Posted on January 30, 2013 by Eliece Rybak
Hi……Welcome to a small ‘Nook” of Encouragement’.
I am no one special, but the Lord I serve is very special. I am, first and foremost, a born-again Christian who has my sins forgiven, and am on my way to Heaven, by no merit of my own.
I am a mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and now I am a widow. Very unexpectedly, my husband was taken home to be with his Precious Lord that he loved, on September 12th, 2011. We were married for 35 years, and now my life has changed forever.
This “nook” is not really about me though, it is about a decision everyone needs to make and that I made when I was 20 years old. It is about knowing the God who made us and loves us more than anyone else in the whole world.
I am not talking about a “religion”, but a “personal relationship” with a “personal God”.
I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior from sin years ago, and it was the one most important decision that I ever made in my whole entire life. It was foundational.
( If you want details on that kind of decision, go to the section with the question “Where will I spend Eternity?”)
In this section of the ‘nook of encouragement’, I want to tell you some, as my girlfriend calls them, “God stories”. These are true events in my life and in the lives of others, that have shown me the heart of the Lord that I serve. They reveal the struggles of the human heart, but more importantly, the tender loving care of a Gracious, Ever-Present, and Awesome God.
“The Cross and a Hymn”
I was traveling home after a stay at my daughter’s in North Carolina.
It would be a ten hour drive, alone. My husband had passed into Glory
ten months before, and I travel alone now wherever I go.
It is a very tiring drive, and I did not leave until 4:30 in the afternoon,
which meant I would not arrive home until 2:30 am.
I knew I could not make it. I needed to get a hotel room.
I started crying and praying. I had not stayed in a hotel alone since
my husband died. When we had stayed in a hotel in the past,
it was always with my husband, and usually on our anniversary, so it was very special.
I just cried, sobbed, “Lord, I can’t do this. This is too hard!”
I prayed and asked Him to give me the strength to just drive
until 2:30 am. As the time passed, I knew I was too exhausted.
By this time I was really upset.
I had been listening to a Christian radio station, and realized that I had
lost the station. I hit the radio station button only once, and a hymn come on.
That is very unusual. Usually I have to search for a long time to
find another Christian radio station.
At the very same moment, on the southbound lane of I-81,
I saw a 60 foot lighted cross!
The really amazing thing
was….it wasn’t just any hymn that the Lord gave me
on the radio just at that moment.
It was the hymn “Does Jesus Care?”.
The hymn says, “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
too deeply for mirth and song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
and the way grows weary and long?….
When for my deep grief I find no relief,
Tho’ my tears flow all the night long?…..
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “good-by”
to the dearest on Earth to me,
and my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?”
“O yes, He cares; I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares”.
I just listened to the hymn that the Lord gave me,
and let it penetrate into the depths of my soul…..
as I watched the 60 foot lighted Cross come closer and closer.
The Lord at that moment brought peace into my soul
where there was deep loss, grief and anxiety
from my being alone.
I said, “OK, Lord, I get the message….. you are with me
and you are going to walk with me through this.”
The Lord was so “present” with me, so I got off
the road and stayed over night.
I did cry, but my anxiety was gone,
and I had peace because the Lord was so
faithful to care about me….enough to put a hymn,
but not just any hymn…that hymn,
on the radio at the same time as a lighted cross….
a 60 foot lighted cross,
to show me His presence with me.
Our God is Good, and He is Faithful.
Holidays are very difficult for those of us who have a very special person missing from our lives.
There is a very big void in our lives when that person is gone, but the empty place at the table is almost unbearable.
And it just so happens that our wedding Anniversary is two days after Christmas.
My husband was called home to Glory in September.
Also, exactly three weeks to the day that I buried my husband I buried my Mother.
That was October. Thanksgiving and Christmas, November and December, were very difficult,
but on top of all of that, I had to face my wedding anniversary all alone….without my spouse
…my better half…that other person with whom I was ‘one’ .
I was visiting my children in NC for Christmas.
I dreaded the anniversary because I did not know how to get through the day without overwhelming grief.
Several precious friends had sent me books to read when my husband died, and I had taken them with me.
The book I chose to bring and read was about a nurse who had lost her husband very suddenly.
(What you should know here is that I am a nurse also.)
When she started relaying the story, and mentioned her husband’s name, I just cried.
Her husband’s name was Cecil and so was my husband’s name Cecil.
That is not a common name but the Lord was in this.
This lady wrote this book several years before, and the Lord was going to walk me through our anniversary
reading about another born-again Christian nurse who had a husband named Cecil, who had also died very suddenly.
I cried and hung onto every thought. The Lord that I serve had taken care of her, provided for her,
and He was encouraging my heart that He would do the same for me.
