God Offers His Personal Encouragement

“Take hold of My Peace within you. Take hold of My Love within you – My Power to guide and strengthen and sustain you. In quiet, confident trust you will find My strength for this day.” as quoted in Whispers from the Lord by Jeff Barker

By Jeff Barker, excerpted from the book Whispers from the Lord

As the sun rose the next morning, Arlene wrote this prayer in her

Sweet Holy Spirit, fill in all the empty places of my being with
peace, with love, with forgiveness, with joy, with health, with
energy, with wisdom, with faith, and with trust. Help me to
walk as Jesus’s disciple in the yoke with Him.
Your obedient one,

As part of her daily devotions, Arlene would read the collected
Scriptures from the nineteenth-century guidebook Daily Light on
the Daily Path. That Thursday morning’s entry included seven biblical passages about suffering.

Arlene looked up two of the references in her copy of The Living Bible and copied verses from that
paraphrase into her journal:

Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:3a

After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness
through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will
come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you
stronger than ever.
1 Peter 5:10

Photo credit: Kiwihug

Then her focus turned outward as she recalled the parable of the
gathering of the nations:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are
blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the
creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty,
and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into
your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and
you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you
hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or
a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?
When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of
the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ”
Matthew 25:34–40 (NLT)

Then came this message from her Comforter:

July 31, 1975, Thursday
Give this one who has hurt you a cup of cold water in My
Name. Remember that whatever you do to him you are doing
unto Me. In turning the other cheek, you will win him to Me.
My Love will enable you to be Love in this difficult situation. It
is not as hopeless as you think. My Love avails much. Forgive
him—even as I have forgiven you.

Photo credit: Milada Vigerova

Before going to bed that night, Arlene wrote this prayer and response in her journal:

Jesus, your faithfulness and your LOVE and your Presence
during the hours of this long day fill my heart with joy, praise,
and thanksgiving. “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing.”

I’m not weary or exhausted after being up since 2 AM. Jesus
gave me such peace, joy, and assurance of His constant
Presence walking beside me carrying my burdens today. His
yoke IS EASY!

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. What were the specific practices Arlene used to assist herself spiritually and emotionally over the previous two days?
  2. What practices do you use to strengthen your spiritual life?
  3. What does it mean to be “in the yoke” with Jesus?

Featured image photo credit: Lina Trochez

You’ve been reading from

Whispers from the Lord by Jeff Barker

In 1943, nineteen-year-old Arlene Schuiteman began keeping a journal, which she continued her whole life, including thirty-four years of nursing and teaching in three African countries: South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Zambia.

During a particularly trying time, she recorded ninety “whispers from the Lord” in her personal journals. The four years during which Arlene recorded these messages (1975-1979) were among the most difficult years in the history of modern Ethiopia as well as Arlene’s own life. Even as she began transcribing the messages, a violent political movement—the Qey Shibir (Red Terror)—descended on the nation. After being forced to leave her beloved church and her nursing students, she moved to the nation’s capital and was eventually ejected from the country. She soon returned to Africa, however, working this time in Zambia until her retirement in 1989.

Although Arlene recorded these “whispers” as a personal encouragement, at age ninety-eight, she now wishes to share her journal with others who struggle and need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness during dark days. Here is an affirmation of God’s intimacy with his children and his loving response to us all.

About the Author

Jeff Barker

Jeff Barker teaches theater and worship arts at Northwestern College and the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. When not teaching, you can find him in a theater or on a film set, orchestrating story-focused worship for a local church or a national conference, or challenging his students to a game of chess.

Dawn comes from a book-loving family with dreams of having floor to ceiling bookshelves when she grows up. Following a career in art and education, she now applies her planning, visual and written communication skills within the content marketing team at Tyndale House Publishers.

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