Beloved children of God and dear brethren, it is Malia again. I cannot rest until you are all encouraged in your spirit and are able to stand strong in the faith. Your spiritual welfare is my desire and my God given burden. I pray for you always. Thank you for praying for me also. I am grateful to God the Holy Spirit for infusing His power in me daily. I look at myself and I thank God. Who could have thought that after my beloved husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh, went to heaven, I can be ‘normal’ again? Who could have thought that I am able to read my Bible, pray, write my feelings, and encourage others? I know for sure that this is not what the world calls ‘a normal person’. Anyway, both my husband and I were born again, and Spirit filled; therefore, we cannot be ordinary people or what they call ‘normal’. I also know that the world does not understand the things of the Spirit; but you dear children, you understand and rejoice with me. This power of the Holy Spirit is not for my own gain alone. It is for the encouragement of the brethren in Father’s House Bible church and the Body of Christ in general. Glory to God!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (2 Cor 1:3-11; NKJ)
This morning I read again the first chapter of the Book of second Corinthians. Apostle Paul wrote these words after he passed thru a heavy trial that almost killed him. He testifies that in the midst of that pain, God was with him. God has always been with him, but during the pain, He rediscovered the sweetness of God’s presence in a new way. This is the truth: God’s presence and grace is always enough no matter the trials we may pass thru in life. Paul is able to praise God in the middle of the trial. This is not the normal reaction of the natural man. Praising God during the storms of life is always the work of the Holy Spirit. You should acknowledge that! He says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation!” Please observe that God is not far from you. He is closer than your breath, especially when you pass thru difficulties. God Almighty is the Father and the Source of all Mercies, Loving-kindness, Long-suffering, Peace, and Heavenly Comfort! As you read these words, you see that Paul experienced a terrible crisis. It could be health problems or persecution. This trouble was so serious that it made him think he will soon die. The devil is a liar and the father of all lies! He takes advantage of our weakness or pains and attacks mostly with fears and doubts. Be watchful during trials and resist the devil until he flees from you! Pain is not an excuse for backsliding! Jealously protect your testimony as a believer because it is your true treasure you carry to heaven!
What are the lessons we learn from this chapter? The first lesson is this: Crisis of all levels happen to all people, even to the children of God. We are all born sinners. We tend to be selfish. Sickness, depression, poverty, accidents, betrayal, persecution from family and friends, these are common problems to all men. Loved ones die, parents die… These are the common trials of life and of faith. Sometimes they seem closer and other times they seem far, but emotional pain is a neighbor that ‘greets’ us daily. The unbelievers react to trials in a negative way. They become angry, bitter, and more selfish. But for us, the Christians, during a trial, we always have a choice to make: to behave in the flesh or to act in the Spirit! In other words, to give glory to Jesus or to ourselves! The natural tendency is to become depressed, to develop a ‘victim mentality’, to become angry with God and men. In this way, you allow the devil thru your pain to decide for you, what path to take from that time on in life. Even if you are a Christian, if you allow the flesh to lead, you will choose the same attitude. You will walk in the flesh and that will ‘profit you nothing’ (Jn 6:63). You choose to become the center of attention desiring that all people should sympathize with you in your pain. This is exactly what the devil wants you to do! You will never have peace and joy!
The second choice is spiritual. This is what Paul decided to do. In the middle of the trial, he stayed close to Jesus! He refused to allow the pain to dictate his daily attitude. By the grace of God, he trusted God to help him stand, to preserve his faith and his testimony as a child of God. Once he decided to do that, the power of resurrection, the Holy Spirit came down on him. Even in pain, his spirit became stronger! This is the secret of success in the Christian life. This is my testimony too. In the midst of pain, when I lost so much I cherished, I rediscovered that the presence of God is all that I need! His grace and mercy are truly more than enough for me.
In these verses, the word ‘Comfort’ occurs ten times and the word ‘trouble’, four times. In Greek, the word ‘comfort’ is ‘paraklete’. Translated it means somebody who walks alongside you; a Friend who never leaves you alone. This is the same Word describing the Person of God Holy Spirit. It means He is the Counsellor, the Comforter, the Advocate, the Helper, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, the Standby One. When you need wisdom, He will tell you what to do. When you need rest for your soul, He will make you lie down in green pastures, beside the still waters. When you need healing, He heals you! When you need peace, He will give you, even beyond your understanding! When the devil accuses you and you need an Advocate in heaven, to plead your case and defend you in battles, He will do that for you. Remember that Jesus has never lost any case! When you need someone to just carry you thru the day, as a mother carries her baby, He will help you move on. In the pain and in the fire, Paul has a fresh encounter with his God and becomes refilled with the Holy Spirit. Power came down! Glory went up!
Another lesson Paul has discovered is that during trials, as the Holy Spirit helps him, he must be a source of encouragement for others who suffer in life. He must not be selfish with the comfort and help of the Holy Spirit. Your season of pain is a wonderful opportunity for you to do ministry. Never waste that opportunity to be a blessing to others, especially when you pass thru trials. Never waste your pains! Use your grief as worship to God and as a ministry to encourage others. This is my testimony too. By the grace of God, I decided to worship God in my pain, to preach His Word and to continue to do my work as a pastor. If I cannot be a wife to my husband on earth, I can still be the mother to our children, the grandmother to our grandchildren and continue the work of ministry that we started together. I give God all the glory for the strength to take the best decision. In the middle of my trial, worshipping God was my ‘way of escape’. Thru this holy exit door to freedom, many now follow me, as I follow Christ. My freedom is their freedom too. My power is theirs too. We wept together; we shall rejoice together! This is our story! This is our song! Praising our Savior, all day long! Hallelujah!
As I write these words, I feel God’s pleasure all over me. By faith, I also feel Tali’s pride that his wife of 47 years on earth, his partner in ministry, and best friend, is doing the right thing, to the glory of God! I am blessed and highly favored! Be strong brethren! It is well with your souls! Love in Christ alone, Malia!
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh; 14-08-2020