Philippians 1:12-14 ESV
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
I, Susan (Sue) Jane (Thorn) Love, was born December 31, 1949, in Akron, Ohio (USA) to my parents Hugh Evan and Dorothy Thorn. I was the middle of five children. I had two older brothers and two younger sisters (who came later). My dad was an abuser, and my mom, although she was a good mom in many respects, was emotionally neglectful. But we went to the gatherings of the church pretty much every time the doors were open.
I believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at around the age of 7 at summer camp on Lake Erie (Beulah Beach Camp) in Ohio. The pavilion where we had our services, which was called “The Tabernacle,” I believe, was an open pavilion with hard benches for seating. I sat there listening to the sermon this one evening and was overcome with the weight of my sins and so I cried out to the Lord and I trusted him to save me from my sins.
Like I said, my dad was an abuser, so life at home was not good. I cried a lot! I cried out to the Lord much and he comforted me in my sorrow and in my suffering time after time after time. But there were good times, too. My parents both sang beautifully and my mom played the piano excellently, as well, so we did a lot of singing of the old hymns at home, and I had piano lessons and singing lessons and I sang at church services frequently.
I was involved with Bible clubs, and youth group, and Pioneer Girls (a Christian version of Girl Scouts), and with Youth For Christ in Junior and Senior High School and then with Intervarsity Christian fellowship in college. And then I went to home Bible studies after my husband and I were married. And we had a pastor who was a wonderful Bible teacher, so I drank in the word of God much from my childhood up through my adult years.
I met my husband at the University of Akron (in Ohio) in 1970. We dated a couple of times then, but we began serious dating in February of 1971. By August of that year we were engaged to be married, and by August of 1972 we were married. We are celebrating 50 years of marriage this coming Friday, and it has definitely been in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and for better or for worse.
Our testimonies can be read on the internet either on my third (second WordPress) blog, https://walkingwounded.blog/, or on my husband Rick’s blog, https://rdlove12.wordpress.com/. Suffice it to say, our marriage has had its difficulties, for sure. Neither one of us is perfect, mind you, but our troubles mainly have revolved around my husband’s lifetime of sexual addiction, which he believes now he is on his way out of. I hope he is.
Anyway, the point of all of this, going back to the Scripture verse, is that I want you to know, too, that the things that have happened to me in my life have definitely served to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through all that the Lord took me through, and not just with my dad, and not just with my husband, but with pastors who were abusive, and with other people in my life who treated me badly, the Lord developed within me a hunger for him.
He developed within me a passion for his word, and not intellectually, but spiritually, as is to be applied to our daily lives. Through the various “church” experiences we had (some good and some bad) he taught me much about the inner workings of the institutional church and how things are being operated today within the walls of what is called “church,” but is not the church. And he showed me that so much of this is of man and not of God.
He also revealed to me so many lies that are being propagated today in the name of Christ, in the name of Christianity, and in the name of the gospel which are not the gospel, and which are not of God, and which are deceiving the masses. And he put within me the passion to share the truth of the gospel and to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are. And he put within me a hunger for the truth of his word.
All that I have gone through in my life has all been preparation for the calling that God placed on my life back in 2004 to write down what he teaches me during my times with him in his word and then to post these writings on the internet so that a runner (or herald) could “run with it.” So, looking back over my life, and over my 50 years of marriage to my husband, and with regard to all my “church” experiences, I see God’s hand on my life.
I see how that, every step of the way, God was training me for “such a time as this” which he had planned for my life even before the creation of the world (Psalms 139:13-16; Romans 8:29; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; Ephesians 1:3-4). All the way my Savior led me. I didn’t follow him all the way, all the time, though, but then he brought me back to where I did from then on. And he has been leading me all the way ever since then.
So, why am I telling you all this? For the same reason that Paul told the Christians of his day that he wanted them to know that what happened to him really served to advance the gospel. I am convinced that if I had not gone through what I have gone through that I would not have been equipped and prepared to do the work of the ministry to which my Lord has called me in sharing the teachings of his word and of the gospel on the internet, teachings which are going to people all over the world.
And this is for your encouragement, because I know that many of you are going through difficult times, too, or you have in your past, and perhaps those experiences are still impacting you in a negative way. Perhaps you don’t understand why all those things happened to you the way that they did, and maybe you don’t see how good can come out of all that bad. So I am just sharing with you that God is our healer! And he can heal our broken hearts and he can take what Satan meant for evil and work it for good!!
Rejoice in the Lord
By Ron Hamilton
God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.
I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.
Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.
O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
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