From Suffering to Blessing

Susan Payne

November 21st, 2017 @ 9:42 am

“What? My hip-replacement surgery has been postponed again? What am I to do?” Frustrated, confused and even discouraged, I cried to the Lord for help.

Since May, when it was confirmed that bone is rubbing against bone in my hip, I have sought relief from the progressive, debilitating pain. Twice, surgery dates were set and cancelled. Even as I write, the third scheduled surgery date is in danger of being canceled by my insurance provider. Hobbling around with a cane is not how I want to live my life. I want to run and play with my granddaughter! But for now, I am waiting. I can’t see behind the curtains of spiritual warfare that surround my life.

During a recent staff day, AFM personnel were asked to write the highs and lows of AFM’s 32-year history on sticky notes and place them on a timeline drawn across two large whiteboards. As we all placed our bright-green “high” notes and pink “low” notes along the timeline, two things became clear. First, our memories of the recent past far outnumbered those of decades past. Second, the times of our darkest lows were followed by incredible outpourings of God’s blessing. For example, AFM deeply grieved the death of missionary John Lello in 2012. Out of the horrible pain of this loss, God raised up David and Edie Hicks, tugging on their hearts to fill the vacancy left by John’s death. Since then, the people in that remote area of Papua New Guinea have been responding to the three angels’ messages in unprecedented numbers. Hundreds of new converts are being discipled into new faith and life.

The events of 2017 seem like a parade of disasters and human tragedies, not only in the United States, but around the world: hurricanes, earthquakes, ethnocides, human trafficking, and mass killings. We cannot see behind the curtain of spiritual warfare, but we must trust our God to “work all things together for good for those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). Only He has the power to save!
Trusting when you can’t see the end result is an exercise of faith, especially if it involves personal pain. But over and over God brings good from pain and suffering to further His kingdom. As you read this, spiritual battles rage at our AFM projects, where the carnage is very real. You have the power to fight this battle alongside us. Through your prayers and financial support, people who once had no hope can now cling to the Lord, mighty in battle, and be saved.

Now, more than ever, your gifts can impact eternity. People are searching for answers. Will you give them Hope?