The apostle Paul said he had learned to be content in whatever state he was in. He said to be anxious for nothing, but give thanks in everything and when we have that attitude, we will know the peace of God. I knew a wonderful example of that. Her name was Martha.
I worked for a physician and Martha was a patient there. A very gracious lady and one known for her baking, she would often bring to us her specialty, a five-flavor pound cake. It could brighten any busy day.
Martha had grown up in an affluent home, but her married life was one of ups and downs. Her husband was given to taking great investment risks, some said all with the money she had inherited. A time came when he risked too much and they lost everything they had. This kind lady lost her family home – the one she had lived in all her life – and everything in it.
Not long after their plight became public knowledge, she called to say she needed to come in for an examination. She said they wanted to cash in a life insurance policy and it required a physician’s statement that she was no longer able to bear children. They had grown children and the policy secured the money for their inheritance, but also for any future heirs. Their children had released the binder on the inheritance and now she needed proof that there would be no danger of a future heir’s protest. Martha was approaching 70. We saw it as insult upon insult.
We were nervous about her visit. It was a small town and there were no secrets so she would come knowing we knew of their severe loss. How did we greet her? Pretend nothing was wrong? Hope we could just fake it through to help her preserve dignity? And the terrible offense of having to submit her body for a pointless examination had us all riled.
The day came for her visit and I can still remember how tense we all were. We loved Martha and were concerned about this ultimate embarrassment. But as soon as she was in the door, we knew we had far under-estimated her. She came in laughing at such a ridiculous request by the insurance company; she just thought it was all very funny. And with her came one of her famous cakes. She apologized that it was a little lopsided but she had borrowed the mixer and oven of a friend and was unfamiliar with both. She made the remark as if it was quite normal to produce a cake in this manner. And, Martha’s husband was with her. There was no tension between them; rather, she seemed perfectly delighted with his company.
Some in the town mumbled that Martha had lost her mind since no one mentally intact could behave as she did in view of all she had lost. But I never saw that. I saw a godly woman who was living out the scriptures, a woman who loved and trusted God. She was refusing to live as the world would choose for her. Martha had obviously forgiven her husband and accepted the tremendous blow to her life. She walked on in faith and in practice, with the peace that comes from believing God’s word. She is one of my spiritual giants.