"Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate."
A faded little bungalow stood on the corner of the avenue that led to a still little town. Rooms were petite, with little shelves for books and whatnots, a cozy brick fireplace graced the living room, an unfitted kitchen provided opportunity for imagination. The tiny little bedrooms gave just enough room for their requirements, especially for my toddlers, who found their slanted floor a perfect place to exercise their childhood dreams and play.
We regarded the green vinyl floors that embellished most rooms as a minor nuisance. We scrubbed and polished, then finding large carpet remnants with fringed edging and a few braided rugs, softened the cold surfaces. We learned to live with a swelling in the floor that bestowed our living room with an unsightly distortion, which provided our children with unique advantages. And we became accustomed to the sounds and sights of cars and people passing by, who were frequent and always within reach of our windows.
Despite its imperfections and discomforts, the wee parsonage was home and seemed a warm refuge as my husband faithfully executed his young ministry. We were simply thankful to have a dwelling and spent sundry hours, loving our sons, nourishing our marriage, and devoting our hearts to our Savior.
My husband spent many hours at the church, a small, white, common place of worship, whose door measured about fifty footsteps from our own back threshold. Oh, the joy my little sons had upon seeing their father walk across the lawn toward home each day! "Daddy!" "Daddy!" "Daddy!" "Daddy's coming!" "Daddy's coming!" They jumped and squealed with delight and were waiting at the door as he entered. It thrilled their hearts, and my husband's, and mine, and was the highlight of our day. Our home was humble, our furnishings meager, and our income small, but our hearts knew the love of Jesus Christ and the blessedness and comfort of having one another.
God's love for us and his excellent grace provide us with everything we need. Through His bountiful blessings, we find contentment and peace in every trial and situation. His Holy Spirit teaches us, through the word of God, through the circumstances of our lives, and our relationships, how to endure hardships, financial trials, and discontent. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (I Peter 4:12 - 13, NKJV).
My suffering during that early time of our ministry cannot be compared to those of Christ's. Yet, I did endure many heartaches and difficulties as a young pastor's wife of twenty-two. Certainly, there were many stings and arrows from those in the church, as well as my own personal tragedy with miscarriage and homesickness.
As a very young woman, a wife and mother, separated hundreds of miles from my mother and family, I did not, at that time understand the pain. But no money could ransom the suffering and obscurity of those hours. They remain invaluable to me. They eternally altered my life. For I learned to entrust my soul to my Strong and Mighty Tower. I discovered the power of pouring out my heart to El Roi, the responder to needs. I found the reality of knowing the Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor. And not having a dad of my own, I learned to cry "Abba, Father."
Truly, the glory of Jesus Christ is only a dream without the reality of pain. My prayer is that I will continue to rest in his faithfulness and look for him in every corner of my life, waiting, trusting, believing, knowing, that just as a shabby little house, the afflictions of a young pastor's wife, the heartbreak of miscarriage, and the loneliness of homesickness shaped my eternal destiny, further trials will continue to conform me to His likeness, so that I can reflect His glory, and one day see my Savior face to face.
My dear, dear friends, continue in the hope and the blessed word of God this day. Find him in every corner of your lives, and rest in His promise to never fail you or leave you. He is working everything you experience for your good in Him. Christ in you is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).