Hidden Pain

Larry and I were newlyweds when we met Patti and her husband over dinner. Her alert dark eyes struck a sharp contrast next to her mellow husband’s pale features. Her questions seemed genuine, not prying. In a matter of moments I felt connected to her.

About ten years my senior, Patti was accomplished in many areas including winning her state’s “wife of the year” title. She balanced her home, ministry and family with apparent ease—a perfect role model for young wives. She traveled to university campuses helping young women embrace Christ and womanhood.

Years after losing touch with Patti and her husband, I ran into a mutual acquaintance. I was shocked to learn that she had left her husband and sons to run off with another man in Christian ministry.

I haven’t seen Patti and don’t know what happened to cause her to leave her family and all she had stood for, but her story reminds me that talented, accomplished and spiritually knowledgeable people can be filled with hidden turmoil. Their brilliant achievements and polished social skills create a perfect foil for inner uncertainty.

I wonder if Patti shared her secret struggles with anyone, or if she was ever still long enough to acknowledge them. Another ministry giant encountered his own questions and confusion. While in prison, John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the one or if they were to look for someone else.

In other words, life had not turned out like John had imagined. John had been faithful to his mission and now suffered in prison while Jesus freely walked the countryside preaching and healing. Is that how God rewards his faithful servants? If Jesus was really the Messiah how could He allow this to happen?

Instead of scolding John for his doubts, Jesus reassured him by showing how Isaiah’s prophecies were being fulfilled. He even commended John before the people, and then added, “Happy is anyone who doesn’t stumble along the way because of me.” (Luke 7:23, CEB).

I don’t know what caused my friend to fall in her faith, but if John the Baptist and Patti could stumble, in the right circumstances, so could I; so could you. John took his doubts to Jesus and received what he needed to stay true and receive a heavenly crown.

Have you been thrown in a prison that has shaken your faith? Confinement in a sick body, a lonely marriage or prison of pain can generate doubts. Don’t bury your confusion in activities or accomplishments; ask for help. Jesus doesn’t condemn us for our shaky emotions. He extends grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:11-16). Being honest can help us to stand.


Thanks for praying for Larry.

His second cataract surgery went very well. His eye pressure was great after the surgery. The drugs still seem to stir up vertigo, but over all he is doing well. Thanks again for your prayers.

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  1. Barbara Lombardi

    I saw your blog as a link on Facebook. It was perfect timing, of course!

  2. Lon Miller

    Debbie, your words are good and comforting. Several years ago I knew a man with a similar story. He was an articulate, charismatic teacher and leader in our church. I was a lot younger and thought how good it would be to demonstrate such a faith. Then, about two years later, I learned that his seemingly “perfect” marriage and family was brought to an abrupt end by his infidelity. Never heard from him again, but, as with your friend, sure hope he was able to find answers, reconciliation and forgiveness through our Lord.

    Hope Larry enjoys a full recovery. Wish him a happy birthday for me on Saturday. As always, we’re praying for you guys.

    • debwilson

      Thanks, Lon. Happy birthday to you too!

  3. Diane

    Glad to get your messages and appreciate the insight and wisdom. Glad to know Larry is doing well. Please give him my regards.

  4. nelie

    happy to get this message it has realy blessed my heart am going through some sort of pain but i know God realy extends His grace to help us in time of our needs.

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