My Comforter

“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” asks David in Psalm 22:1. We can fall into what seem to be terrible times of trial and feel like everything, even our own God, is against us. This feeling is what David expresses in his question. Trials can come in many ways and forms: perhaps we feel so fallen into a sin that even God can no longer save us, a loved one has been taken from us despite their youth and healthiness, or we ourselves suffer with some terrible illness. However, all of these things are only a minor comparison to what Christ, our caring Shepherd, has suffered. Christ suffered the full pouring out of God’s wrath for innumerable sins of an innumerable amount of His elect people. In His suffering, Christ became our Mediator who knows all our burdens and grants us full assurance of peace in salvation.

For us, Christ “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men,” (Phil. 2:7). As a man, we know that “Jesus wept” and felt the pain, weakness, and tiredness of our bodies (John 11:35, John 4:6, Matt. 8:24). He also knew what it felt like to be hated and unjustly tortured. Countless times the Pharisees questioned Jesus with wicked motives, men tried to push Him off of a cliff, He lost His friend Lazarus, and all His suffering climaxed when He bore the wrath of God on the cross. Now, the One who suffered all these unimaginable miseries has become our Mediator. Jesus, who suffered more than is imaginable–for this punishment came from the all powerful God– understands any pain that you or I may ever encounter. This merciful Saviour, our gracious Comforter, speaks to us and comforts us in the scriptures, through His voice in the preaching, and in speaking with us and answering our prayers.

In His word, Jesus assures us of our salvation, which brings us peace in any trial, saying “therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Every week Jesus spiritually renews us with the preaching so that it is fitting to compare the preaching to milk or meat as is done in I Corinthians 3:2. On the Sabbath, we are assured that we have no need of fear, but may live instead devoting all our heart and soul in joy and thankfulness praising the God of our salvation. Lastly, Jesus works peace within us by answering our prayers. He is our “Emmanuel… God with us” and He knows everything we need (Matt. 1:23).  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Pet. 3:12)

Through any affliction we may face, our Lord Jesus is our comfort. He has been touched with our infirmities and knows the feelings of temptation (Heb 4:15). There is no man who can comfort us like our gentle Shepherd. He fully understands and comprehends the burdens we may face and has a compassionate love towards us, His sheep. How blessed we are to have a full assurance and confidence in Him knowing He is our faithful Mediator who “change[s] not” (Mal. 3:6).

Luke Christian Potjer

 

What Does Salvation Mean to You?

As Christians, we spend a lot of our time talking about salvation, yet we sometimes we really  don’t know how to describe it in all its beauty to someone who might ask what it means. All throughout this earthly journey, we use that word ‘salvation’  as a summation of what God has given us. While salvation is the biggest gift and greatest gift our Almighty God has given us, it represents so much more than just that one word. So, I would describe it as follows.

What does salvation mean to me? It means that God is my God. It means that no matter how many times I commit treason against His kingly Name, He still offers me His mercy. It means that no matter how many times I hurt Him, He remains my best and strongest friend. He says that no matter how often I betray Him, I can still come running back to Him like the prodigal son, and He will welcome me because He is my Father and I am His child. Salvation shakes and comforts the sinner. I sin and sin, and yet Jesus says, “Drop the stone.” Salvation says, “Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do” as I scream out, “Crucify Him!” Salvation dwells in me after the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into my heart on Pentecost, and I have the witnessing of that same Spirit as I walk my earthly path. Salvation says, “Yes” to the questions of Baptism and Confession of Faith as the tears of comfort, joy, and perfect peace fill the eyes of my parents and grandparents. Salvation brings me to my knees and the Judge declares me innocent when I deserve to be beyond condemned. Salvation carries me through the streets of gold and gates of pearls as I hear the angels and saints greeting me home.

So what does salvation mean? What does it mean to you? The truth and significance of that word ‘salvation’ is far greater than its nine letters. Salvation represents my entire story. What is yours?

Ariel Bosman

Sufficient Grace

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Probably you have all had times in your life when you just don’t know what direction to take, or you just don’t feel God’s presence in your life, or maybe even you are so weak in your faith that you doubt God’s love and your salvation. I’m sure you have also had times while in these situations, that God has somehow gotten your attention and made you to see the reality of His presence and His perfect care for you! A lot of the time He grabs our attention by showing us parts of His word and applying the old but still very relevant truths to us and the situation we are in. This verse is an example of that in my life, and it is one of those verses that just grabs my attention. His grace is sufficient. No matter what we are facing, He always gives the grace to sustain His people through each situation. What is amazing about that grace is that He gives just enough of it and at the time we need it. You have seen people go through a hard time, face a death of a family member, or maybe they are diagnosed with a serious disease, and they seem to take it so well. You wonder what you would be like if God put you in the same situation, and it’s hard to imagine being able to get through a trial like that. But that is because we do not have God’s special grace at that moment that He gave to the one who needed it. We still have His grace! We never lose that, but there are times when “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He sended more strength as the labors increase…” (Hymn: He giveth more Grace). If we look back at the trials in our lives, sometimes we even ask ourselves how we got through them. And the answer is always, God’s grace was sufficient at that time. This is such a comfort! God will never leave us fighting alone, but He sends these trials our way to strengthen our faith and to make us to see that He is always in control.

The next part of the verse follows that thought. His strength is more clearly seen, made perfect, by our weakness. We are nothing next to God. Even a speck of dust or a drop of water is bigger in comparison to what we are next to God. His greatness is far far more than we can comprehend, and so is His strength. But the only way that we will really come to appreciate that strength is when we are weak. As sinful human beings, children of Adam and Eve, we like to do things our own way. We so easily become proud, self-centered, uncaring and ultimately just rotten, stinking sinners. That’s what we are by nature and that is the opposite of God. He is the High and Lofty One! The Stronghold and Protector of His people. When we are weak, He is strong, and there is no one else beside Him that can save us so unconditionally. But He works through the times when we are the weakest, to make us see how strong and mighty He is. All we can do then is thank and praise Him for His grace and all His love for us!

Lynette Kleyn