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If Southern Baptists had Saints (not the generic type of which we all are, of course), the kind that some denominations venerate, my mother would have been a candidate for sure.  Barbra Ellen Martens was born in 1932 in Union OH.  It was during the depths of the Depression.  Her parents were moving from Chicago because of job loss and lack of work.  My grandfather, Finn Martens, was an AC man who had installed air conditioning in Chicago skyscrapers.  He moved his family out of the city, looking for a better life. 

They ended up in Owensboro Kentucky.  My mom never talked much about her childhood, except for the fact that times were hard.  When she was 7 years old, she attended a vacation bible school at 7 Hills Baptist Church.  During that week of bible school, she accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized.  My mother was the only professing Christian in her family for many years. She was faithful to the Lord and her church until the day she died. Before she passed away in 1983 her mother and her sister both accepted Christ as their savior.  My mother’s witness and life were a major influence in their decisions. 

My mom didn’t learn to drive until she was an adult. She never went to college even though she had a partial scholarship to the music school at KU in Lawrence KS.  She moved to Kansas and decided she needed to work for a year before starting her education.  She started her job at Hercules Munitions and met my dad on her first day of work.  Six months later, they were married.  Nine years later she had six children, two girls and four boys.  My dad and mom both ended up working at Bendix in Kansas City MO.  Although she worked full-time, she was always there for us kids and worked hard at making and keeping our home going.

I remember the first time she knew her health was impaired.  We were painting the dining room in our house in Peculiar MO.  She was using a chair to reach a spot on the wall and screamed for help.  It seems that when she stood up on the chair, she experienced weakness and dizziness that was not normal nor was it expected. My parents spent the next year or so searching for an answer to her increasing debilitations.  After many tests, the doctors scheduled a spinal tap.  It was in the spinal fluid that the diagnosis was found.  My mother had MS or multiple sclerosis. 

I have met people over the years who had MS.  Some used the diagnosis to “check out” of life and responsibilities.  Others, like my mom, did everything they could to maintain a normal life. As the disease progressed I witnessed my mother’s world become smaller and smaller until it was reduced to a twin hospital bed that we proudly placed in the living room of our home.  My mom was the center of our home until the day she died.

As long as my mother could stand she sang in the choir.  As long as she could hold a pen she wrote a monthly newsletter to our college bound youth.  She baked and cooked with help even when she was in the wheelchair.  She prayed the longest prayers of anyone I have ever known. Her bible was well worn.  When all she could do was lay in bed, she prayed and we read her Bible to her. 

I thought for many years that my mother’s pain was unique.  The longer I serve Him the more scripture and experience show me how very wrong I was.  Pain in not unique to some it is the norm for everyone who is called by His Name.  Pain is not a punishment. Rather, pain is doled out to us in measure by a loving Heavenly Father who will do whatever it takes to make us into the image of His Son and to prepare us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. 

So, where are you today on the pain spectrum? Maybe you like me are trying to find ways to squirm out of the pain.  Or maybe you are in rebellion against pain, thinking God is punishing you.  Maybe you have set up an “idol” in your life and are worshipping that “idol” instead of a perfectly holy and lovely God.  I have given a bunch of scriptures below.  They cover a wide variety of issues but their main focus is to help us sort through our pain and find God’s plan.  I encourage you to read through these in the next few days.  Let them soak in.  Let them feed your soul.  Let God draw you to Himself through His word.



Isaiah 30:20-21

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

1 Peter 5:10

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Philippians 4:5-7

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

2 Cor 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

1 Peter 1:6-7

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Psalm 30:5

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.