As we waited for the paramedics to arrive, my daughter clutched my shoulders as she struggled for breath. A very bad reaction to a migraine was having a spiraling effect on her.
The instructions from the call centre were to keep her calm. I wanted to cry as I looked at her white frightened, clammy face, but I knew I had to muster every bit of strength in me to calm my distressed child.
Once on the scene, the paramedics managed to stabilise her breathing with calming words and a close eye on the heart monitor.
Words of comfort have much power. Power to heal, power to calm, power to change physical reactions, power to get our minds into a place of peace again.
Recently we moved house. As the men transported trailer loads and the women packed our house down for the fifth time in just over four years, my mother and mother-in-law spoke words of comfort to me: “we will do whatever we can to help you,” and “we’re happy to help, we love you. That’s what family is for.”
Even though it was a job none of us wanted to do, these amazing women kept turning up with willing hearts, helping hands, a smile on their face and words of comfort.
A new year, a house move and beginning a new business all feels like entering unchartered territory.
Do you ever feel like God has taken you to the edge of what you think you can handle, and then beyond that? I can count on numerous occasions when that has happened.
At these times I have thought to myself, “God, this is just so hard! Can’t we have some rest now?”
And then, when I stopped to listen to him, the words of comfort came: “With my strength, you can do this. I’m holding your hand, I am with you wherever you go. You will not do this alone.”
Joshua had some crazy challenges. In the very first verses of Joshua chapter one, he was given a command, “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them,” (Joshua chapter 1 verse 2).
God then gave him a promise, “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses… No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life,” (Verses 3-5).
And then the words of comfort came, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them,” (verses 5-6).
And again, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (verses 9).
Joshua was then able to go and give words of direction, confidence and comfort to the people, and they listened. “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go…Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses… be strong and courageous,” (verses 16-18).
There was purpose in Joshua’s challenges, there was a plan bigger than himself, there was a hope and there was help. God’s firm direction and reassuring words gave Joshua the courage, belief and confidence to go out and face his giants.
Joshua knew that his God was bigger than the physical giants that resided in the land. With his mind set on God, he was able to do the seemingly impossible and just as God had promised, he gave them every place they set their feet and God was with them everywhere they went.
I love this story. Our God is so much greater than the trials that try to shake us at the knees. Joshua’s task was of exorbitant proportions, therefore I know that my insignificant worries in the greater scheme of things, are well taken care of by a father who loves me, who knows my innermost thoughts just as he knew Joshua’s. He speaks directly to them, just as he spoke directly to Joshua.
We just have to be quiet enough to hear it.
Originally published in Christian Today Australia 1/3/2013 entitled – Words of Comfort for when we’ve been taken out of our comfort zone
And again in the Inform’d Christian Newspaper – Issue 8, 2013 entitled – Words of Encouragement