Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. As always I don’t think anyone begins a letter better than the Apostle Paul does in so many of his Spirit-inspired epistles. So his greeting is my favorite with which to begin. Right away, as the Word pours out and over me, I feel better, reassured, and comforted. And I pray Scripture has the same effect on you.
Grace. Such a small Word filled with wonder. (Hums softly.)
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Peace. Such a small Word filled with love and promise.
Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart
neither let it be afraid.
That being written, I am reminded again of God’s grace and the peace he brings to us no matter the circumstance. This past month, the month of May marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of a friend. A cold she couldn’t shake became more serious as winter progressed and by February she was in ICU with pneumonia; ultimately she succumbed to an illness I had never heard of…until then, A.R.D.S.
I miss her. Her friends miss her. Her family misses her even more. She was lit up with the joy of the Lord and eager to be His servant. She taught me my first Scripture after my 40-year wilderness journey. It is still foremost in my mind and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t recall it, meditate on it and cling to it.
She reluctantly became a Sunday School teacher. (My first Sunday School teacher since I was a teenager.) She prayed about it and sought diligently after the Lord seeking His leadership in this decision. Then and only then, did she begin to teach a class.
I remember her gentle encouragement to come to church, to the church she attended and to be a part of the class. I remember the anxiety I felt driving to church and once I arrived how I could not find the building. I called her and she answered. I told her where I was and she promptly said, “Can you see me?” And I spun in a complete circle and then there she was a block away, waving her hands and a beaming smile on her face.
I remember how she spent the week, searching and praying for the lesson to be taught. I remember Ephesians. We went through that book verse by verse. It was some of the most difficult study I had had up to that point and I learned forever who I am in Christ.
I remember Jonah and the class laughing out loud to think that one could outrun God. And that in spite of Jonah’s rebellion, God was patient with him. And we marveled at God’s goodness and patience.
I discovered Elijah in Kings and how he heard the Lord’s still small voice; and Elisha who prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. That Scripture still resonates in me today, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
We studied Proverbs, which was a very ambitious undertaking and yet very fulfilling as so much wisdom lies in that book! I remember we talked about ants! “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”
And so much more!
In the short time of that class, so many of the Lord’s seeds were planted. So much of His love was planted. I remember how reluctant we all were to share and to comment, but she gently led us and encouraged us and loved us.
I know each of you have borne the sorrow and pain of the loss of a loved one so I know you hear my voice as I write this. And as I was remembering, another Scripture that is dear to my heart comes to mind and I am comforted.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Thank you for letting me share. And yet another song comes to mind!
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
Copyright 2015 Linda Bennett.
Photo: “Clouds” by anaophelia (2014) at FreeImages.com
Hymn lyrics by:
Julia H. Johnson (1849-1919), “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,” PD, via Hymnary.org
J. Wilbur Chapman (1910), “One Day!” PD