“Do not be afraid, for I am with you!” Isaiah 43:5

Yesterday, our family spent Thanksgiving with my aunt, Janice, who is dying from cancer.  These words were a comfort to my soul as I reflected today on fear, suffering, and God’s promises to us which are yes and Amen in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20):

“The presence of a friend in trouble is cheering and consoling. But it is too often the case, that our friends, like the friends of Job, prove to be miserable comforters. They either do not enter into our troubles — or they cannot help us. The advice they give at times, only aggravates our woe, and adds to our distress.

But, believer, your Triune God says, ”I am with you!” What a thought is this! God, the great, the glorious, the omnipotent Jehovah — is with me! He is . . .
with me to help me,
with me to comfort me,
with me to sanctify me,
with me to save me,
with me as a kind benignant Father,
with me in every place, in every trouble, in every conflict,
with me through all my journey and forevermore,
with me on the bed of sickness,
with me  to hold communion with me,
with me to listen to my sighs,
with me to number my tears, and
with me to secure me from all injury!

Appearances may be very dark; the night may seem very long; and your pains, weakness, and fears may be many and great. Still, if the Lord is with you and for you through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you may sing, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty — yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18″

-James Smith, “The Believer’s Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble” 1842.

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