Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 27 – What Is the Comfort?

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 27 – What Is the Comfort?

Heidelberg Catechism Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer: That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. … He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

There is more to the answer above; the excerpt quoted is quite applicable to J.R. Miller’s comments for today. Once again I urge you to go to the full text for Pastor Miller’s wise instruction found in a narrative that is both disquieting and challenging to our faith and life perspective.

There are few who live an insular life devoid of problems and severe suffering. Many a time we encounter either in ourselves or near friends and family burdensome tragedies that challenge our faith. In this story Pastor Miller brings us face to face to that heart-probing question “What is Comfort”, or better yet, “what is your only comfort in life and in death? The question ought to give us pause. Miller’s story is of a young man, his life and death and its impact upon others.

“He had just completed his long course of preparation. He had been graduated from the University, and then from the Theological Seminary. He had been called as pastor of an interesting church, and had been ordained and installed. Then almost immediately, he became ill. He was tenderly watched over. The best medical skill was procured in his behalf, and all that could be done, was done. But all availed not. One October day, he sank away into the quietness and stillness of death. Truly it seemed a mysterious providence.”

This is a story not only about the tragedy of a promising life spent so quickly, but of a parent’s crushed hopes and aspirations as well. It also tells of a “young maiden’s ‘sweet dream’ unrealized; of broken hopes folded up and shut away in [her loved one’s] coffin.”

What are we to make of such things? As much as we would want to deny it, we are surrounded by similar sorrows in our own life and times. And as those who belong to Christ we must concur with Miller that such a thing “was no accident, no surprise to God; it came as part of the divine plan for their two young lives.” The key to this faith-affirming thought is knowing that “the years of love had their part in the building up of the character, and the culture of the spirit, of him who was called to higher service.”

As such, we are reminded “that the trial of your faith, [is] much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire” (1 Pet 1:7). From this narrative and the Scriptures we understand that the events of our lives – confrontations and sufferings encountered not only give shape to, but reveal our true “character,” who we are and what we “truly” believe in faith and practice (2 Pet 1: 3). Our true comfort is made evident in how we respond to life’s unavoidable realities. Such things reveal the depth and degree of our faith, our inward ability to explain our “only comfort in life and death” in a Christ-honoring manner.

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 28 – Learning Contentment

 (to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal