Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
I did not have a burning-bush experience like many I know. I just grew up having faith from as far back as I can remember. But my faith was deeply shaken and challenged in my early thirties as a result of an accident and a string of losses, all in a two-year time frame.
What had appeared to be a benign accident (a fall) was the beginning of a seemingly unending nightmare for my family and me. I had been a high-energy, athletic mother of three, but suddenly I was a victim, suffering acute and apparently incurable pain. I was unable to care for my family and could not even lift my two-year-old daughter. In the midst of that my husband's forty-year-old brother died of cancer, and six weeks later my father, a doctor, died suddenly of a heart attack. For the first time in my life I questioned my faith and my reliance on God. As a child I had grown up believing that between my father and God, anything could be healed. In my grief and pain it seemed both had abandoned me.
In my darkest hour, overwhelmed with fatigue and pain, I questioned whether I wanted to go on living. Alone and weeping in my closet so my children would not see me, I cried out to God to make himself known to me, to throw me a lifeline. While I did not get a sign at that moment, within one week I was directed to the right doctors, diagnosed, and had the first of five reconstructive surgeries on my jaws—surgeries that would continue over the next twenty years. I was so relieved to find an answer, and I know that God carried me there. I had absolutely no fear ever again that I was alone, even through years of medical challenges. New to my church at the time, I found the lifeline I was seeking in the form of people, people who cared for me, and people who cared for my husband and my children—not just once but every time there was a need over the next twenty years. I committed my life to ministry during my first six-month rehabilitation period, offering to God my gift of thanks and promising that I, in turn, would be a lifeline for others.
I would not have chosen my journey as a means to growth, but I must admit that I have grown into who I am today as a result of the hurt—and the healing that comes through God's grace and faithfulness.
– Sue Malloy
When have I felt the grace and mercy of God in a time of great challenge or sorrow? Who has God placed in my life as that "lifeline" in times of great need?
Father God, thank you for your promise to walk with us through the valley and in the darkness. All I have needed your hand has provided. I know that you will never abandon me, and it is on that truth that I am able to stand during my times of sorrow.
"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which aIl men have some."
– Charles Dickens
Copyright Tyndale House Publishers.
Used by permission.
When you're responsible for the spiritual guidance of others, admitting doubt can feel like admitting defeat. But doubt is not the enemy of faith. By learning to admit, address, and even embrace the most difficult questions, your ministry can more effectively reach the many who privately wonder the same things. This resource is designed to help you address spiritual doubt in your own life and ministry, or to walk alongside another as they struggle with doubt.