Margie – Suffering creates perseverance

Growing up as a young girl in Scotland,during the 1940s-50s was a very different era. Everyone went to Church on Sunday. However I could see in many ways we were hypocrites. Our hearts were far from God. We had a veneer of outward righteousness but were not really following Jesus in our lives. I decided to read the Bible. People at the time ridiculed or teased me for it. In my own stubbornness I decided to read anyway,  it was enjoyable. I did not understand much of what was written though. Faith seemed to grow in me as God willed it. I always believed God existed and tried to do my best to not be sinful.

My upbringing was strict. I remember being quite a proud young woman who thought herself better than others. I was gifted in many ways.

At a young age I fell in love with a man and got engaged, however became pregnant before the marriage. This was sacrilege at the time (1950s) and I was shunned by my family and the local church. This hurt me terribly. I remember walking out of a church after the Pastor had rebuked me for my circumstances. I looked up at the sky and said “God I believe in you but not in your servants” It would be fifty eight years later before entering a church as part of the congregation again.

Once married I followed my husband and  loved him dearly. I no longer visited church but had faith, If you ask was I saved, I cannot answer that truthfully, only God could tell you. God was always there to help me in many struggles, we had three sons and our family had many problems due to chasing money and the world. We also drank. Eventually my husband’s health deteriorated and he suffered two heart attacks before we immigrated to Australia. Again I believed in God but was not really following Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. To me keeping the ten commandments meant you were a good person. I contracted bladder cancer and remember saying I am not going to die, God will save me. After two years of treatment I was cured, it was a difficult journey that taught me perseverance through suffering.

Looking back God was simply working on my heart. Teaching me what it really meant to love. My husband suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his left side. God’s strength was there for me. I nursed him for six years and cried a river. Every morning I asked God to be with me as I went into my beloved’s room to wake him. The Apostle Paul writes that suffering creates perseverance and character – it certainly does.

When my husband took a stroke I relied on God a lot, there was many answers to prayer and help came often. However it was God on my own terms as I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God was helping me, I have no doubt of that, however, if you asked me who God was and what was he like I would have had problems answering your question.

Once whilst crying out for help my beliefs were powerfully confirmed that God existed.  It occurred whilst putting my husband’s motorised wheelchair into our car. We had a little ramp made that helped me drive it into the back of our station wagon. I was sixty five at the time. The wheelchair began to fall off the ramp and I was literally holding it with all my strength. Stopping it from falling. It was very heavy and my strength was failing. Meanwhile my husband in his illness was screaming in frustration from the front seat and I was stressed greatly. I cried out in sheer desperation – “God Help me!”.

Almost immediately a distinguished well dressed man appeared. He was in an immaculate business suit right down to shined shoes. He leaned forward placing his finger over his lips and quietly asked “How can I help you?” I motioned at the wheelchair that was balancing precariously on the ramp’s edge. He effortlessly lifted the chair back on for me. I then steered the chair into the back of the car. Turning to thank the man he was gone. No sign of him at all. As we were in a shopping centre car park I would have seen him walking away. There was nothing.

I know it was an angel of God, even thinking of it makes me emotional and I begin to cry. God sent an angel to help me.

My youngest son was saved powerfully by God. He was thirty seven at the time. God freed him from drugs and alcohol and he went on to become a missionary and a Pastor! His faith was contagious, fiery and very committed. God used my son to introduce me to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. It happened gradually, almost naturally. No thunder clap or hand in the air committing to a Pastor’s request or altar call. I knew this is the God who has helped me all these years. I had memorised John 3:16 at a young age and it came flooding back to me. God’s son was why I was saved. God loved me. He always had. He gave his son Jesus to save all of us.

Smiling Margie

Today I am a spritely eighty one. Fit and healthy and running a Gospel Choir. God uses me to help people in many ways. By prayer and in action. Two of my friends have physically crippling diseases and I am able to help them and their families through the experience  learnt from my late husband. God works for the good of those who love him.

The suffering in my life has taught me compassion for those who suffer. God has delivered me from every trial and test and remains the strength in my bones and wind in my sails. I now read the Bible daily, visit church regularly and see the world through the eyes of Jesus. Often His Spirit simply fills me with a joy and a love that surpasses everything I have known. Life still has struggles, even at eighty one, however – God is our strength.