My marriage was at the breaking point. I simply didn’t know what to do. Dave wanted us to try again to make the marriage work. I agreed verbally, but in my heart I was not convinced that things would improve.
One day my sister and brother-in-law came to visit. They tried to help, but after talking with us, they decided that our relationship had broken down too badly to be mended. I felt such turmoil inside – I just wanted to have peace somehow and not have to deal with the continual inner conflict and indecision I was experiencing.
In my mind, I cried out, ‘Oh, God!…’ I didn’t realize at the time that it was a prayer.
My sister talked with me and during our conversation, I gradually began to ask myself about marriage and mistakes, about God and His forgiveness. Later on, at one point I suddenly felt convinced that God wanted Dave and me to stay together and try to continue our marriage. At that moment I experienced an overwhelming peace and all my inner turmoil disappeared.
I went to stay with my sister to give me some time to recover, and I returned home a week later with a desire to read the Bible. (I had experienced reading the Bible some years previously, but it found it difficult to understand. This time it was all different.)
Looking for an easy to read Bible, no one around had such a book. The best I could borrow from a neighbour was a book about the Bible. Against all odds, the receipt of the book sale was inside, and the telephone number on that old piece of paper was still active.
I called the number and reached Gladys, who was a part-time literature evangelist. I asked Gladys if she could get me a Bible in modern English and she asked if I would be interested studying the Bible by mail through the Voice of Prophecy (later the Adventist Discovery Centre). It would help me understand the Bible, she assured me.
When the first lessons arrived, Dave and I started to work through them. I found that first lesson so hard. I had to read and reread each question and struggle to find the answer in the Bible. It took me two weeks to complete that lesson. I thought I would receive a bad grade and felt very discouraged about the project.
Imagine my delight when the lesson came back in the mail and I discovered that I had gotten an A, with ‘Well done’ written on the page! I eagerly started the second lesson, and although it sometimes took me a while to understand, I never found another lesson as difficult as that first one. (I realize now that the enemy of God was trying to discourage me.)
Dave and I received our lessons regularly, faithfully marked and returned to us along with new ones to complete. When someone on the correspondence school staff wrote, ‘Well done!’ or ‘Good’ on a student’s completed lesson, I can tell you that it was extremely encouraging. It added a personal touch, as we realised that there is a real live person at the other end, following up with us.
As Dave and I read and discussed the Bible, we drew closer to God. And as we drew closer to Him, we also drew closer to each other.Roma Paley Ohman
The rift in our relationship was replaced with a deeper, more forgiving and understanding relationship than we had ever had in the past. It was quite amazing to us how God worked to reunite a family that had been so badly broken. A year later we were baptized in Jesus’ name. And we spent many happy years together until Dave died, almost three decades later.
Without the Voice of Prophecy lessons, we would not have learned to search the Bible for ourselves to answer our questions and help us see a more detailed picture of God.
Story adapted from Kurt Johnson’s book Just a Scrap of Paper (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2013). Roma Paley Ohman lived in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, at the time when this story was shared.