Rejoicing During Suffering

July 6, 2017 • United States

After her home was flooded during Hurricane Matthew, a homeowner in eastern North Carolina praises God for Samaritan's Purse volunteers.

Lauren Rowley is a communications intern with Samaritan’s Purse.

Living with joy can seem impossible in the face of trouble. But Bettie Lindsay seems to understand the truth of Nehemiah 8:10: “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Bettie wrapped each of us in big hug when our team arrived on the worksite. “I love you,” she said, before we even had the chance to tell her our names. She has a joy about her that is contagious – even during difficult circumstances.

Homeowner Bettie Lindsay

Bettie Lindsay is thankful to God for a new home.

The 82-year-old, who is just as full of spunk as she is love, lives in Pinetops, North Carolina—a small town devastated last year by catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Matthew. Bettie’s home was flooded during the powerful storm. Her home was also damanged during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

After helping more than 200 families during the initial disaster relief response in eastern North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse went one step further and committed to build 20 new homes for individuals who had lost everything.

Window to a New Life

Bettie, a lifelong Pinetops resident, is one of the hurricane survivors receiving a new home. Bettie had no idea how she would rebuild—until Samaritan’s Purse stepped in to help in Jesus’ Name.

Like Bettie, nearly everyone in her neighborhood had to start over. Most of them had lived in the same house for decades. These neighbors became close throughout the years—like family.

Now, neighbors will be able to come together once again as Samaritan’s Purse is rebuilding five homes on the same street.

Homeowner Bettie Lindsay

Bettie is a lifelong Pinetops resident.

“That is what makes me so happy,” Bettie said. “That I get to keep the same neighbors around me.”

Another special aspect of Bettie’s new home is that it is being built directly across the street from her granddaughter’s house, where she has stayed since the flood. Every day, Bettie looks out her window and see volunteers working hard on her new home.

“Every time I look out that window I thank God and think, ‘That is not my house, that is God’s house.’”

It’s common to see her strolling over to the worksite on hot afternoons. She can be found hugging volunteers, praying, laughing, and smiling from ear to ear. The praises of God are always on her lips as she continually reminds everyone around her that God is good.

I had the opportunity to accompany Bettie through a model of what her new home will look like. Each room we passed through brought a new level of excitement to her voice – the squeals louder and the praises more frequent.

“I know I am acting crazy,” she exclaimed, “but with a house like this you can’t help but act up.”

She was so overwhelmed with the home that she raised her hands and praised God while standing in the middle of the worksite that will soon be transformed into her living room.

Joy and Thanksgiving

Bettie encouraged my heart and challenged me greatly. Even after living through not one, but two hurricanes, she chooses joy. Even when her sorrow is great, she believes that she is never alone.

She’s an example of how a thankful heart can turn chaos into order, tragedy into triumph, and a house into a home.

Bettie is a reminder that instead of falling into despair in times of suffering, we can fall into the arms of our Heavenly Father. In His arms we can rest in the fact that He is good all the time.

The strength we need is found in the joy of knowing Him.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).