Gospel Happiness in a Difficult Life

November 27, 2023
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While she was still living, I often thought of Margie Edwards as a ray of sunshine. Wherever she went, she shone with an ethereal light, a radiant light, a gospel light. It seemed as though God had her in his vision at all times and sprinkled a little extra love over her.

For those who did not know her, I’ll provide some background. Margie’s life was filled with hardships. She was born after a series of losses to her mother and father and remained their only child until they passed on. She faced enormous physical disabilities and spent much of her childhood in the hospital, unable to receive visits from her parents for long portions of time, undergoing surgery after surgery, all alone.

That’s one way to describe her life, but it’s not the whole truth.

The truth is that Margie was born with physical disabilities, but those disabilities told a story far greater than suffering and hardship. They told a story of courage, resilience, faith, and trust in her sovereign creator. Those limitations showed others that it was possible to bake wedding cakes without all of her fingers, to be the pianist for church camp, to strap in car seats, to live life under less than ideal circumstances. And to do it joyfully.

Margie lived in constant pain; her days started early with a series of stretches just to get out of bed. She hurt, but that’s not where her focus was. Her focus was on the gospel. It was on serving, sharing, and loving. How she responded to hardship and suffering illuminated the good news that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. He came to rescue the broken and the weak for his own glory, that we would glorify him in our weakness. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

And Margie did not just bear the burden, she embraced it and lived joyfully–not in spite of it, but perhaps because of it. Her cross to bear was exactly where her influence was found. Margie trusted in God’s care and sovereignty, and he used her in mighty ways for his glory. As 2 Corinthians 12:9 continues, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

When hardship came, she used it as an opportunity to display the gospel and the complete trust she had in her Savior. I remember so many times after her car broke down and stranded her (to my horror) she would say, “God knew I needed a few days at home to rest. I have such a great mechanic, I’m okay.” And when she went to pick up the car, she served him as well, bringing a cake or cookies as her appreciation. I often was blown away by her responses and wondered, “Would I have responded so graciously?” Her life was filled with people, geographically far and wide, infants to elders, poor to rich. She saw hearts and she aimed to serve those hearts in any way she could. Margie’s life was an example of gospel happiness. How she responded to trials impacted others, including me. 

I really miss her. Her death left a hole in my life and I often still think, “Margie would have loved that” when I have a unique experience, hear a funny joke, or watch the antics of my dog. After all, she was sitting at my kitchen table when my daughter accepted Christ, she was walking beside me when my dog died right in my arms, and she was at my house to drive us to our first family vacation, to name a few key moments. She was a part of the fabric of our lives.

It is my prayer and hope that maybe I could be just a little like Margie, who was a lot like Jesus. The pouring out, the giving, the joy. The trust in his greater plan and the resilience to put one foot in front of the other, day in and day out, with endless compassion and joy.

To know that she is at the foot of her Savior now brings me abundant comfort, and I can picture her dancing and whooping with joy, pain and trial free, in complete and total delight.

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