Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jesus' Hands and Feet

"Blessed are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted."
Matthew 5:4  (KJV)

I thought at first I wouldn't go.
I hadn't ventured...inside a church...since I lost Mom.
I knew I probably should go, but there was a part of me that didn't want to be comforted.
A part that felt so far-removed....that just wanted to be left alone...to mourn and grieve and suffer.

We were running late.
I started making excuses.
We had traveled so far...so many miles.
I was exhausted...mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually....drained and depleted of all strength.

I felt the Holy Spirit..deep inside...giving me a gentle nudge.
Making me feel that I really should go.
It would mean so much...to them....if I would go along.
And, who knows?
 I just might get some help.

My clothes were wrinkled...from traveling.
There was a spot on my top, and I didn't have time to change.
And even if I did decide to change clothes, I'd have to iron something...that would take too much time.
I couldn't go to church looking like this.

"It's okay, Cheryl.  It doesn't matter what you look like.  It won't make a difference.  
Why don't you come with us?" she looked so concerned, so sincere.

"Well, let me see if I can get this stain off my shirt."

I tried hard.
It looked better...but now there was a huge wet spot..."I guess I'll just stay home.  You all go ahead."

"You can use the hair dryer....to dry the spot....that is, if you want to go.  We'll wait."

"Okay, I'll try."

Hmmm...the spot came out pretty good, and the wet spot was now dry.

My excuses were running out...wearing thin.

Something deep compelled me to say, "Okay, I guess I'll go."

I felt apprehensive...unsure of how I was going to feel.

"If you need to get up and walk out...during church, I'll understand, Cheryl."

"Okay."

We got there.
It was packed.
The evangelist is highly sought after.
I'd heard him preach once before...and got a real blessing the last time.
But, that was before...well, before my world had crashed down around me.
That was when I still felt "normal".

That was then.
This was now.
My expectations weren't too high...of even staying seated in my pew.

We began to sing.
It didn't take long...for the tears to begin to spill.
Determined, I stayed.

Someone handed me a bulletin.
There it was....under the prayer request section....her name.
I cried and cried.
This whole church had prayed hard for her.
Our names were on there, too, along with all of Mom's family left behind.

Somehow, I made it through the entire service...without walking out.

The sermon he preached hit nerve after nerve after raw, bleeding nerve.
It was like the precious Holy Spirit had molded the message around my needs.
I sat there and broke down, I don't know how many times.
I felt a kind, gentle arm go around my shoulder...and pull me close.
I yielded to the comfort.

When the service was over, and the last song was sung, she spotted me from across the room.
She seemed so eager...to get to me.
When we reached each other, she wrapped her kind, motherly arms around me, and I cried long and hard...on her shoulder.
She is one of the kindest, most Christlike people I've ever met.
I've known her for years, and she has been the same every time I've seen her.
Always loving, always unselfish, always concerned, always like Jesus.

"Oh, Cheryl, I am SO sorry.  I understand.  I lost my mother....in 1976.  The pain never goes completely away.  But, it will get easier to take...in time.  I love you so much."
She broke down and cried...right along with me.
She pulled me close again....and as she hugged me, it felt just like Mom.
It felt like my dear, precious Mother's frail arms were around me once more.
I believe God allowed Mom to hug me again...through this dear, precious, Godly woman.
I felt the love, and it seemed that Jesus Himself were standing there, in the flesh, hugging me...with all His might.
I didn't want to leave...the shelter...the embrace...the feeling of familiarity and closeness to Mom....through this precious woman.

One after another after another....they came to me that night.
With words of solace.
Words of understanding.
Words of peace.
Kind, sympathetic smiles.
"I lost my Mother when I was 29."
"You'll never stop missing her, Cheryl, but you will get through this."
"I love you, Cheryl."
"I'll be praying for you."
"I know how you feel."
"I am so sorry."
"We have been praying for your Mom's healing, Cheryl.  But, God must have had another plan."

Handshake after handshake, hug after hug, they reached out to me that night.
They made me feel His presence...in human, physical, tangible form.
He ministered to me through human bodies....temples that have been yielded to Him....to His service....to do His bidding.
Temples that allow themselves to be Jesus' hands and feet.

The revival went on for two more nights.
I couldn't wait to get there each night.
Each night, my soul was fed and nurtured and comforted.
Through the preached Word time after time hitting Its mark....and through the human touch.

On the last night, one lady came and told me she had been praying for me non-stop since the first night I was there.
Another mentioned she had prayed for me all...day....long.

God's thoughts are so far above ours.
He knew about this revival a long time ago.
We had scheduled our time there for a different date.
The date was changed...beyond our control.
God knew I needed to be there....then.
While the meeting was going on.
He knew the schedules of the two ministers involved.
He knew what I needed to hear...and feel.
I'm glad I minded God's still, small voice...deep within me....and I'm thankful I went that first night.
And the other nights, too.

Psalm 34:18 says,
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
During this pain, I have felt Him near me...so many times.
Through gentle nudges of comfort...deep inside.
Through His kind voice.
Through His children who love Him...whose bodies are His temple, His dwelling place....whose arms have extended Jesus' love to me time after time in accepting understanding.

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He pronounced a special blessing upon those who mourn.
He said they would be blessed and comforted.

"Thank you, Holy Father, for keeping your promise to me.  Thank you for reaching out to me through the hands and feet of your precious children.  Thank you for the comfort and solace I feel being a part of your family here on earth.
How very blessed and comforted I am indeed!
In Jesus' name,
Amen."

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