The Lord in His sovereignty allowed me to have that book just when He knew
that my heart needed encouragement to look to Him for strength, courage and comfort.
” The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord.”
A “good man” is one that is “upright in their manner of life” (37:14), one that has “peace” (37:37),
one that has his strength in the Lord (37:39), and
is helped, delivered, saved by the Lord, and trusts in the Lord (37:40).
Our “steps” are our every day, every part of our day events, thoughts, actions and
even our feelings. It is who and what the Lord brings into our lives.
He oversees, directs, orchestrates, purposes, plans, designs and brings to pass
all that comes and goes in and out of our lives…..for His purpose and Glory.
All that to say this……
These “God stories” are specific ways that our God we serve is working,
designing, planning and purposing.
It says in Philippians 2:13,
“For it is God who worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure”.
The Lord orders our steps. Those of us who walk with the God we serve know this in truth.
Without revealing too many details in the lives of the ones the Lord has brought into my life,
I would like to tell you about a dear Christian lady, who through various circumstances,
invited me to stay in her home after just meeting me and realizing that I really
had no place to stay that night. We had a mutual friend, but did not really know each other
and had just met a couple hours before.
As we talked, we realized the Lord had orchestrated this. We were both recently widowed.
We cried together and prayed together as we saw that the Lord had brought together two
grieving souls, who desperately missed our mates,
and needed someone to talk to who understood. It is such a comfort for a widow to
find another widow to share our grief and sorrow. It seems that the Lord ministers to
our hearts, eases the burden some, and comforts us when we find in another soul
who has this deep understanding of our grief. That was the beginning….
we loved the same Savior, liked the same organic food, had the same ideas about many things,
and most unusual of all, our husbands had the same name.
I only spent one evening and night there, but we parted as friends
that felt like we had known each other for ever.
We live 2,200 miles apart but now pray for each other.
The love of Christ is an amazing thing. As soon as we find out that a person is a
born-again Christian, there seems to be an immediate bond, and the love of Christ
in our hearts is immediately offered to the other person with joy and thanksgiving.
To God be the Glory…praise His name.
As a widow…who was used to having a mate walk with her through life….
who had someone there to see her through the times that are difficult…
times of hurt and times of stress and distress….
like when going to the doctor for “not fun” procedures…
(Pray for the widows and widowers in your circle of acquaintance because
they now have to walk in this life without the hand to hold of their
best friend, without the reassuring smile, and the
prayers of the one they so dearly loved, and closely depended upon.)
I needed to go to the doctor.
But this doctor was almost an hour and a half away, and no one
could go with me on this short notice.
Then when I was told where to go, it was quite possibly in the place
where my husband had died just a short time before.
I was not really familiar with all these places that far away,
but this was not going to be easy.
I just took some time to pray.
I asked the Lord to go with me, work out the details,
and give me peace in this whole situation.
As I arrived where my GPS told me to go, it was not exactly the same building
where my husband died, which was a relief.
I breathed a prayer of thanks and praise to the Lord
for His care.
Now I had to face the doctor…alone.
As I spoke to the doctor about not having any health insurance,
he went to the computer and said “that I can fix”.
He cancelled the office fee and his personal fee.
His manner was so kind, gentle, and gracious….
When I left the office, I had this overwhelming feeling that the presence of
the Lord Himself had been there taking care of me…. (which He was),
I was so overwhelmed with His Goodness,
I went to tears as I walked out of that office….
tears of relief, comfort and peace.
His presence in the life of the believer is so precious.
I needed a fairly minor surgical procedure,
I experienced His vivid answer to my earnest request.
I was to leave very soon for the surgical appointment,
no one to go with me….except Him.
I “needed” my husband who was in Heaven with the Lord,
which was not possible.
But I knew that in the Bible, the Lord tells us that He will be the
husband to the widow. I started praying….asking the Lord…
“Lord, I do not know how you can be my husband right now,
but I need you to be with me in this… now…
I need to know that you are going with me …I need You now.”
Just as I paused in my prayer…. (my computer was on the
web site for bbnradio.org. It is a Christian radio station on line.
It is my habit to have this on much of the day.)
…..a hymn was being sung…
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”
(…..the hymn “How Firm A Foundation”)
I did not have the hand of my sweet husband as I thought that I needed,
but I had the promise of the Lord I serve
that His omnipotent hand was there to uphold me !!!!
This is the “presence” of the Lord Himself in dealing
with the “beloved of the Lord”.
Deut. 33:12 says “The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him;
and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.”
2Thes. 2:13, the Lord tells us, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you,
brethren beloved of the Lord,
because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
We widows who miss our sweet mates,
come to understand that we have the Lord Himself as our “husband” now.
In scripture we believers are called ‘His beloved’: