Faith In Hard Times, part 1

Listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s daily devotionals this past spring has reminded me of my late daughter’s powerful testimony during her last few months of life here on earth.  Yes, God can use even hard experiences to strengthen our faith and our walk with our Lord.

Dr. Stanley’s In Touch Ministry has daily devotionals on radio and also available as podcasts.  The devotionals for the last few days of May are the ones that reminded me of my daughter Ronna’s actions after her doctor told us that she had only a few days, maybe a week or two, to live.

She was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in early September 2002.   Chemo, radiation treatments, and steroids partially reversed her symptoms and extended her life past the holidays into late January.  These treatments made her bald, but she temporarily regained the ability to walk with crutches.  The cancer affected her motor skills first and later, near the end, her other skills.

Ronna had two university degrees and completed several foreign language emersions programs.  This background enabled her to be fluent in four languages.  Her relatively short working career included teaching in a high school, working for NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) in Boulder, and the Boulder Post Office.  When she began to have difficulty working in the post office job, she went on medical leave, and she was living with us in Longmont.  Many tests and appointments later, we got the diagnosis.

Following her treatments, she wanted to see all her friends and relatives. She called it a Celebration of Life party.  We organized it for November 1.  This celebration included a brief program, snacks, and a lot of visiting with many photos.  Ronna loved seeing everyone and repeatedly said, “I get to see Jesus first.”    Her joy in the Lord was obvious by her smiles, pleasant conversation, and general attitude.  She displayed living God’s will by her actions.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

Late in November Ronna flew to France to visit her sister and family who lived there.  She got to see their home and the school that her nieces and nephew attended.  A friend went with her because by now she was in a wheelchair.  The two ladies also toured London for a couple of days.  They had a good time and returned home happy but tired.  This friend and Ronna’s mother were present when she passed away in our local hospice facility.

Ronna demonstrated these three points in Dr Stanley’s devotional podcast “Is Peace Possible in Bad Times?”  She had a right relationship with God.  She fixed her mind and thoughts on Jesus, not her circumstance.  She demonstrated her faith and trust in Jesus to her friends and relatives, even her relatives in France.

How to Have Peace in Bad Times

Here is the outline taken from Dr. Charles Stanley’s podcasts “Is Peace Possible in Bad Times?” (part 1 and 2).

Steps to peace, contentment, and joy:

  1. We must have faith that creates a right relationship with God.
  2. We must be focused by fixing our minds and thoughts on Jesus, not our circumstances.
  3. We must continually follow God’s will for our lives by being obedient to his calling.

What can cause us to lose our peace?

  1. When we sin.
    • Guard against occasional sinning in certain areas of our lives.
    • Completely and continuously surrender to God’s will in our lives.
  2. When we project tomorrow’s cares into today.
  3. When we doubt God’s promises.

Related posts:

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