There is so much suffering in the world; my life seems a bed of roses in comparison:
I’m not living on a garbage heap.
I haven’t been persecuted or imprisoned.
I haven’t lost a child or a spouse.
I haven’t suffered debilitating disease or disfigurement.
I don’t have to work 12-14 hours a day in the tropical heat just to eat..
I usually ride instead of walk.
But—I don’t have a home. I really mind that. I don’t like moving from pillar to post. I would love to live in my own beautiful country and decorate a house and plant a garden. My heart aches from being separated so much from my now-grown kids. I miss all the special music, good teaching, and wonderful women’s activities at church. I feel the hurt of not being a part of family and friends at home who have time to call each other, keep in touch, and do fun things together—but find it harder to write a letter to far-away me. I wasn’t at my beloved mother-in-law’s bedside when she stepped into eternity. I wasn’t in the waiting room or even near a phone when my mother had her mastectomy. I’m 10,000 miles away from my sister while her son battles a deadly and rare cancer.
I’m tired of the heat and humidity and dirt and inconveniences of third world countries. I’m weary of the battle: closed ears, unresponsive hearts, hard soil to dig in and sow. The last straw on my proverbial missionary back was discovering what it was that made my cereal taste oily the last two mornings: sick cockroaches on their last leg from bug spray in the cabinets, dragging through my bowl before I took it out for breakfast. The thought almost did me in.
In comparison to the true heroes of the faith down through the halls of time, I know my sufferings are small. My trials are insignificant, not worthy to be mentioned on the same page. But they are mine. They’re what I’ve experienced. I didn’t choose or plan them. But by faith I can embrace them: my opportunity to show you, Lord, that no matter what comes in life, I love you. You are enough for me. When better to demonstrate that than when the comforts of life are stripped away.
Others have much more to give, better stories to tell, more impressive ways to show their devotion. But like the widow in the temple, I drop in my tow mites. They are all I have. I offer them to you, Lord. And I remember your delight that day so long ago when someone like me did the same. I’m glad such small things can make you happy!
But like the widow that day—I have nothing left. I am drained. I have nothing to sustain me. Nothing to eat today. I am at your mercy, Father of widows. Fill my cup.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none on earth I desire besides you. When I awake in the morning, I will be satisfied to see your face.
This article is a classic originally published in our early print magazines.