Friday, May 29, 2015

Today (May 29, 2015), on our fifty-sixth anniversary, I was contemplating what would be a key factor in our marital longevity, and one word came to mind: Sabbath.

Each of us has attended SDB churches since conception. We were brought together at our Makapwa Mission in Malawi, as nurse-midwife and doctor, in its only medical outreach in the world.

The Sabbath has also had a big part, I think, in keeping us together in all the years since then: Each place we’ve lived—except Phoenix—has had an SDB church, and our involvement in them with our children in Sabbath worship, has given us a stability morally and emotionally -- or at least helped us through the “tough” times. Not that the Sabbath in any way keeps us together now – that’s fixed in the Rock, so to speak – but the Sabbath, as it is so important as a part of our life as we share in the Berlin SDB church family, adds a sort of final Crown of Joy to our lives. And all that, for the Grace of God.

Beth and Victor Burdick

Monday, May 11, 2015

At the request of Pastor Matt, I am sharing an example of God's grace as revealed through a time of anxiety:

As some in the church already know, I spent the majority of my life feeling worthless. The lies of the world, the lies of Satan, and my own refusal to completely give my life to Christ combined into one big mess! I was convinced that the only way anyone would see me as having even the smallest amount of value, was if I was perfect.

One of the many side-effects of my false conviction, was a constant need to "be on the go." If I wasn't doing something -- and doing it right! -- I wasn't proving myself. Thankfully, I was freed from this lie a few years ago when I finally decided to live in the truth of God's Word and to accept His love. But the old saying is true: Old habits die hard. Although I finally recognized that my true value lies in the eyes of the One who made me and died on the cross to have a relationship with me, I still found myself with a fairly constant drive to "go, go, go - do, do, do." Then, suddenly, I could no longer "do."

During the Fall of 2013 I wrenched my back to the extent that I found it painful to walk, to sit in certain positions, or to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. I grew anxious very quickly: How was I going to do everything I "needed to do?! Was I always going to be in pain?! Would I end up needing surgery?! In my anxiety I prayed to God for guidance, and He gave me comfort in knowing that He had allowed my back injury for a reason. Eventually I came to realize what that use was: God was drawing me near -- allowing me to see that I needed to rest in Him and to spend time with Him instead of constantly filling that time with "doing." What a blessing! The Creator of the universe loves me that much -- so much that, even if it meant physical pain, He would not allow me to continue distancing myself from Him.

This understanding -- and the thankfulness that it brings -- comes into my heart each and every day as I battle chronic sciatica (a result of the initial back injury). To quote a popular saying that was brought up in my Sabbath School class a few weeks back: God is good - all the time. All the time, God is good.

Friday, May 8, 2015

When I think of the struggles so many in our church are going through – work issues, health issues, family responsibilities, friends’ and relatives’ health and marriage issues – I feel especially grateful to God’s grace, that He has now sheltered my wife in I in the home of Joan and Jeff. Granted, we’ve had our share of struggles. I have a list of “stones of remembrance” - that is, the many ways in which God has intervened in our lives for good.

The current issues we have - lung problems, limited activities, and caretaking responsibilities - seem pretty small compared to what others are going through. But, thank God, His grace enables us to help ease the burdens of others through the power of intercessory prayer.

Doctor Victor Burdick