In A Book of Comfort in Sickness, P.B. Power, P.B. writes, “Cheer up; God has a place for you. God has something for you to do, and to be, in His Kingdom. You are no poor trodden-down creature; you have a place and a name before God.”
I struggled, and still sometimes do, with the feeling of worthlessness before our God. I know a sense of worthlessness can and should be felt before a holy God, but one which leads to rejoicing, not despair.
Often, I see my own inadequacies and the sin that stubbornly remains with its clinging grasp, and I despair. Do I have enough Scripture memorized? Have I lived a holy life so far? I ask these questions as I reflect on the God who saved me. But I find myself asking other questions, sinister questions that want to sever me from Christ at the root.
Am I healthy enough to serve God? Do I have enough money to help others? Will God accept me, even in the midst of my own weakness? Have I use before God?
I abhor the prosperity gospel, especially the word of faith offshoot, which states God will bless you with good health and prosperity, and that’s how you please God and are of use to His Kingdom. I abhor it, yet I feel the lustful call of that temptress, beckoning me to live this life of ease, to think if I live rightly, I won’t get sick, and I won’t get in debt; I’ll be free from sickness and pain if only I had enough faith.
Thankfully, and most graciously, He has and continues to show me through His amazing Grace, He uses those who know their desperate need for God. He has shown me my worth and value in the Kingdom of God comes not from how healthy and wealthy I become, rather, it comes from the imputed righteousness found in Christ alone.
He used the words of P.B. Power – a preacher who spent the last 36 years of his life housebound because of crippling illness – to remind me once again that not only do I have a place, but also a name, in His Kingdom, what a blessed assurance is God’s love for us in Christ! How blessed it is to know His love for us does not rest in what we do, but in what Christ has done, on His character, not ours, on His righteousness not our own, and on His steadfast love, not on our fleeting thoughts and emotions – this gives great comfort when feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy arise within.
One day He will call me home by my very name.
I came across the quote from this book while on lunch during my final day of drill with the Texas Air National Guard. I stopped at a coffee shop to read and came across this sentence contained within that beautiful paragraph. It brought me to tears as I remembered my true place and worth before God. Then it caused me to cry again as I considered how loving my now wife Jesse is and how she serves God so faithfully in the midst of her disease.
The first time you see Jesse, you notice two things right away: wow, she’s beautiful; and wow, she’s tiny. Jesse was diagnosed with fsh Muscular Dystrophy when she was in the eighth grade. The disease mainly affects her face, shoulder, and arm muscles. The disease stunted her growth and stability of her muscles, and because of that, she sleeps with a CPAP machine to help her breathe during the night.
While I was pining about my own insecurities, thinking they needed to be fixed before I could be of much use to God, Jesse faithfully served her former church, Heritage Grace Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and also donated her time and energy to the D.O.L.L.S. ministry in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area.
D.O.L.L.S. is a wonderful ministry that helps train up young middle and high school women to lead women’s Bible study groups and proclaim the name of Jesus on their respective campus. Jesse uses her skill as a graphic designer to make their greeting cards, pamphlets, and website look as beautiful as they do.
There I sat in that crowded Fort Worth coffee shop, tears in my eyes, as I read that beautiful paragraph – and sentence – again and again, and again from P.B. Power, reflecting on God’s faithfulness and sovereign love for His saints whom He calls by name.
I took a photo of that paragraph and sent it to her while I continued to read, underlining and highlighting many other paragraphs and sentences as I went. She replied. Jesse told me she does often feel insecurity about her disease; that she gets feelings of inadequacy even while she faithfully serves. She said thanks for sending that to her – it made her, also, cry tears of joy when she read those beloved words.
It was a reminder for her, too.
Though I do not suffer from the same affliction as my dear wife, Jesse, I do worship the same God, who comforts us both in our various afflictions.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Because of Christ, Jesse and I share not only in the sufferings of Christ on this earth, we also share in that same comfort that comes only from being found in Him. I don’t have to be suffering from the same affliction as Jesse to give her words of comfort, to be there by her side, to show her through words and deeds the love God has placed for her in my heart, and to remind her of Christ’s faithfulness when her MD becomes too much for her to bear at times.
Through Christ, God’s comfort to me in my affliction gives me charity and sympathy to help my fellow Christians when they face their afflictions.
Blessed be God for His comfort! Though the struggles and afflictions of this life are many and severe at times, we worship a God of comfort and mercy, who not only comforts us through His Word, but also sends us fellow believers who willingly step into the trench, slough of despondency, or any other physical, emotional, or spiritual affliction we may face; and though they may not have or ever will face that same affliction, God has given them, and us, to comfort any who are in need.
How can we not but rejoice, along with Paul, and joyfully exult, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort?”
So let these words of P.B. Power serve as a reminder for you as well, dear Christian, who struggle with depression, anxiety, sickness, disease, or any other infirmity of mind or body that causes you to doubt if God has a purpose and a plan for your life: “Cheer up; God has a place for you. God has something for you to do, and to be, in His Kingdom. You are no poor trodden-down creature; you have a place and a name before God.”