow of death” and have gone on to live a normal useful life.  They are a testimony to the victory that God can give by means of his grace.  Some of my readers look ahead to that time in their life.  If you are one of them, may God guide you to be prepared to have the proper reaction.  Others of my readers have already passed through that valley and are looking back.  If you are one of them, thank God for the blessing your loved one was to you and pray that God will give you grace, strength and wisdom to go on seeking and doing his will.


Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net




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