She was a dear friend, a pillar of the women’s ministries, even had an apartment in her house where missionaries often stayed and were refreshed. She was a wonderful blend of Martha and Mary. Now she lay in her last weeks of life, content even though unable to do anything for anyone including herself.
I was at the time in my 40’s, active in ministry with my pastor husband, and a full time, public school teacher receiving accolades for teaching struggling high schoolers to read, write and pass their state exams. At the same time, I was working as a volunteer chaplain at the local juvenile detention center, seeing kids in difficulty drawn to Jesus.
Life was good, I was riding a wave of success, but I knew from my friend’s approaching death that it was temporary and that my current joy lay in all the good things I was seeing the Lord do around me and through me, things that I would not be able to continue into old age. And so, I prayed, “Lord, I want a faith that will sustain me, keep me content just to be in you, with you even when my Martha’s heart can do nothing.”
Although I didn’t know at the time, I was asking for a deep, abiding walk with Jesus, that which Matthew Henry refers to as the Pearl of Great Price “a Jewel of inestimable value which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, toward God.”
In the following months God answered that prayer when my husband, a much-loved Bible teacher, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. His care, although willingly given, ended my career, ministry, and health as I cared for him day and night until his death. Although I was a mere shell of what I had been, over time I began to notice an increased awareness of His presence, an unshakable confidence in the love of God that would see me through life’s trials and by His grace, even unto death.