Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Take Up Thy Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 8:54 – Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, "My child, get up!" (NLT)
The following is my friend Joyce Augustson's story.
- I felt hopeless and alone in 1940s Arkansas, and I wasn't close to my mother. We weren't the poorest of poor, but many of the children I knew didn't have shoes and wore rags for clothing. I could identify with the "negro" children, as people called African Americans then, because I was treated much the same way. I knew right from wrong, and my heart was pained for the children who were mistreated, bullied, and not accepted. I was shy and withdrawn, and I guess I took the treatment because I thought I deserved it.
My aunt "Chester", whose real name was Ella, was very kind to me. I had always felt good with Chester, who wore her big-brimmed bonnet tied in a bow underneath her chin. She made me healthy food to eat. I especially loved her custard pudding, and I would say, "Custard, Chester," and she would bring out a dish of her special recipe for me. She read her Bible every day, and as I recall, she was the one who taught me about Jesus. Then, when I was twelve, for some reason, Mom forbade me to see her any more. My heart was broken.
I didn't understand who Jesus was then, but I'd learned enough from Chester that I imagined Him holding my hand. That comforted me. Wherever I went, I believed that Jesus was walking beside me. I began to trust Jesus more and accepted Him as my Saviour. Like me, we can all trust Jesus as our comforter and our strength.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the Aunt Chesters in the world who touch our hearts. In our loneliness and despair, Jesus, take us by the hand, and say, "My child, get up!" Thank You that You are always with us so that we never have to feel alone. Amen.