And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. (2 Thess. 1:7)

It was a small town, and everyone knew her. She was the woman who married an “outsider.” She was also the person who constantly harassed the pastor of the only church in the small town. If it wasn’t to his face, it was behind his back. She lied about him and told her children not to play with his children. Some people, not being part of the church, only heard gossip. But eventually, her attitude became annoying even to them.

One summer, a group came to conduct vacation Bible school for the kids. The team was told about her from the start and warned by church members that she might show up with her children. The pastor had long been praying for her, and the team tried to keep the issue in perspective. They were confronted by her several times, but they responded in love. The team lifted the burden for the pastor’s family for a while. The week was challenging, but also rewarding.

God supplied a way for a weary pastor to find comfort although the trouble would remain when Bible school ended. Even people in the community began to learn that loving her made more sense than resenting her. And only God could say whether one week of being welcomed and loved would change that woman’s heart.

Be the compassionate voice of Jesus to those who don’t know him.

Paula Geister lives in Michigan and writes Bible studies for her church. She enjoys reading and watching her rabbit jump around the house.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.