Someone told me the story of a teenager who didn’t want to be seen in public with her mother because her mother’s arms were terribly disfigured. One day when her mother took her shopping and reached out her hand, a clerk looked horrified. Later, crying, the girl told her mother how embarrassed she was. Understandably hurt, the mother waited an hour before going to her daughter’s room to tell her, for the first time, what had happened. “When you were a baby, I woke up to a burning house. Your room was an inferno. Flames were everywhere. I could have gotten out the front door, but I decided I’d rather die with you than leave you to die alone. I ran through the fire and wrapped my arms around you. Then I went back through the flames, my arms on fire. When I got outside on the lawn, the pain was agonizing, but when I looked at you, all I could do was rejoice that the flames hadn’t touched you.” Stunned, the girl looked at her mother through new eyes. Weeping in shame and gratitude, she kissed her mother’s marred hands and arms.
From The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn.