Encouragement in Affliction

Good morning, sister!

I hope that you will not mind if I write you a few lines of encouragement and exhortation, and share some of my experiences with you. I want you to know that my brother and I pray for you often — that our good Lord would be with you and comfort you as no one else can.

You are very brave, sister. ALS is a terrible affliction.  I love to see that you are still able to smile. You are an example to us all. But I know that, being human, you must have times when you are not so brave. I have known periods of dark despair since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I just want you to know that, even then, you are not forsaken — either by God, or by your brethren, who pray for you and suffer with you.

It seems very strange to me that this has happened to me. I can still hardly believe it. I know what’s ahead, and sometimes dread it so much that I am not far from despair; but when I am in my right mind, I know that, whatever happens, my God will be with me, and that He means it for my good.

I am one of those people who grow lukewarm towards God whenever life is easy; and rarely seek Him with all my heart unless I am in the midst of painful adversity. Well, sister, this disease is eventually going to leave me with no comfort in the world but God and my loved ones. So what else can I do but draw nigh to God and experience that fellowship which is the inheritance of all the saints!  Our Lord Christ died that we might be reconciled to God and have the high privilege of calling Him “Father”.  It is a pity that we do not value this privilege and avail ourselves of, it as we should!

I have seen a very intelligible and capable man who had been afflicted with Parkinson’s, his face no longer capable of expression, stopping in the middle of a step, trembling and struggling, yet unable to move again for several minutes. I saw him a few years later, at the stage where he could neither speak nor feed himself, and yet fully conscious of all that was going on around him. His greatest comfort was the loving care of his good wife.

I pray that I may not live so long as to have that happen to me. But if it does, it will only be for a time, and after that, eternal glory! Many Christians have suffered, and do suffer, worse things every day. I know that it is possible to triumph over them all in Christ Jesus; and I intend to do so! “Play the man”, I tell myself. “You are a soldier. Don’t be so soft! Follow your Captain wherever he leads you, and be willing to suffer rather than disobey him when He sends you into battle.”

It will be a battle royal, with the world, the flesh and the Devil all conspiring against me, the enemy on every side. But greater is He whose omnipotent might fights for me when I give Him my whole heart’s devotion and trust.

Be of good courage, Lady. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. Trust Him always. You can, like the martyrs, be full of joy and perfect peace in the worst tribulation. God helping us, we can sing in the worst situations we can imagine. I cannot say that I will do very well when that time comes; I am too unstable. But that is what you and I must aspire to, for the honor of our worthy Master, for whose glory we were made and redeemed.

God keep you, sister! May the good Lord let you feel that He is walking with you!

Your humble servant for Jesus’ sake,

Howard King

 

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