Written by Apprentice Alex Schubert, Worthing
*disclaimer – all names have been changed to maintain privacy
“I thought about you guys often,” Millie said during our first time back at Beginner’s Bible Study. She was away with family and her mother-in-law was suffering from cancer. It was a difficult time for her family, but she said she kept remembering the things we talked about in our Bible study. She began to express her pain of helping her mother-in-law through this dark time but remembered how we talked about God being there in the suffering and triumphing over evil with good by drawing us near to Him through suffering. This is the core of the gospel – Christ Jesus was forsaken on the cross so that we are never forsaken. This is the truth she clung in the shadow of death. In this darkness, Millie experienced a warm, life-giving light.
Millie began to cry, telling us she never thought it was possible to forgive her mother-in-law for the hurt she caused when Millie and her family decided to move away to England. The suffering her mother-in-law went through with cancer brought her to a place to apologize to Millie, and when she did, Millie found a power to forgive just as Christ had forgiven her. As Millie was saved by Jesus during this Bible study just a couple of months before this event, one of her main concerns she continued to bring up is that she would never be able to forgive because there was too much anger, bitterness, and hurt towards her mother-in-law. She was now crying with joy that it was possible. She had experienced forgiveness that lifted her out of the weight of resentment because of the power of Christ’s forgiveness.
We reminded Millie that the reason she was able to forgive was because she proclaimed that Jesus was her Lord just a couple months ago. Because she knew the forgiveness for her sins from Jesus personally and truly, she was then able to forgive. This is something Christians and even many in western Christian cultures that are non-Christians remarkably take for granted. To forgive is completely contrary to humanity and an impossibility apart from Christ’s profound example and teaching that has changed the world. This was a beautiful time to rejoice together and see fruit from the teachings of Christ in such a potent way. She exclaimed, “This is way better than therapy!” Now Millie is continuing in Bible study, attending church via livestream, and invited another friend to join the Bible study.
As we serve in ministry here in the UK during a pandemic, we were concerned that opportunities would dry up for evangelism and discipleship. It has been on the contrary. Though there are many limitations, the Lord has simply called us to be faithful with what is before us. So, we continued to make the most of what He had given us, and this experience that Millie went through has brought tears to our eyes, bound us close to her as true friends, and shown us the glory of Christ in a much more beautiful way because of the present circumstances. Throughout the uncertainty of wondering if God is working and amidst the despair of all the ways we thought He wasn’t working, He providentially and lovingly revealed Himself as the God whom we remembered – the God who transforms, saves, and forgives in Christ.