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Illness and joy

December 2000 | by Jeanella Macphie

North Uist
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I was born 53 years ago in Ness (Isle of Lewis) to loving, godly parents. When I was two my father, who was a Free Church of Scotland missionary, was sent to Grimsay (North Uist) where he served for five years.

These were happy days, although there were no roads, cars, electricity or running water. With four children to care for, life was not easy for my parents. Nevertheless, family worship was always held in our home and thanks given to the Lord for every bite we ate and drank.

Broken promises

When I was fourteen we came to Skye, where I attended church twice on Sundays and the midweek prayer meeting. I loved to hear God’s Word preached and I promised myself every Sunday that I would try to be a better person. When Monday came, however, I felt the pull of worldly things again.

I left school to start work at 15. Although I continued going to church, the gospel did not have the same effect as before. A large part of this period of my life must have ‘No admittance to God’ written across it. However, I adored my father, and the Lord used this to restrain my actions.

Isle of Skye
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In 1969 I married and we had two sons. My husband had his own croft in Skye, with cattle and sheep. Interest in church waned, though we still attended on Sunday evenings. When our youngest son was nine months old, I became seriously ill and underwent major surgery.

Assailed by doubts

For days I lay, not knowing whether I would live or die. People prayed at my bedside, though I was too weak to take notice. I knew that if I were to die I would go to a lost eternity. Tears of true repentance began to flow. Self was forced to take a back seat and I committed everything to Jesus Christ.

Yet I was assailed by doubts and fears. After leaving hospital, would I be like the nine lepers who, when healed by Jesus, did not return to thank him? For a whole year, Satan used all kinds of things to keep me in that state of mind. I had not then fully grasped the truth that Christ saves freely, ‘by grace … through faith’.

I spent three months in hospital and told no one of the way I felt spiritually. At that time my father was a missionary in Wester Ross. I was still feeling very low, both physically and spiritually, so I went there to recover.

Darkness gone

One Sunday evening I felt well enough to go to church. The service was held in an old hall with hard wooden benches. But God was there! The text was ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33).

Everything became clear. The hard wooden benches did not matter – the darkness was gone and all I could do was weep tears of joy. That day is as fresh in my mind today as it was 26 years ago.

There has been much illness in my life since then, but I can say with conviction that God has never left me. There are times when my heart is cold towards him, but he has remained faithful. My earnest prayer is that all my family and loved ones will come to know my Saviour.

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Evangelistic