Those of us who enjoy historical fiction are also very thankful that we don't actually live "in the good old days," and one of the reasons is modern medecine. I remember the day when my children were learning Nebraska history and I told them that, if we lived in the late 1800s, only one of them would be alive. Three of the four darlings pictured at the right back in our home-schooling days would have been lost to illnesses that, today, are honestly "no big deal," thanks to that gooey pink stuff called Amoxicillin and 'wondermous' things like IV antibiotics.
My heart has mourned with pioneer mothers. I've shed real tears over words like these, "our little daughter was taken from us. I had borne all, or tried to, without murmuring until now. This trial, this great sorrow. How could I bear it?"
In the writing of Sixteen Brides, I was challenged to find bona fide treatment for a compound fracture that wouldn't require amputation. Happily, I was able to find a "new" treatment documented in a German medical paper from the era that allowed rancher Lucas Gray to keep his leg. But that was the exception rather than "the rule" back then.
Over a century has passed since the days my imaginary friends inhabit, and so many more sick people survive than they did "in the good old days," but we still have to contend with disappointment when it comes to medical issues. That happened for our family back in 2001, when my husband Bob graduated to heaven after a five and a half year encounter with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Twenty-two days before Bob's departure, he taught Sunday School. His lesson that day was titled, "What God has Taught Me." Here are some of the things Bob shared. I hope they encourage you with whatever difficulty you may be facing.
"Through cancer and the process of dying, God has taught me that I am on earth to:
- Be a light to the world, revealing Jesus Christ, all that He is and all that He has done, by what I say about how I live my life. Ephesians 5:8-10
- Trust Him, His purpose in trials and suffering is for His glory and my good. 1 Corinthisans 6:20, John 16:14, Romans 8:28.
- Conform to the character of His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Corinthiasn 3:18; Philippians 3:21; Romand 8:29-30)
- Be shaped. Trials and difficult circumstances are tools in the hand of God used over time to shape me into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:29-30, 3:10; John 16:33, 15:2; James 1:2-4; Galatians 5:22.
- Prove my faith in Him. Job 23:10; Psalms 66:10
- Provide visible and genuine evidence to the world of my faith in Him through each trial. Job 23:10
- Continue trustying and obeying Him, through adversity and not grumble, murmur, or complain about it. I Corinthians 10:9,10; Philippians 2:14.
- Strengthen my faith muscles. Romans 10:17
- Develop enduring strength for greater usefulness. Hebrews 12:7-11
- Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
- Learn to view adversity from God's perspective, through His Word. Philippians 3:7-11; Job 2:10, 23:10.
I'm humbled and amazed by the faith that saints sometimes exhibit when life and this fallen world throw terrible things their way. But they give me hope. If they could do it ... maybe I can, too.
May you be encouraged today by pioneers and brothers in Christ who faced some of the worst ... and responded in the best way possible.
P.S. The kids on the haystack are doing great (praise Him).........here's proof.