Encouragement Through Suffering

There was an accident two years ago on Highway 66. Two young women hit by a truck swerving into their lane. The two died instantly, the truck driver lived, but has never apologized to the grieving families. I pray for him that God would give him grace, and touch his heart that he would come to know Jesus and find peace.

I met the mother of one of these young women just the other day. She is a vibrant Christian. Her daughter was her only child…

With tears in her eyes she told me her story, and she told me of Christ’s Victory and even through her grief, she accepts what happened. She knows that for whatever reason it was God’s perfect timing in taking her daughter home. Her daughter had an intimate relationship with Jesus.

I sit and ponder her life. I have not lost my prodigal to physical death, but to spiritual death, and he is not my only child. It has been very difficult and heart-rending for us as parents to lose our children to the “world”, but there is still hope. We will hope unto the end and most importantly trust our heavenly Father that He is answering our prayers.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

George Matheson (1842-1906), a blind minister exhorted Christians to enter a rest from one’s personal suffering and grief in order to hear God speak…

”God spoke when there was no inward storm. He could not speak when the mind was fretted; His voice demands the silence of the soul.”

I love the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” written by George Matheson. I think of how many times my prodigal has said to me that he senses the Father’s force and still yet, he is resisting. But the Almighty will not quit, He is persevering and longsuffering. Here is the story behind this beautiful hymn.

“My hymn was composed in the manse of Innelan [Argyleshire, Scotland] on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high.”

O, Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

How inspiring is that! Here is more encouragement from Dr. Matheson written so long ago, but inspires us still…

“My soul, hast thou pondered these words, “Be still and know”? In the hour of perturbation, thou canst not hear the answer to thy prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come long after! The heart got no response in the moment of its crying – in its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But when the crying ceased, when the stillness fell, when thy hand desisted from knocking on the iron gate, when the interest of other lives broke the tragedy of thine own, then appeared the long-delayed reply. Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart’s desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care. Hide thy tempest of individual trouble behind the altar of common tribulation and, that same night, the Lord shall appear to thee. The rainbow shall span the place of the subsiding flood, and in thy stillness thou shalt hear the everlasting music.”

…This amazing woman, whose only child has been taken from her, is pouring her life into helping others. And through her quietness with her Savior and the acceptance of His love for her in exceedingly painful circumstances has allowed Him to touch other lives through her suffering. This is such an encouragement to me and I pray it will be to you as well.

Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

photos by Jeremy

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7 thoughts on “Encouragement Through Suffering

  1. Pingback: Encouragement Through Suffering | Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals

  2. Pingback: 31 Days ~ How Long? | Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals

  3. Thank you for this beautiful and encouraging article! I see that it has been 6 years now since you wrote this. What is the latest on your prodigal? Blessings to you, sister!

      • Hello Karin,

        Can I email you at this address?

        ~ shelley merritt.

        On Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 11:48 AM, Helping Hurting Parents of Prodigals wrote:

        > shadowlilies commented: “Thank you, Shelley. It has been 5 years since “my > prodigal returned”, and I am so thankful for that. It was a difficult > journey. Did you read this post because you have a prodigal?” >

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