A short story about how God uses our suffering in order to shape us.
For as long as she could remember, Autumn was very self-sufficient. She had always trusted in her own abilities and considered herself well above the average person. She excelled in school and was very capable of accomplishing anything she would put her mind to.
She was in her twenties now, already living on her own as she studied management and worked a part-time job as a nanny. She didn’t have many friends because her time did not permit that but she didn’t really feel the need to connect. Besides, she didn’t want to use her precious time on anything other than studying and working.
Across from her apartment lived an elderly lady who seemed to have a hard time managing on her own but who was always very friendly to Autumn, which caused her to rush inside or outside when she was going out or coming in because she didn’t want to have to stop for a chat. What would she have in common with an elderly person anyways?
As she was locking her door one morning, the lady opened her own door to step out and they were face to face.
“Hello.” The lady said politely.
“Hi…” Came Autumn’s disinterested reply.
“I’ve been meaning to introduce myself. I am Joyce. What is your name young lady?” The lady looked intently at Autumn.
“It’s Autumn. It’s nice meeting you. I will see you around the complex as I need to get to classes.” Autumn was turning to go down the stairs.
“Take care of yourself!” Joyce watched her as she left. She felt her heart being stirred as she prayed, “God, please watch over Autumn. If she doesn’t know you, help her experience You.”
A few months had passed as Autumn went busily about her life. As she was sitting in class one day, she suddenly found herself unable to focus on what the teacher was saying. Blaming it on the interrupted sleep she had the night before, she didn’t think much of it.
That night she had a really strong headache and she grew a little worried as she took some pain medicine. Her exams were coming up and she seemed to have more and more difficulty concentrating and she feared that she wouldn’t be able to retain much of what she tried to study.
On the day of one of her exams as she was staring at the paper in front of her, she suddenly blacked out. When she opened her eyes, she was on the floor and a few of her classmates were hovering over her with worried looks on their faces. When she regained her strength and assured everyone that she was okay, she was sent to the nurse who advised her to go see a doctor the next day.
She called her doctor the next morning and was able to make an appointment. When she described her symptoms to her, the doctor assigned her to some tests.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Her doctor’s face was more serious than she’d ever seen.
“What…do you mean…?” Autumn’s voice was shaking but she tried to control it.
“We found a tumor on your brain. I’m really sorry Autumn. We will do everything we can to get rid of it. You have my promise.”
She left the doctor’s office in a daze. After she got home and silently put her keys on the counter, she sank beside it. Autumn couldn’t believe this was happening. Her life was suddenly put on hold in the midst of her youth. She felt like she was sinking in an abyss of confusion and darkness.
The symptoms worsened by the day and soon she was forced to put her education on hold because she had to deal with the blow of the chemotherapy. Before moving in with her parents so they could look after her, she knocked on her neighbor’s door, Joyce.
Her kind face quickly appeared and she invited Autumn to come inside. Joyce was aware of her illness by now and was genuinely concerned about the outcome of her cancer.
“Autumn, honey, how are you coping?”
“The chemo has taken a toll on my body and I seem to lose more and more of my independence. I will be moving to live with my parents shortly. That’s why I wanted to stop by and say goodbye.”
“I am very grateful you did and I’ve been wanting to give you this.” She was holding a book size package that was neatly wrapped in gift paper.
Autumn took it thankfully and soon after she returned to her apartment. After she closed the door, the tears started to flow again and she could see everything so clearly now. How arrogant she used to be and how she would dismiss Joyce. And now, this stranger was being so kind to her and even gave her a gift. She tore at the paper and saw that inside was a white Bible. How strange, she never really owned one. She opened it and inside it said, “To Autumn, may it bring true hope and healing to your life. From your neighbor, Joyce.”
That night she started leafing through it, her eyes falling on certain passages that seemed to speak directly to her situation. After moving in with her parents, she continued to read. This book was her lifeline, she had no idea that such comfort and hope could be found within the pages of a book that she used to scorn.
As her strength failed little by little she would humble herself every day before God and pray to Him with simplicity and ease. She felt her heart changing as she repented of her arrogance and acknowledged God as the source of every ability she ever had. Her parents had noticed a peace about her and she would often tell them about God’s ability to heal. She prayed every day that He would make her whole.
Two years had passed and one morning when she woke up, she was able to get up much quicker than before when she needed to allow her body to adjust to the change in position by sitting up a few minutes because of her nausea. Was she feeling better? She truly was. In fact, every day, she would improve in some way. First, her balance improved, then her headaches left completely. And the improvements continued. She went to see her doctor, who by this time had little hope in her recovery.
“The tests came in, Autumn. You are tumor free!” The doctor was still in shock as she announced it.
“This is God!” Autumn had tears of joy streaming down her face. “I know He healed me.”
Driving home, she thanked God for her illness and for the change God worked in her through such tremendous suffering. He sustained her through it all and used every bit of her pain to shape her character. Now, all she wanted was to live for His glory alone and to bring Him honor through her life and accomplishments. It was no longer about her but about Him.
This story is fictional and its purpose is to convey a lesson.