The written word is one thing, God’s Word is a whole other thing entirely.
The written word can be persuasive, whether it’s truth or a lie.The written word can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing as well. The written word can bring direction, entertainment, encouragement, and color to life here on earth, however, God’s Word IS Life. God’s Word IS Truth. There is a difference between just words, and God’s inspired Word, the Bible. God’s Word births life in a being that was…well, naturally alive, but not ‘living’.
How do I know? I give you two examples. The first, is when I had 5 small children, with the infant being ‘colic’ and crying endlessly leaving me with large amounts of ‘stress’ to say the least, I opened the Word of God and read: “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your Word has given me life.” (Ps. 119:50). After reading, “This is my comfort in my affliction,” I stopped and tried to guess what the rest of the thought might be, “What is the comfort in my affliction?” Well, to my surprise, God’s word did NOT say, “This is my comfort in my affliction, in that God takes it away.” And it doesn’t say, “This is the comfort in my affliction that God lets me see the answers.” No, it doesn’t say that either. (Present tense because the word speaks presently as well as past!)
The Word of God says,“This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” (Ps. 119:50).
It was then, that God began to ‘touch me’ as a Great Physician, probing and prodding in and through me, bringing ‘breath’ to my ‘out-of-breath’ life! You see, it’s ongoing. It’s not a one-time thing, it’s day by day, ‘this is the comfort in our affliction, God’s Word is life!’ God gives us His word, but He also gives us ‘witnesses’ in the course of our lives. ‘Witnesses’ to His power and glory and peace and love. I will share one such witness. I must share Robin with you:
Robin was a mother of 4, she loved the Lord, she honored her husband, she obeyed God’s call to home-educate her kids, and she was a mentor to me. I wasn’t one of her best friends, but Robin cared about people and she cared about me. Robin’s eyes were on the Lord and she was obedient to Him. Well, all did not go well with Robin. She got cancer, then it spread to her lungs, then she didn’t get better, she only got worse-she could barely breathe, she needed oxygen… HOW CAN THIS BE? What’s wrong with this picture? A young woman with children, living for the Lord, and God allows her to get cancer? Everyone had questions…everyone except Robin, that is.
Our church was studying the Book of Job when Robin got the news her cancer had spread. “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat!” These were the words of Job, (Job 23:3).”I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me.” (Job 23:4,5).
THIS is what Robin did! She searched and she found Him. She placed herself between her ‘Rock of Ages’ and He answered her. How do I know? She told me herself. One of my most precious moments ever was my last conversation with Robin. If I don’t write the story it will be forgotten, but I tell the story again and again:
In my deep heartbreak as her body was growing weaker and weaker, and her lungs were so sick with cancer that her every breath was a struggle, Robin had urgency to comfort ME, the words she spoke were to comfort ME. “Toni, I know what is going on. I understand the whole thing.”
She didn’t pull out some great understanding that she had thought up in her own head, NO- she opened her Bible and began reading ALOUD! My friend, and mentor, who could barely breathe, started using all of her energy, to read to me from God’s word! I came to visit, to be a blessing of some-sort, but, dear Robin, (who didn’t know on that day, she only had two weeks to live), read aloud to me from her Bible. The Words took all the mystery away for her! The Words were LIFE and she passionately shared them with me.
How can I ever forget that? I write about this, and remember this often, because, there was no mystery for Robin! God had revealed everything to her, and it meant everything to her that she share it with me. Breath for her was a very difficult thing, yet at this moment in time, she took her breath and spoke His Word of life. It was as if we both were enveloped for a small amount of time in the Kingdom of God and the power of the word went out through Robin as she read – it was indescribable!
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
I was witnessing LIFE from a woman that had unbelievable rough days, bad news, and trials extreme! Robin read the WHOLE of CHAPTER 4 in 2 Corinthians! Robin opened her Bible and read,(the whole chapter – word for word, however, I will write just enough to make you hungry to go and read the whole!) Robin’s life still bears fruit as I hear her voice lovingly read :“…as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1).
You might be thinking, God didn’t answer those prayers for healing, how can that be mercy?) Robin took a breath and spoke His word and told me, “I understand everything.” She understood His great mercy and love, and she had received it. So she did not lose heart, instead she turned around to give to me these words of ‘life’, so that I would not ‘lose heart’.
Robin kept reading:“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6).”
What a contrast, “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness”, in that Robin was so weak and so sick, yet, “who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. Robin was ‘giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God’ and she so clearly was looking ‘full in His glorious face’ as she read. How could I forget these words? They weren’t words at all, they were all that was going on in that very moment. This was ‘life’ happening in me, from a woman who was a ‘bondservant’ to Jesus sent to suffer ‘darkness’ so that God’s light could shine through her and give God glory!
Not just for that day, but even for now and all eternity! God spoke to Robin through His word and gave her understanding and had peace! I witnessed this and tell you today, many years later.
Robin is an inspiration to me even today. She encouraged me in the ‘light of the life’ in God’s word because she had understanding and ‘knowledge’ of the glory of God, and soon to see her Jesus face to face, she explained it all to me:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4 8-10).
God’s word brought life into her sick and tired spirit reminding her, yes, Jesus died, but He rose again, and she would too!
“…Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16,17).
You see, these Words are more than words. They are rich, and ‘past finding out’, they are life and light, they are treasure. We have trials today and worries, but the Bread of Life, the Word that is for ‘yesterday, today and forever’ reminds us that the things which we see with our eyes everyday, the rent, the clothes, the food, the jobs- we can see all that, it’s just temporary, but the things which are not seen, like God,and His angels, and many of the special family members or friends, who are no longer here on this earth, they are eternally living – living with Jesus in heaven.
So Robin sat with me on that day, to GIVE TO ME, not the other way around! She read from God’s Book, His Holy Word. Just as Job cried out in his groaning, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me…” Job 23:3). God answered Robin, and she shared the answer with me. What a beautiful gift she gave me, and it lasts forever!
Hugging her ‘baby’ the oxygen tank that sat by her feet feeding her ailing lungs the necessary breath, and with much labor and loving sacrifice, Robin read on through 2 Corinthians,Chapter 5: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
The words brought so much hope, and Robin kept on reading: “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:2,3,4).
Robin continued reading, (yes, word for word. These words were life! God had given her understanding): “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. ” (2 Cor. 4:5-8).
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God…”(2 Corinthians 5:9,10,11).
God’s light shone through darkness that day in incredible ways and His word, brings life! Robin was a testimony to the truth of God’s word! There are T-shirts that say ‘Life if good’, well, the life that we can see with our eyes is not always good, but the life that we can’t see that is hidden with Christ in God, THAT is good! God’s Word is our ‘comfort in our affliction’.
Thank you Robin. Forever you inspire me. And many others too. I hear your voice when I read those words, exhorting me to ‘live a life that is ‘pleasing to Him’.Thank you for sharing to me what God showed you.
God’s word is truth and life. I am forever thankful to God for Robin. God is faithful…“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
If she could know my heart, I would say, “Thanks Robin! Thanks for loving God with every breath you took on this thorny earth, and loving me, and so many, and your family. Forever you inspire me. I hear your voice when I read God’s word exhorting me to ‘live a life that is ‘pleasing to Him’. Yes, Robin, your life is everlasting in Him, and your life lives on in each of our hearts!”
These words tell a story, God’s word BREATHE LIFE!