Daily Spirit & Word, 457: Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.
Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.
Benefit #3: Bible Memory Training: God Gives Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ: True Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.
The Blackest Night of My Life:
As I write this morning, I’m reminded of the blackest night of my life, the day whilst at Theological College we were about to attend the Leavers Ball. Someone came running to me and said, “There’s an urgent telephone call for you”. It was the day’s before the advent of Mobile Phones. We, Julie and I, took the call in the little phone booth that students used. My wife had left our children (five of them) in the care of friends in Plymouth, two of them with our Minister and his wife. The call was from his wife, she relayed the devastating news as only a Christian could, “You daughter is OK, but she’s been assaulted” When someone says that about your most precious daughter your mind goes into a whirl. I had to ask her again and again for the details, even then not fully comprehending. She was reluctant to tell us too much, fearing that we’d have an accident as we drove back from London to Plymouth. All I remember asking was; “What happened?”.
The next thing I can recall as clear as light was hugging my sobbing wife, she was inconsolable, but I just hugged her. Then just before we were about to dash off home an brother in the Lord who’d become a great friend over the years of college said, “Let’s kneel down and pray to the Lord”. It was the last thing that I wanted to do at that moment, I wanted to get into the car and head-off as fast as we could. But I knew Charity was right, so we got on our knees before the Lord Jesus and through tears we both prayed. Charity was a strong-tower and declared Jesus peace over Julie and I.
It was on the way home, in the darkness and driving rain that it happened. We were passing a little hillock in Dorset and on the top of the hill I saw a bright light giving of strange beams, like a searchlight, it was hard to make out, but it was there, then it pointed up into the sky; Julie was driving at almost 100 miles per hour. No amount of my telling her, “slow-down” made the slightest bit of a difference. As I looked out of the rain’s tears on my car’s window, I saw that light pointing up into Heaven; then all of a sudden the Lord’s PEACE flooded my soul. In that DARKEST NIGHT of my life, PEACE and CALM like I’d never know before. The light pointing to heaven reminded me of my prayer and Charity’s prayer for peace. It was a miracle.
I knew we were heading home to the tragic news that my precious ten-year-old daughter had been raped at knife-point with many terrible things done to her in that attack. Her childhood stolen and destroyed by a viscous, evil and callous act. That one horrible night led to years of deep heartache and slowly getting back to ‘normal’, but when that PEACE came in the driving rain it stayed with me throughout those years and I was the only one in the family to turn to the Lord and receive His peace, hope, joy and comfort. The Lord was preparing me to be a source of strength for everybody else in my family. My wife blamed hereself and for years couldn’t make decisions, my daughter had night terrors for years, screaming in the night. But the PEACE, it came from above and would not go away.
I remember a few months afterwards reading Psalm 23 with my daugher who’d been attacked, and she said, “That was me wasn’t it? I walked through the valley of the shadow of death” I said, “You most certainly did”. Then she asked me, “Why didn’t Jesus rescue me?” I said, “He did, you are here today to tell the horrible story and one day you’ll be able to give strength to many more people who are going through hard times”.
There was a verse that I’d learned on the day we got that horrible telephone call; when we received the tragic news, you know how a verse sticks out sometimes when your reading God’s Word. Well I committed it to memory quickly, not knowing why the Spirit had illuminated it, it came flooding back into my mind after seeing the beam of light on the hill: Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” You know my friends, I can testify to the truth of that verse from God’s Word. He DID keep me in His PEACE. Though there were times when I could easily have turned the other way, Jesus was always there for me and keeping me in His perfect peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.
The full meaning of that verse became apparent about a year later when I shared my testimony in Northern Ireland. At the end of a week of Evangelistic mission activity in the small town of Warren Point. In the Town Hall on the last night I shared my story and what had happened to my daughter, but I kept the focus upon how the LORD had given His peace and hope in my heart. In Northern Ireland during the mission, it was the height of ‘The Troubles’, but whilst the mission was going, we only saw one riot in Downpatrick. The Town Hall was full, and so many people were crying that night and when we gave an invitation for people to receive the Lord Jesus, I think everybody in the hall came forward to be prayed with. It was awesome. Even a Minister, who’d been ordained for years, who I’d become friends with during the mission, but through the conversations we’d had, I knew that He’d never trusted in Jesus for Salvation, because Ministry was a job for him a vocation of choice to serve the community. He came forward and through tears made his confession and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The PEACE has been with me in many troubled times since, but I’ve also been reminded, I need to turn and trust in the Lord always.
My friends, tragedy may come into your life, but whenever the Lord gives you a text from His Word, you’ll be wise to commit it to your memory banks. He’ll use it again and again and again and again, to bring strength and comfort and deep knowledge that He’s faithful to all his promises in his word. He KEEP you in Perfect Peace when you fix you mind upon Him.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Psalm 77:17 “The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.”
Psalm 77:17 (Amp).
Since that Blackest Night of My Life: I’ve had countless scriptures the Lord has given me to remember forever, they come either just before or during the times of despair and need. Psalm 77 (Easy to remember) 7/7 you know the shops that are open 24/7 seven days a week? Well, I remember that Heaven is OPEN 7/7. 24 Hours a Day Every Day. Though we may not be able to sleep sometimes for fretting, when we turn to the LORD, He’ll give us His PEACE and HOPE even in Despair. In the Darkest Nights of your life, He’s with you and is available. Call to Him for He is near.
Also Psalm 40 The whole psalm, but especially Psalm 40:9-10 was given just before the Mission to Northern Ireland, it really did come true in the Town Hall in Warren Point.
Psalm 40:9-10 “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”
Also Romans 12:28-39 (NIV)
Today, I proclaim AND declare to everybody who’s reading this message; “God’s PEACE be upon you today. May you KNOW and Experience His PERFECT PEACE. AMEN!”
Jesus is ALWAYS faithful.
Have an awesome day with Jesus, be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 77:1-20 (NIV)
- [For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.] I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
- When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
- I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah
- You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
- I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
- I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit enquired:
- “Will the Lord reject for ever? Will he never show his favour again?
- Has his unfailing love vanished for ever? Has his promise failed for all time?
- Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah
- Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
- I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
- I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
- Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
- You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
- With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
- The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
- The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
- Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
- Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
- You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 40 (NIV).
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Bible Memory Training: Benefit #3 Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.