02/14/2009: The Last Generation
Through the work of Truth for Today we are realizing just how weak the final generation will be and these may also be the eleventh hour workers that we long for.
I want to tell you the story of Margaret. I cannot reveal her true identity as there is too much that is very personal to her.
Maggie was a very pretty little girl with big innocent eyes and a shy smile but at about the age of 11 she began to be abused by her father. She tried to tell her mother and grandmother but did not know the words to use and in any case they did not believe her and said she was a very naughty girl to say such things about her father. And she was punished for it. Her older sisters and aunts sided with her mother and grandmother and she was friendless, not trusting anyone, and still being subjected to the so-called love of her father. All the while she felt more and more used and soiled.
She was now diagnosed as having a personality problem. The eyes once so pretty took on the wide darting, haunted look of a damaged mind. There were flashbacks, panic attacks and no trust in any one.
She grew up and married a man also with mental health problems who had a violent temper. When he did not take his medication, he would attempt to take her life by driving into other cars on the freeway. There were debts of immense proportion from compulsive spending, and then accommodation in the apartments reserved for those who cannot cope with life.
Then one day she had a card through her door for the Truth for Today lessons and she eagerly requested them. Her answers were intelligent and we knew nothing of all this at the time. She was involved with the Pentecostals and one time we even received a letter from her written in ‘tongues’. She told us she was later thrown out of their fellowship as she was too difficult to handle, and too emotional and demanding.
She went to the Baptists and discovered about adult baptism. They agreed to baptize her and for the first time she felt at peace with no panic attacks and the beginnings of a trust in God.
It was about this time that she studied about the Sabbath in the Truth for Today lessons. Immediately she made up her mind to keep it. She has a small job washing cups and saucers after breaks in a large factory. It is a diversionary job given her by the government. It brings in a little money and regular payments have to be made to show her willing to clear her debt. She told them that she would not be going in on Sabbath. When her husband found out, he had a major mental health episode. Her decision could mean them moving back to poor accommodations as the council had just given them a nice house. He blamed her for being irresponsible. Again he was violent, but she said she would rather die than break the Sabbath. And she meant it. All the decisions were her own. She offered them other shifts and this was accepted but she was so tired.
She began going to a local SDA church taking her little granddaughter with her. This was not easy for her as every one seemed so different from her. The pastor began his message by saying to his congregation, “What a beautiful people you all are.” She looked at herself and her soiled life and felt that he must not be talking to her. But she has gone back and we have encouraged her to see herself how God sees her. She has witnessed to friends and taken them to church with her, and her daughter too. She gives out cards advertising the courses and is happy doing this in small numbers.
Maggie asked to become a member but they delayed and delayed. She had called out in services in panic and had run away. She could not speak to any of the men in authority in the church and could not pass them to leave church. Eventually it was agreed that she could be received into fellowship, after I acted as an advocate for her, explaining by phone just how determined she has been about what she knows in spite of severe opposition at home. She told me that she now never touches “pig stuff” either.
On the day she was to receive the right hand of fellowship she had a major panic attack but the pastor took her in the vestry and prayed with her and talked to her. He even agreed to a private ceremony. But she was determined enough to go through with it. Her family refused to go and her friends all said they had something else to do and she felt very lonely and rejected, but as she stood up she saw her best friend slide in at the back and she rejoiced.
It may be that all she will ever understand by definition is the Sabbath, and that it is God’s command. She stands firm week by week and has certainly been blessed with insight. She went to a Pentecostal retreat that her daughter had paid for her for a surprise. It was held at a convent. They were asked to draw a box and write all their problems in it. She refused as she said she had already given everything to God in private prayer and she did not have to reveal things about her life to a group. She explained to the group that this was the only way to be clean. In fact she had gone back to the original Pentecostal group and apologized for how she had been. That took courage as she had been asked to leave quite roughly. She also contacted her mother and sisters and tried to make it up with them. Her mother has been to stay and she has visited her sisters fairly pleasantly. All these moves have been prompted by the Holy Spirit and have been a source of wonder to us. She has obeyed every impulse.
Later in the retreat they were asked to lie on the floor and as the person prayed for them it was said that they would receive the Spirit. She refused from the first, feeling that this was all quite unnecessary. They did receive ‘something’ and they laughed and rolled, and made animal noises. She remained on her chair in disbelief. The leader of the session was upset that she was unaffected. She knew she had been protected and this was not the Holy Spirit. She was glad to return home. At her own church they had another speaker one morning for a special prayer weekend. She wrote to tell us almost naively, but with a kind of worldly wisdom, that he was not genuine. His face was a mask and that was not his true self. It was only pious words! She has often been proved right!
We receive about three e-mails a day from her, and we have a volunteer who writes and phones her to keep her uplifted and encouraged. There are times when she is suicidal, and the doctor has to monitor her closely. The flash backs are deeply painful to her. It can be very draining to give to this level, but these are the ones who will be the last generation of all. They may only be asked to stand for the Sabbath and God will give gifts as needed to strengthen their witness. I am so glad we have the promise that the former will not be remembered nor come to mind.
Please remember Truth for Today in your prayers as we have a number of such contacts that we love and hold on to as a small flock for the Chief Shepherd. Maggie is only one. We do not ask for financial support as the Lord blesses us abundantly, but please look at your own life and reconsider the firmness of your own experience. Could you be one of the last generation?
By Heather Anderson. Truth for Today, England. Websites: www.truthfortodaysabbathlessons.org.uk, www.healthandhope.org.uk, www.deathandbeyond.org.uk