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In Sorrow and Affliction
pamela spurling

What I'd like to share with you is a brief message about accepting God's plans and being grateful in adversity, affliction or grief. Now, compared to what other sisters have been called to carry, my personal experiences have been a cake-walk. But you know, one thing I'm more and more convinced of is the calling the LORD has on my life to minister to women and many, many times that's included walking with ones experiencing pain and grief. Maybe you've felt the LORD calling you to such a walk. We are all to bear one another's burdens. Whatever the case, no doubt, you'll face situations where sisters will need you and your prayers and may look to you for answers only the LORD can give. Or, no doubt, you'll face or are facing already: sorrow and affliction.

The LORD is a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, the Word says. And because we base all of our beliefs, decisions and understanding on the Word of God, and because God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23.19), we can trust that everything it says is utterly and completely true. The LORD tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us.

On Friday, my husband and I took a path in our journey unlike any we've encountered recently. That day, and the days following, two friends faced insurmountable circumstances. Yesterday afternoon we stood beside the beds of these two completely unrelated friends of ours in two different Neuro ICU rooms whose lives had been dramatically altered by circumstances which were beyond their control and beyond their imagining. We had the privilege of praying for both of them. Two scenarios, both loved by family and friends, both gloriously saved. One on life support following a massive brain hemorrhage who has now gone to be with the LORD and the other facing brain surgery and the reality of a medical condition that will forever alter her daily existence and surely affect her future health.

So, was God surprised? Did either of these instances and their unique complications escape His grasp or His gaze? Do our difficulties, which indeed pale in comparison to others' hardships, elude the LORD? These things in seeming darkness, are they hidden from His sight? By no means.

How do we go on? How do we handle these heavy things, these sorrows gripping our emotions, wrenching our hearts?

I remember a number of years ago when I walked into the emergency room to see my husband, not knowing quite what had happened, my first words to him were: all God's ways are good. That peace which passeth understanding that I had read in the Word was a reality that had become *my* peace. In other situations of deep grief, that same peace---that peace of God---was there. Because, you see, He has borne our grief's and our sorrows; we read in James 5.11 that the LORD is of tender mercy. Further we read that when afflicted we are to pray. What a privilege, O, what a blessing: prayer.

These griefs, these trials, these sorrows try our faith. These things threaten us and shake our foundation. 1Peter 1.7-8 says: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory..."

The trial of our faith is more precious than gold. Are you walking through a time that is a testing of your faith? Is there a burden too heavy to bear? The answer for the man who has now seen the Face of the Saviour, for the friend who faces difficult tomorrows, for you... for me... the answer is just Jesus. You see, He's all you've got... and all you need.

I pray you'll rest in hope today if your burden is heavy. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. As you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you, too, can fear no evil, for the LORD is and will be with you. His rod and His staff will comfort you. If you are facing trials... in the presence of your enemies, you can rest at the table the LORD has prepared for you... and because you can trust the Him for what He's prepared for you, you can trust that goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and that you will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

We can accept God's plans and be grateful in adversity, affliction or grief. I pray you'll rejoice in your Saviour as you trust Him for His ways.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am

helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him. ---Psalm 28.7

many blessings,

       `·.¸.·´pamela spurling
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