“What is your only comfort in life and death?” This is the first question posed in the Heidelberg Catechism written more than 450 years ago.
Although I didn’t grow up in this religious tradition, today I find this statement of faith profoundly meaningful. The question is intensely personal. It doesn’t ask what “our” or “their” comfort in life and death is but what is “your” comfort?
Author M. Craig Barnes explains the meaning of this statement in Body & Soul: Reclaiming The Heidelberg Catechism, where I discovered that the word comfort implies strengthening. It is the type of strength that can get us back on our feet from devastating losses, personal tragedy, financial bankruptcy or emotional emptiness.
Many years ago I moved my family across the country from Boston to California in response to an invitation to do ministry work in Orange County. Although we had a buyer for our Boston home, we left before the deal closed and were maintaining two homes.
As we know, the real estate market has a mind of its own. One day I got the call that the value of the house was below asking price, and we were going to take a serious loss.
When I got the news I was devastated. We were in no position to handle this financial blow. It was a long and restless day until I found this comforting quote in one of Robert H. Schuller’s books, “It is not what we lose but what we have left.”
The message gave me strength. I felt as if the Lord was holding me tight and reassuring me that He would help me move forward. Indeed many good things have come my way since that day. In my distress He comforted me.
“What is your only comfort in life and death?” How do we get back on our feet when a crisis hits…when a child grows up to be different than we planned, we lose a loved one, we face life-changing illness or our job suddenly ends and our dreams fall apart?
The unexpected answer is: “That I am not my own, but belong–body and soul, in life and death–to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.” The is not a quick self-fix but the discovery that whether in life or death we belong to the Lord…we are His and He will take care of us.
How do you endure the unforgiving realities of life? I look forward to reading your comments.
Prayer: Lord, help us to surrender all of ourselves to your caring presence, that we would find your comfort and strength to see us through life’s unexpected challenges.
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Prayer – Life After Death – written on the passing of my dear Pastor Sammy.
Jehovah Shalom, we bow before your Throne of grace and mercy, requesting your Holy presence. Father, comfort us in this difficult time, please draw near. Hold us closely to your heart, as we weep in the passing of our loved one. Jehovah Rapha, heal our broken hearts, as we cry out in desperation.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…
Adonai, we may not be able to comprehend why this is happening but we trust Your divine intervention, for You alone know the thoughts and the plans you think towards us. Father, we accept that he has been accepted into Your Kingdom and now he is truly in a better place.
Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Jehovah Sabaoth, we will not mourn any further, for we choose to celebrate the life and legacy of our dear Pastor. We thank You for using him in a special way to touch the lives of many. We chose to utilize the teachings he has left behind, not only in our own lives but in the lives of others. We choose to emerge out of the shadows and be the light in this dark world, and, as we go out equipped for battle, we will remember our beloved Pastor, every step of the way.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
In Jesus’ Mighty name we pray, Amen!
I’m a young Christian, from South Trinidad, seeking the wisdom of the Word and God’s blessings on my life. A journey, that’s just begun, but living to the Glory of God.
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The one thing we are certain about in this life is that it will end, yet even when it happens, we are never prepared. Often times we are not emotionally equipped to deal with such a loss. We either fall apart or head straight for denial. But, in reality, falling apart or going through denial is all part of the normal process of grieving. It’s important that we understand how to best deal with a loss in order to provide comfort to someone who is grieving. So the question is how do we deal with or what do we say to a close friend or family member who has just experienced a loss? Many of us have no idea what to say or how to handle the situation. It is difficult to know what words to say to someone who is grieving. But there are some simple and effective ways to help someone who is dealing with a loss and grieving. Here are five words of comfort after death.