Elisabeth Elliot has lost two husbands. Jim Elliot was martyred in Ecuador in 1956 while seeking to make contact with the Auca (now known as Huaorani). Her second husband, Addison Leitch, died of cancer in 1973. During his illness, he struggled with depression and guilt. She ministered to him by reminding him of God's amazing grace. Here are her reflections:
When my husband was near death from cancer, depression often seemed to overwhelm him like great black waves, and he was at times convinced (we know the source of this conviction) that his sins were unforgivable.
"Do you really think God can forgive my sins?" he would ask, for he felt that his sins were out of all proportion to the light that had been given him as a Christian (a Christian home, a Christian education, a wide sphere of Christian service).
The popular notion of somehow "balancing" our good deeds against our sins will not hold much reassurance for any of us when we face the final truth. Then we need grace, infinite grace, and plenty of it.
It is there for us--mighty waves, deeper and stronger than our blackest despair.
I had to remind my husband of what he knew very well intellectually: that his particular sins could not possibly exhaust the grace of God.
"God's act of grace is out of all proportion" to our wrongdoing (Rom 5:15 NEB).