2014-04-30 / Religion

Sometimes Our Words Are Inadequate

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

Wednesday morning I had the assignment of taking Annabeth and Madeline to school. They got to our house early, and we had no need to be in a rush, but as is often the case, time slipped away, so I had to speed things up to get them there without them being tardy. Just as I got them settled into the car, Madeline informed me that she had left her drink in the house. I rushed back inside, grabbed her drink and scurried back to the car only to have her inform me, “There’s nothing in it!” I love her a lot, and it is a well established fact that those little girls know how to work Papa, but there was no time to make another run to the house. We had to move on. You never know what those little ones will say or do next; sometimes it is humorous, while at other times it is deep and serious. Madeline caught me off guard recently, though, with a statement I did not anticipate coming.

A couple weeks ago as Madeline sat with me in our dining room she rubbed the underside of my arm and said “That’s soft.” That was not so unusual of an observation, but I was not quite prepared for what she said next: “It feels like my daddy.” I would not have thought much about that either if I did not know the background, which adds a whole lot to appreciating her statement— for you see, her daddy died five months ago. She did not elaborate further, although I gave her opportunity to talk about it if she wanted to. But what can you say to a five-year-old in a moment like that? I have preached, taught, counseled and dealt with people under all sorts of circumstances — both good and bad — or many years, yet my words were absolutely inadequate for that moment. Nevertheless, if my simply being there at that moment brought her peace and assurance, I am grateful I had the opportunity.

After the death of Jesus Christ His followers were devastated. The Book of John gives us a glimpse of the hopelessness that they sensed before they realized that Christ’s resurrection had taken place: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”” ( John 20:19, New International Version). Their fear and sadness quickly turned to strength and joy as He revealed Himself to them: “After He said this, he showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (verse 20). Because of the resurrection life and power of Jesus Christ, we, like the disciples of that day, can have hope and comfort by acknowledging and trusting Him even in those times when everything seems to be a total loss.

What all was going on in Madeline’s mind the other night when she made that statement to me? I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that whether we are five or one hundred and five, we can draw strength from Christ’s simple and sincere words, “Peace be with you!” Our words are often inadequate, but the words of our Lord are always just what is needed to bring comfort in our darkest moments.

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