The Words That Saved A Life

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Jeremiah 15:16a – Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. (NKJV)

I once heard Ron Mehl use as a sermon illustration a story told by Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, about a single missionary who served the Lord in China for many years. In 1948, all missionaries were expelled from the country and told never to return. This woman returned anyway.

Before the ship sailed for China, Mr. Trotman met the woman at the dock to pray for her and to encourage her in the Lord. Watching her step onto the ship, he called out to her with one final word. He gave her a verse to hold on to no matter what she might encounter.

Not long after her return to China, this woman learned the price of her decision. She endured severe persecution, involving imprisonment and torture. Many were encouraged by the guards to take their lives. Some did. Later, this woman confessed to having entertained the idea herself. Two years of suffering wreaked havoc on her mind and her body.

When the missionaries were finally freed and allowed to return to their home countries, this woman looked first for Dawson Trotman. She couldn't thank him enough for his words that day at the dock. She had replayed those words and his prayer in her heart many times.

More importantly, when the persecution and pain and torture were more than she could bear, she recalled the verse Mr. Trotman had given her. Many times, when she was at the breaking point, she meditated on the words of that verse. And the hope that filled those words kept her from breaking.

The verse he gave her saved her life.

After telling this story, Dawson Trotman was surrounded by his listeners. "What was the verse you gave her?" they eagerly asked.

But he refused to tell them.

"Please tell us," they continued to plead. "What was the comfort that enabled this woman to endure her suffering? What was the verse that gave her such hope?"

Dawson Trotman finally replied, "There are hundreds of them."

Mr. Trotman was undoubtedly intent on sending his hearers to their Bibles in search of those verses full of comfort, such as these:

Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (NKJV)

Joshua 1:9 – Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (NKJV)

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (NKJV)

We can never exhaust the wealth of comfort found in God's Word. Only here do we find strength to overcome whatever we are called upon to endure.

Let's search His Word diligently for these powerful truths and hold to them tightly day after day.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that it's living and powerful, able to save and to comfort in our greatest need. Cause our hearts to be drawn to Your Word and away from the vanity of lesser hopes. Give us the joy of feasting on Your Word on both good days and bad. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Bethany Hayes <>
Portland, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A comforting word Bethany. Thanks for sharing.

    Bethany, thank you for your devotional. It is what I needed to strengthen me today. God Bless.

    That was a very encouraging devotional. Thank you for the verses that you chose. I will be looking for more. Don’t you wish you knew the exact one he gave her?

    One of my favorite passages of hope and ultimate release from suffering is Lamentations 3:21-33.

    Bethany Hayes,
    That is a real devotional. Thank you.
    May we all be open to all of the Word, learn it, and keep growing and trusting ever more in our Lord of the Word.
    Keep writing.

    Good morning Bethany, Thank you for contributing this meditation; I found it very encouraging and uplifting. It is good to be reminded of the many promises in the scripture and other verses that are meant for our edification/comfort.
    I have always admired the work of the Navigators and their emphasis on scripture memorization and Bible study.
    Thank you once again.
    God bless you!

    Dear sister Bethany,
    What wonderful words that FATHER spoke through you, HIS vessel. How true — made me recall waking up on my motorcycle being thrown around, hanging on for dear life. I thought I was having a nightmare, but in a nano second realized I was in real time. Screamed inside my helmet, “GOD save me” several times. A calm came over me. I KNEW FATHER would. I am an experienced rider, witnessing for our LORD. This aforementioned event was added to my miracles of delivery.
    I thanked FATHER for a good life, good children living a good life, no drugs, alcohol problems and all knowing FATHER & JESUS. I told FATHER that whatever HE wanted was fine by me. I trust FATHER like the Shepard boy David did when he faced Goliath in battle.

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