I read this excerpt in a book I've been reading lately, By Searching by Isobel Kuhn. While I have yet to finish this book I have found it so far a really edifying and helpful autobiography to read, so I highly recommend that if you ever have a chance, you get ahold of a copy and read it! This particular story of one missionary girl and her spouse really helped me to see how to respond to suffering.
"Edna met Ellis when he was on his first furlough, and found him her ideal. He was a young man of deep devotion and consecration, and together they went to China to the South Gate section of Nanking city.The next year they went for their vacation to beautiful Kuling, a famous mountain resort, where there is a pool and good swimming, also many lovely walks.One morning they had decided on a swim - both were expert swimmers. As they left their tent they heard a cry from the pool. Ellis immediately ran and dived in to the rescue- a young missionary had caught a cramp and gone down. He was successful and saved her life, but he himself disappeared. Then Edna dived in to search for Ellis. As time dragged on and she could not find him, one can imagine the terror and anguish of her feelings. Theirs had been an ideal and wonderful union. Diving, searching, she did not notice that her body was being bruised and battered against rocks. Ellis - that was all she thought of. Finally, she saw his body washed up behind a little waterfall. Again she dived, reached him, dragged his body with her and got it to shore. But life had gone.Exhausted she sank on a tree stump and covered her face with her hands.A few minutes later she happened to look up and saw some Chinese...standing terrified with the dead man before them. Quickly she approached them and explained that the body on the ground was not her Ellis - that he was safe with God; and she preached Christ to them.Edna's own body had taken such a severe beating that she was sent to the hospital and later advised to take a short furlough. Ellis's insurance money was enough to bring her to the Firs for the summer,and the Conference Council had asked her to lead the young people's meetings. We never knew what it was costing her to set aside her daily heart-break and be our cherry, radiant Bible teacher. Years later Mrs Whipple told me how she would go to the Council and tell them she could not continue, but they would promise to pray for her, and back she would come to us." ~ By Searching by Isobel Kuhn, p.37-38
This made me ask myself, how do I respond to trials in my life, and most, if not all, are nothing compared to what Edna had to go through! Do I become wrapped up in self-pity, or do I see even the trials as a means of talking to others about the Lord and demonstrating that He can give me a joy and peace that is beyond comprehension? This highlighted to me yet again how important it is that we be asking the Lord to use us through our trials to point others to Him, and that we do not know what impact our lives may be having upon others. This was a real challenge to me! I pray that were I faced with such an ordeal, the Lord would enable me to look to Him first and foremost!