Broken People Serving Broken People

By Pamela Grillis

Kyle and Pamela Grillis

Kyle and Pamela Grillis

What happens to a servant who can no longer serve his Master and the Master’s household in ways long accustomed? In literature and in real life, too often such a servant is set aside or turned away.

But it is not so with my Master, nor with the household I serve. 

My Master, Christ Jesus, has not set me aside. Instead, He has given me new ways to serve; and His household of faith has accepted me in my new role.

Almost nine years ago at the age of 51, as part of God’s Providence, I suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury.  For the majority of my forty years as a Christian before that, I had served mainly as a wife and mother.  But, I had also served as a Sunday school teacher, a women’s Bible study and seminar teacher, a weekly meal-bearing visitor to shut-ins, an active church member, and as a ministry volunteer.

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My husband and I also welcomed missionaries and ministry workers from multiple churches and organizations into our home.

But, when disability and daily, severe pain came into my life, the life of service I had known and enjoyed came to an end.

I know that God is Sovereign, so I knew that this change was His will, and He must be calling me to a different kind of service.  But what could a broken-bodied, pain-ridden, old servant have to give?

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As it turns out, more than I thought.

Prayer has always been a part of my walk as a Christian. But now prayer has taken on a whole new dimension.

Wracking days and sleepless nights spent in what I fondly call “the pain pit” (which is actually located on a mountaintop) have given me long periods of time to dedicate to intense prayer – prayer for people I know, prayer for those I don’t know, but a great deal of prayer for my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

Being in the “pain pit” has given me a greater empathy for those who suffer. Although my suffering is not anywhere near the level of some of my brothers and sisters, my pain has opened my eyes and heart more to a deep connection with the persecuted and suffering.

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But besides prayer, I’ve discovered additional ways I can serve.

Thirty years ago, I was not only a young wife and mother, but also a young writer. In more recent times, a friend suggested I convert two history books I published decades ago to e-book format. 

Just getting through the day seemed hard enough, but I felt the conviction of the Lord that I could serve Him by revising these older works, converting them to e-books, and donating all profits from sales to ministries that serve the persecuted church.

My husband built a special table that can hold my laptop and swing over the couch where I recline during the day. Even with that, the pain was so great that it took me over a year and a half to convert just one of the books to e-book format.

But finally, by God’s grace, the first book was completed and now available online as an e-book— and soon as a paperback. 

As a book about local history, I realize it won’t make the NY Times best seller list. The important thing is that God has taught me that He’s not finished with me yet.

I learned I need to not give in to the whispers of the enemy that I’m through.

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My little offering may be the size of the “widow’s mite,” but the real value is determined by the Lord— not me. I believe God used a broken down, pain-ridden, to-the-eyes-of-the-world-useless, disabled servant to accomplish a work of love, however small, to show His surpassing glory. After all, He purposefully chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (I Cor. 1:27).

I learned in a real way that God loves to use the poorest material, the flimsiest fastener, the least effective tool in ways totally unexpected, but with the highest craftsmanship and superlative skill to glorify Himself, to strengthen the household of faith, and to build His Kingdom.

Therefore, young or old, healthy or ill, rich or poor, never think that you cannot be used by Him and for Him.  Our service to Him and the household of faith is not based on our external abilities, but on willing hearts.  And, even if you think that you have nothing to offer Him and no way to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ, I can assure you that you have something to bring to Him.

To our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, none of us are old, useless, or poor servants; we are fellow warriors, fresh troops, coming alongside them in whatever way we can and in the unique ways the Lord has equipped and called us to “fight the good fight.”

Sola Deo Gloria!

[Editor’s Note: Pamela’s book, Vicksburg and Warren County: A History of People and Place, is now available on amazon.com. All proceeds will be donated to Persecution Project Foundation.]