HOPE IN CRISIS
Dr. Nell Collins
I was 29 years old, a registered nurse, finishing Bible college courses in preparation for overseas missionary ministry in Africa. The future was definitely bright, but I was miserable.
I had been saved 4 years previous to that time. When I had first asked the Lord to save me, there was a peace and quietness of heart that overwhelmed me. As I began to study God's Word, I recognized that there were some personal changes that needed to be made in my life. As I began to respond to God's Word in obedience on various issues, He continued to help me in my spiritual growth. However, some of the changes were VERY difficult ones to make.
I began to resent some of the decisions I had made in order to be obedient to Christ. Immediately, my own commitment to the Lord began to change. Where I had once thrived on the study of the Scriptures, I began to spend as little time as possible "doing devotions", and the Word of God did not seem to have any practical implications upon my daily life. My concern for souls changed, too. Where I had once had a great concern for the spiritual condition of individuals in my life, I no longer had any concerns about those eternal values. Additionally, my countenance changed drastically. I used to demonstrate the peace and joy of the Lord. Now I had become cynical and bitter, with an angry and rebellious spirit toward how God was working in my life.
When the doctor told me I had a serious form of cancer, my head reeled and I became more angry than ever before. I shook my fist at God, and told Him I would not allow this to happen to me. As I think back on it now, it is clear that I was in absolute violation of His Word, as found in Romans 9:20, when Paul said, "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why has thou made me thus?" It is no wonder that in the midst of my hostility and rebellion, there was misery and frustration, anxiety and fear.
After three days, I began to turn my thoughts toward God. I knew I had a spiritual problem, but I didn't know what it was. My thoughts went back to the Ephesian church in the book of Revelation, where, though they were seemingly living for God, He had something against them. (Revelation 2:1-5) What was it? It was that they had left their first love. It dawned on me that I had done that, as well. I had, at one point, loved the Lord completely. When did that change? It was at the point of one of the difficult decisions that I had made in order to be obedient to God's Word. As soon as I became aware of that serious problem, I confessed my sin and sought forgiveness from the Lord. He, in accordance with His Word and His faithfulness, found in 1 John 1:9, granted forgiveness and cleansed me from all my sin.
Immediately there was a return of that same sweet peace I had known formerly at the time of my salvation. What have the ensuing years of various kinds of struggles and trials taught me about the character and nature of God?
I have learned:
Second Corinthians 1:3-4 teaches that as God comforts me in all of my tribulation, I am able to extend His comfort to others. What a blessing it has been to be a missionary with cancer patients as well as others in crisis situations over the past 30 years. When I was diagnosed, I didn't know whether I would even see my 30th birthday. However, today I am celebrating my 60th birthday. I praise God for giving me time to serve Him by communicating His Word. As folks have heard the gospel, many have invited the Lord Jesus Christ in to their hearts by faith. Others have made biblical changes in their lives. Still others have drawn steadily closer to the Lord.
If you are reading this today, you too will fall into one of those three categories. Will you use this time of particular difficulty to trust Christ for your personal salvation, or to make biblical changes in your life, or to draw even closer to the Lord? I trust that these brief thoughts will point you to Christ and His Word, and accomplish His will and plan for your life-- to please God by being conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ.
You may e-mail Dr. Nell Collins at DrNellHIC@aol.com to request an informational brochure about either or both books. Please type HIC in the subject line of your e-mail.
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