Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Photo via istockphoto

Editorial: Though He Slay Me

Editorial by Celeste Ryan Blyden

My mother was born and bred in Brooklyn, N.Y., during the Great Depression. She often went to bed hungry and rejoiced when she was given a penny to buy an orange for supper. At 14 she was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church and began a faith journey with Jesus that sustained her throughout life. She always had a sanguine smile on her face and praise to God on her lips. So, you’d never know that she buried two children, got divorced after 50 years of marriage and struggled to make ends meet.

And then, at 84, just after she learned that I was expecting her first blood grandchild (She “adopted” many of the children in church as her grandkids.), my mother, who’d never been ill or hospitalized in her vegetarian life, turned up with pancreatic cancer.

I cried. I panicked. I was inconsolable!

But just as she’d done with every crisis in her life, she dropped to her knees and prayed like Job: “‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him’” (Job 13:15, KJV).

A few weeks later, on the morning she passed, my baby kicked me for the first time.


When the uninvited guest of illness attacks our families—whether biological, church, school, work, etc.—we experience a form of crisis that comes with many side effects: stress, change, financial strain, a myriad of emotions and sometimes loss. Our Visitor team has been through some tough times together. One of the most difficult experiences was losing our friend Beth Michaels, who served with us for 10 years, her last two as editor. From the day she told us about her health challenge right up to the moment she went to sleep in Jesus, we joined with others in praying, supporting, listening, making and delivering meals, going to appointments and doing whatever we could to help. It was a tough time, but no one complained because she was our family, and we loved her.

Jesus never said we wouldn’t go through storms, but, thankfully, He promised to be with us in them. As we journey to the kingdom, we will go through crises with loved ones, and they will go through difficult times with us.

We’re thankful this month for the three families who candidly share their journeys with illness, how they made it through their storms and what they learned along the way. We pray you’ll gain helpful insights for when storms come your way.

Celeste Ryan Blyden serves the Columbia Union Conference as vice president for strategic communication and public relations and as editor and publisher of the Visitor.


Read and share these stories from the April 2018 Visitor:

(More articles coming soon!)

Add new comment