Your Only Comfort


Written into our very being is the basic need to belong. The good news of the gospel is that we do belong to a loving Savior who suffered that we might have eternal life.


For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 

— Romans 14:7-8, NLT

As I waited in a dimly-lit hospital hallway for our son to finish his first MRI—the one that followed the incidental discovery of a “something” on his brain, my mind turned to the first question from the Heidelberg Catechism: 

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

I had pondered the answer just days before our son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A slew of family members had suffered illness and loss: my mother, my father-in-law, and my uncle had all suffered significant health issues. As I prayed that the Lord would comfort my family members, I recalled the Heidelberg’s proclamation of hope, based on Romans 14:7-8:

My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

How odd it seems at first that comfort comes from knowing that we don’t belong to ourselves. In the 21st century, much emphasis is placed on our autonomy. We are taught to value the idea of not being owned or directed by anyone. And yet, as the apostle Paul explains in Romans 14:7, the assurance that we belong to the Lord eases our fears about life and death. Written into our very being is the basic need to belong. The good news of the gospel is that we do belong to a faithful and loving Savior who suffered so that we might have new life and eternal life. In Christ, whether we live or die, we honor the Lord. This reality brings us peace and comfort as we live in the uncertainty of the waiting room. 


Lord, you are a loving and good Father Who has claimed us as Your own. Thank you for giving us Your comfort as we wait – the knowledge that we and our precious ones belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to be confident that whether we live or die, we do so for Your glory. May that knowledge bring surpassing peace. In the name of Your Son who died for us, we pray. Amen. 


Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Job 12:10; Acts 17:27-28.

Read Heidelberg Catechism, Question #1.
For Reflection: What brings you comfort as you endure this wait? 

©2019 Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage. Please do not reprint without permission from the author.

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