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Christ, My Only Comfort, by Grace Tazelaar

The realization that I belong entirely to God both in life and in death, that I am not my own, keeps me going in the work that God has called me to do - health and health care among the poor. There is always a piece of me that I want to hold back, to keep for myself - a car, a house, kudos for a job well done - but God reminds me that everything I have, body and soul, belong to Him.

Initially that concept seems like slavery. God bought me with a price and I am forever indebted to Him. I am nothing; nothing I do is for me; everything belongs to God. But over time I have come to realize that it is actually freeing. Making jesus Lord of my life allows me to become the person He created me to be. My work is His work. He calls, equips, and enables me to be a part of His great Kingdom-building purposes. My success or failure is not dependent upon me, but upon Him. I am truly most fulfilled when I am aligned with Christ.

I found it easier to turn over those things that were difficult, that I couldn’t handle the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda for example - when I was at the end of my rope. There is nowhere to turn but to God in those situations. There were many times that I just cried out “Why?” trying to understand where God was in the midst of such evil. We had just come through a civil war and now people were dying in large numbers from AIDS. Over time, God has shown me His power; how He is able to redeem HIV/AIDS, Jesus’ death on the cross, and my failures, and use them for His glory and my salvation.

At times it is a struggle to turn everything over to the Lord. This is especially true when things are going well and I want to take credit for them. When someone tells me that I have had a positive impact on their life or thanks me for the training program I’ve just done, then it is hard to say that God enabled me to do that. The ugly sin of pride wells up and wants to say, “Yeah, I did that!” rather than praising God for how He allowed me to be a part of His work in that person’s life.

As my sister was dying of cancer, she told me that God had awakened her with the hymn, “I Surrender All.” She tried to explain how God was calling her to surrender everything - the future of her children, her grandchildren whom she would not know, her home, her husband - to the Lord. She said, “Everything I thought was important isn’t.” Working among the poor, the suffering, and the dying helps me to keep in perspective what is important and what isn’t. Solo Dei Gloria!

Grace Tazelaar RN, MS serves as Missions Director for Nurses Christian Fellowship. She taught nursing for 12 years before leaving to become a missionary in Uganda where she served on the Uganda National Control Program for AIDS. She became involved in CCHF upon her return to the US to serve as the Domestic Missions Coordinator for the Luke Society in  Mississippi. She has served on the CCHF student committee and has been involved in planning the nursing track at CCHF annual conferences. She can be contacted at  gjtaz [at] comcast [dot] net

I grew up memorizing the Heidelberg Catechism.

Question and Answer 1:

Q 1. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

A. 1. “That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death - to my faithful Savior jesus Christ...