Encouragement in Time of Trouble
By Virginia Brandt Berg
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My precious husband passed away. He went to be with his Lord, and it was such a glorious passing. He had had such a wonderful life. He had served the Lord so faithfully, and he loved the Lord so much. As I stood by his bedside at the end I said, “Well, darling, you’ve lingered so long here in the vestibule, it must be that they’re getting a great reception ready for you over there! I wish that I could be there to welcome you when you enter into the Lord’s presence.”
I want to tell you that never have I been so glad that I am a Christian! Oh, the privileges of being a Christian! The comfort, the blessing, the peace I felt in the hour of trial! I’ve been so glad for the hope of the Christian. So many of the sympathy cards that I received contained the verse “We sorrow not as those who have no hope.”1
In the hospital when I was tending to my husband, I saw people who had no hope, and I talked to some there who had no hope. There were loved ones who stood by the bedside of dying loved ones, and they had no hope. It’s an awful thing to die without hope.
But, oh, the wonders of being a Christian! With all the hope that we have, I couldn’t possibly sorrow like they sorrowed. I’m so glad that we live in this world of beauty and opportunity and all that there is here, but it is also a world of sin, suffering, trouble, and death. It just doesn’t seem to me there would be any purpose in life without Jesus Christ, without being a Christian.
Thank God today for the blessed Word of God that is such a strength in the time of trial. So many precious scriptures have comforted my heart and lifted my spirit; they seemed to have been written just for me.
I thank God for His wonderful plan of redemption, and that through it I can know I’m going to meet my loved one again in heaven. This plan was already worked out in God’s mind from the foundation of the world. Now, though we sin, we can be justified, and though we die, we shall live again.
Thank God for the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, that cleanses us from all sin, if we just believe and repent. I thank God for this wonderful message of the gospel, the good news that proclaims to us that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He rose from the dead for our justification. I wonder if you have experienced that? I wonder if you have taken Him at His Word and have this blessed hope?
Do you live in God’s Word, and has it become a lamp to your feet also? It will help you in your time of trial, your time of testing. Because that time is coming, my friend. If you haven’t passed through deep waters yet, they will come. And death comes to all. God’s Word makes that very, very plain. “It’s appointed to man once to die.”2 Thank God for His precious Word, a light to our pathway. When we tread a perilous journey and come to the waters of death, we do not fear; we have Jesus Christ.
It seems like He gives a special dispensation of grace and glory and blessing just when we need it. We don’t have it beforehand, but when we come up against this darkest hour, there He is. He’ll meet us. When the time comes, there will be a special dispensation of grace and blessing and comfort.
I’d often sing to my husband. I’d stand by his bed and sing. I don’t have a beautiful voice, but the hymns are beautiful, and he loved this verse in the song “How Firm a Foundation.”
Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
And when through deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trials to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
—Attributed to John Keith, 1787
And how He upheld us! How His glory has been in our hearts, because we’ve seen God’s Word proven to be so true. We know that when we come to the deep waters, they will not overflow us.
I want you to know Jesus Christ, because He’ll be your only comfort in such a trial. You know, life doesn’t have purpose without Him, and life never comes to its fulfillment without Jesus Christ in your heart. He says that He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. How true that is.
It’s such an abundant life when you have Jesus. Why don’t you, right now, get ready for the thing that my husband has passed through? Then you can have peace, and you don’t have to fear death. God’s Word says that there are people that lived in bondage to the fear of death all their lives. But all that fear can be taken away.3
I found this little poem in my husband’s Bible, written by a missionary in China.
Afraid of what?
To feel the Spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid of that?
Afraid of what?
Afraid to see the Savior’s face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid of that?
Afraid of what?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart?
Darkness, light, oh heaven’s art.
A wound of His, a counterpart.
Afraid of that?
Afraid to enter into heaven’s rest?
To serve the Master, blessed
From service good to service the best?
—Adapted from a poem by E. H. Hamilton, after hearing of the death of a missionary colleague killed in China in 1931
No, my husband was not afraid, and you won’t be afraid either, because you’ll know that He’ll be with you. Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He says, “I will be with thee.” He’ll be with you to comfort you; His rod and staff will comfort you.4
Won’t you take Jesus Christ as your Savior right now? Something can happen at any time. You wouldn’t be ready unless you have received Him as your Savior. There’s no other name given under heaven among men whereby you can be saved.5
I just want to close this little meditation with you by saying that never has God’s love proved so great for me, never His mercy so sure, and His grace so abundant as during this time of grief. I’m praising Him with all my heart for the fulfillment of His Word and for His faithfulness.
God bless you. He’s still on the throne and prayer does truly change things.
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted. Published on Anchor April 2021. Read by Carol Andrews.