Fellowship lunch was over. Just as I stood up, a woman reached out and touched my jacket. “Jill, do you have a moment?”
I smiled. “Absolutely!”
“It’s my daughter. She’s been sick. I don’t have insurance—or any money.” Worry lines creased her forehead. “So I did the only thing I knew to do. I pleaded with God to bring healing to her. There was nowhere else to turn.”
You can still use me, God? Even when I don’t have all the right answers?
I caught my breath. “What happened?”
“God heard me. He healed her completely.” Her face dropped, and she stared at the floor.
“And then?” I prompted her.
“She got worse again.” Tears filled her eyes. “Why would God take away her sickness, only to have it return? If He has the power to heal, why was it temporary? I don’t understand. Why did this happen to me?”
My mind spun. A million words came to my mind, but I pushed them aside. Who was I to talk about persistence in prayer or surrender to God’s will when I had not walked in her shoes? After all, I had always been able to get medical assistance when I needed it.
I reached out and gave her a hug, praying for wisdom. As I spoke, every word felt like lead, falling to the ground at our feet. God, I’m not doing this very well, am I?
A few weeks later another hurting woman called me at work. She shared about the pain and abuse she had endured in her childhood. Twenty minutes passed, then 30. I glanced at my inbox, at the voicemails rolling through. God, I’m spending time with her, and I know she’s hurting. But is this doing any good?
She talked another 15 minutes until I finally broke in. I felt very inadequate as I thanked her for calling and tried to assure her of God’s love. She let me pray, but it still felt like nothing compared with her great need.
Later that week I was surprised to hear from her again. She picked right up where she had left off, and my heart sank. Father, I’m not really helping. Besides, You know I don’t have time for this.
When she paused for breath, I plunged ahead. “It’s always a blessing speaking with you. I need to go now, but feel free to call me again next week and finish your story if you’d like.”
She said she would, and we closed with prayer. Suddenly I realized she was crying. After a pause, she spoke. “I’ve been in the church for years, yet I’ve never spoken to a Seventh-day Adventist who showed me God’s love. I just wanted to thank you.”
Somehow I said goodbye, then bowed my head and cried. You can still use me, God? Even when I don’t have all the right answers? When I don’t react as You would?
And I heard His voice as the gentlest of whispers: That’s when I work the best. When you realize your inability and allow Me to work.
Jill Morikone is administrative assistant to the president of 3ABN, a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.