Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

I miss the times when I was involved in church as a child and later in life as a young widow.
When a major exacerbation with multiple sclerosis happened in 2002, it became difficult for me to attend church on a regular basis.
That was one of those times when I asked the Lord, “Why?” I thought I had been doing the right things to His glory and I didn’t think there was much I could do being confined in my wheelchair at home.
But God gave me a ministry of writing, speaking and making cards for our soldiers.
I came to realize that these were His plans for me.
One other thing he offered me was the opportunity and choice to watch and listen to the television evangelists whose ministries of which some folks do not approve.
The truth, however, is that these sermons have helped me write a lot of faith-based columns about the Lord and His word.
God even opened my eyes, ears and heart to ministers of other color and different styles of sharing God’s word.
One surprising thing is that on any given Sunday, several ministers might preach on the same subjects from certain scriptures. And it will never cease to amaze me that it has something to do with the events that happened in my life that day, week or month.
So one may wonder what brought this story to paper. Well, as many other Sundays, two preachers talked about anger, bitterness, and forgiveness.
Most Christians know that these subjects are connected in one way or another. This may determine whether we are true believers who want to obey God’s word where these matters are concerned.
If we are able to trust and obey God in these situations, we can obtain that peace that surpasses understanding. It seems very strange to some folks that I seem to have that peace in spite of all that has gone wrong in my life.
This is not to say that everything that happens is, or has been, easy.
Years ago my philosophy was never to discuss religion or politics, but now I am more outspoken and do at times possibly “step on the toes of others.”
The pain this causes me — and the others — starts out with anger, causes the bitterness of holding grudges and in some situations, results in unforgiveness.
In my aging years, there is not much that makes me angry, at least nothing I can control.
I learned a long time ago about putting past grudges behind me, so there’s very little unforgiveness left in my heart from the past.
I know how to ask forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean the other person will grant that if they believe they were the one in the right.
But I know through prayer and supplication, God will forgive and that helps me to find that peace for which some folks are still searching.
There comes a time when we need to apologize and if the person whose toes we have stepped on chooses not to forgive the error of our ways, then according to these sermons, we just have to “let it go.”

Linda Beck, a writer and speaker, lives in Salisbury.