I grew up in a loving Christian home. We went to church every week. I loved the pastor—he was my Dad. If something was happening at church, we were there. We had family worship every morning and evening and my Mom would sing songs about Jesus through the day. We learned the great stories of the Bible. I have loved Jesus as long as I can remember.
When I was five years old my mother had brain cancer surgery (this was in the dark ages—decades before MRIs or even CT scans!). The pathology report revealed a high grade cancer. She should have been dead in weeks to months, but in answer to prayer, she lived another 48 years before dying in her late seventies. I remember other answers to prayer—our lost dog being found and another time when our car got stuck in the mud out in the middle of no where. These incidents strengthened my trust in God.
I always had a heart that was tender for the Lord. When I was 7 or 8 I asked to be baptized, but was told by the pastor (my dad) that I was too young. I was a good kid, but I remember wondering if I was good enough because sometimes I would tease my little brother and talk back to my Mom. I hadn’t read the Bible text that says, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). As I matured, I gradually learned through prayer, Bible study and conversations with others that it was not my goodness that counted, but what Jesus had done for me. As John 3:16 makes clear, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus was good enough. He gave his life for me.
As a young teenager I developed a strong devotional life and got involved in activities to tell others about Jesus. I even considered studying to become a minister, but that was not really an option in those days. So I went to college and then became a physician.
In my practice of medicine I tried to share Jesus with my patients when it was appropriate. I remember thinking that the office was my parish and I was truly a minister to my patients. As my children started growing, I got involved in children’s ministry at the church. Later I had opportunity to minister in other areas. But always my greatest joy was seeing people come to know the Lord and mature in their faith. When I retired early from medicine in 2002, I joined the pastoral staff as a volunteer staff pastor. What a joy!
We all have struggles in our lives, some more than others. But I cannot imagine living in the world of today without the security of knowing that Jesus is my friend and that he cares for me. When problems come, I don’t have to handle them by myself. I can share my problems with God and trust him to lead in my life. Even when bad things happen I know that is not the whole story. God is love and he hurts when I hurt. My favorite text is probably John 14:1-3, Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. Jesus promises we don’t have to have troubled hearts. He has gone to heaven, but he will surely return. THAT is the rest of the story. I can’t wait to experience the end of that story and be with my friend Jesus forevermore.
Marcia Stone writes from the Pacific Northwest.
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