Suzanne Schroeder, a 41 year-old woman in my former parish in Berlin, Wisconsin, died of a rare form of diabetes in 1990. I had ministered to her during her illness, and in the year before she died she wrote this confession of faith which was published in the church’s newsletter after her death. I ran across it the other day, and find it as encouraging now as many did then.
May 1989 Berlin, Wisconsin
I would like to tell you, fellow Christians, what my suffering has done to me, how my suffering has changed me. What would I say to a fellow Christian who must undergo suffering? I would say there’s really nothing to fear, because it brought me so much closer to the Lord. It has taught me that He’s always there; always with me.
When my suffering first began, I was asking, “Why me?” But now that my suffering has brought me closer to the Word, and a greater understanding of the grace of Christ, I am asking, “Why me?” – that is, why should I be so blessed, so loved? Why should He single me out as one to whom to show His mercy?
What I wish to get across to you, fellow believers, is the message of my life; how my weakness is changed into something so strong in my faith. I hope people can see exactly what this (my sickness and suffering) has done to me. It’s unbelievable how something, when you’re sick, can make you so strong in your faith.
I can better understand now how our Lord has suffered for us – not only whv he suffered, but how – why he suffered the way he did is beyond me, because He did it without any pleading or complaints. He did it just for me, because He loves me. And now I know better how much He loves me, when I can understand better what He went through. And that’s so true.
I’d like to have people remember what I went through and how I felt when I went through it, that is, how I changed from a complainer, one who was always questioning God, to one who now sees what He’s doing, and that He is good.