Thursday, 25 August 2011

The blessings of God's comfort

18 months ago, I had a conversation on Facebook with 2 strangers concerning an issue that had plagued me ever since becoming a Christian – how to have assurance and comfort in my relationship with God when I fought a constant battle with sin. I think it shows how desperate I was that I would discuss such an issue with people I didn’t know. But I truly believe God’s hand was at work on that encounter – the way these 2 women were so willing to take the time to offer biblical counsel to someone they didn’t know, and to stay in contact and enable beautiful friendships to develop, and above all the way the Holy Spirit worked on me through that initial encounter and through many conversations over subsequent months. I have been on the most wondrous journey of discovery as my eyes have been opened to the riches of the gospel, and the reality of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ washing over me has unshackled the condemnation I used to carry around with me. I have truly found my freedom in Christ – not through a 7-step plan, but through the very real, very personal work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Oh, the blessed comfort of the gospel!

During the course of this journey I have developed wonderful friendships with other mourning Christians too – Christians mourning over their sin, over the loss of biblical teaching in so many churches, over the refusal of the world to honour the Name which is so precious to each and every one of us.

This last week my family and I have spent in America meeting up with these Christian women on Facebook who have played such an important role in my life both in terms of my understanding of the gospel and in terms of the friendship they have provided at one of the loneliest times of my Christian walk. The week was a glorious gift from God from start to finish – from the gracious way in which my husband enabled it to come about, the excitement of planning the visit with dear friends, the bountiful hospitality shown us by the DeBarros family as we shared a few precious days with them, and the sheer joy and delight of being amongst a gathering of like-minded Christian friends in Washington DC for a weekend. Saturday afternoon in particular the blessings of God poured down on us as we all sat down to afternoon tea in a plush hotel, and I found myself sitting opposite those 2 precious women with whom this journey began, Christine Pack and Elizabeth DeBarros, and amongst so many other dear friends. And to cap it all off, the Sunday morning church service some of us attended at Capitol Hill Baptist Church was another gracious gift from God, as a passage from scripture was read out that would previously have left me comfortless - 1 John 3, which was the subject of that first Facebook interaction 18 months ago. As I sat there and listened on Sunday, I felt the weight of the law in the passage, but crucially I also heard those verses which were full of comfort after comfort as the Holy Spirit ministered His comfort to me. Oh, the blessed comfort of the gospel!

I trust the weekend was as comforting to all those dear friends as it was for me. We sorely missed those who were unable to join us, and pray God will comfort them in their need.

For I truly believe we all need each and every moment of comfort that God provides for us, as He uses these moments to strengthen us. An earthquake that shook Washington just a couple of days after our weekend brought the reality of our situation back to the forefront of my mind very quickly - we dwell in a world which is groaning in its bondage to decay, and the merciful hand of God is on this earth to shake us from our false idols that we might find salvation in Him alone. May He open the eyes of men that they might find the blessed comfort available through the gospel message that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He was raised again for our justification that we might have peace with God – true Comfort above all comforts.

Precious friends in Washington DC 


  1. Diana - What a precious write with such openness and honesty. I still remember the first time you made contact with me (seems a long time ago now). You became very dear to me, right from the start. I began to look forward to my email notifications that I had messages waiting from "Diana Lovegrove" :) I was deeply moved by your struggles as I had also experienced similar ones as a fairly new Christian. And you will simply have to trust me on this when I say that walking through these struggles with you ministered as much to me as it did to you! There is something so steadying and thrilling about diving deep, deep, deep into God's Word. There is no question or concern or anxiety that cannot be worked through by the wisdom found there. What a good God He is to give us his Word. His magnificent Word, which enables us to know Him deeply, know what He expects of us, know the plan of Salvation, and live lives with hearts and minds that are kept in the supernatural peace spoken of in Phil 4:6-7. Simply amazing.

    I'm also so thrilled and delighted and perhaps even a little bit awed that the Lord brought about our meeting in person this past weekend! When I began on Facebook, even though I intentionally went about it as something of a ministry to the lost in my own life, I never, ever imagined that such amazing blessings could come from such a silly little thing as a social networking site used by vast millions to discuss inane things of no value. But there you go, God is big and vast and can do truly astonishing things. To God be the Glory!


  2. Ah, Christine, thank you so much for these comments. I absolutely trust you when you say you were ministered to also - it is amazing the way God blesses all of us through wrestling with His Word.

    Yes - I wholeheartedly agree with feeling a little bit of awe over this gift of meeting in person, may God bless you, my sweet southern sister!

    Love you, Diana xxx

  3. What a special blessing, Diana, perhaps a little taste of heaven where we all shall meet at last? Grace and love!

  4. Ah, Diana, I could not agree with Christine more. She took the words right out of my mouth, and for that I am so grateful. Thank you, C.! Nothing short of the hand of God working in all of our lives. As for having you and your precious family in our home, the honor and pleasure was all ours.

    Perhaps this passage will suffice:

    "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."


    "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." -Ephesians 3:14-21

    I do declare (my best southern impression), God has fulfilled this word in "our" day.

    Love to you,

  5. Petra - definitely a little taste of heaven :) Hugs to you.

    Liz/L/E (???!!) - that passage from Ephesians suffices indeed, more than suffices, it overwhelms me at how well God is fulfilling this word. My prayer before this trip was that it would taste a little like Psalm 133 -

    "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
    It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
    It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life for evermore".

    It was blessing indeed. May God bless you.

  6. Dearest Diana,

    I just loved reading this post and though I couldn't be with you all in body, you can bet (and that's ok in Nevada you know) I was with you all in spirit.

    "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 - has definitely been the case in my life as it regards all of our "online" friendships.

    And you have no idea how important the lessons are that you have taught me.

    Much love to you sweet sister!

  7. Diane - so sad you couldn't make it, and even more so that the Skype session didn't take place due to my husband's rumbling tummy :(

    I am sure you know that the Proverbs verse applies to what I have personally experienced through the correspondence we have shared via email. So thankful that God has worked through our online friendship, and I look forward to continued sharpening :)

    Love to you!