A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
Shortly after my husband Walt retired as pastor of Southside Baptist, he fell from the roof of our home. Distraught, I followed the ambulance to the hospital, not knowing how seriously he was injured. It turned out that he had a broken hip and pelvis, but his injuries were not life-threatening, thank God. I stayed with him in the hospital night and day for a week, until he was moved to a rehab facility. I stayed with him there night and day, too, until they told me very kindly but firmly that I needed to go home and let them take care of him!
Walt would have told you, if you’d have asked him, that our marriage of fifty years was strong and joyful. He’d have said we’d been incredibly blessed by God. We loved each other passionately and deeply. So when he’d recovered from the injury, I was stunned one day to hear him say, “Libby, it’s been such a lonely time.”
Such a lonely time? When I’d stayed by his side day and night through the long ordeal? Why was he still lonely?
Why? Because there are times in our lives when nothing, nobody, can comfort us except the Lord Jesus Himself. Walt endured terrible pain for weeks. No matter how much I loved him, I couldn’t assuage his pain. He was deeply worried about the future. Would he be permanently handicapped? Would he be able to provide for his family? Would he be a constant burden to others? Was his ministry ended? Those were harrowing questions no one but the Lord could answer. So Walt felt deep loneliness in that time of suffering.
Thank God, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows how helpless and alone we feel when faced with the terrible unknown. He loves us so much He assures us that, even when we feel alone, we are not alone. He promised, in Hebrews 13:5,6:
God has said,
“I will never leave you;
I will never forsake you.”
So we can be sure when we say,
“I will not be afraid,
because the Lord is my helper.”
The God of Heaven and earth, our Heavenly Father who has never ever broken a promise, who loves us with love unmeasurable, promises His children He will never ever leave us; He will never ever forget us. In times of trouble we make feel forsaken, like Walt did that long-ago day. But God was there with him, watching over him, feeling with him his pain and fear, whether Walt understood it or not. He was safe in the Father’s love. (And now he no longer walks by faith, because his faith has become sight. He revels in the glory of the presence of the Lord Jesus.)
I remind you of this today because we live in such perilous times. The future looks bleak; the world situation threatening. Whatever your circumstance today, remember that you are precious to God. When you trusted Christ as your Savior, your name was engraved on His heart. No matter what your situation, He will take care of you and those you love.