Our Nation is numb.
Grief? It's everywhere. We no longer pay attention.
I believe the world looks at tragedy ---day in and day out --- through desensitized goggles. The woes of our tears and fears no longer flow like the waves of the ocean, instead it trickles in like a hot day on a stagnant pond. It has a putrid stench to it but we have grown accustomed to its presence. We no longer respond to the killings of small children, mass casualties nor do we became alarmed at escalated terrorist alerts. It has becoming a way of life.
Or has it?
Not until it hits our life personally.
Let me share a story with you. One that I have held close to my heart for 26 years now, and no doubt has dramatically changed me.
In the matter of minutes on a June night, my life changed, forever. I still to this day, have twist, turns, ups and downs. But as I stand here today, I can reflect back and through all the pain, I can share the utmost joy through my Abba's love as He walked hand in hand, intimately with me through this journey, teaching me about His love, His grace and most of all, His forgiveness. He has shown me what His hope of a future truly means (Jer 29:11), and what His promise will one day be like and yes that includes being with Jayne again.
Little by little, the stacks of self-pity were tossed away and more of me was revealed. Of course, I didn't like "me" very much. I had become a very angry person.
You see I had lost my very best friend. This so-called God of ours, mine, this loving God that everyone praised had taken my best friend. Not just that, a man of God had taken her life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was living in a world of such self denial and self righteous indignation. I considered myself above most others for whatever reason. Oh, God had so much to teach me.
But His love sought me for years. Looking back this still brings me to tears.
Eventually, I "allowed" Him to catch me. I was hurting and I wanted Him. It was more like me turning around and falling into His arms.
But there was still this one little thing that kept us apart.
I couldn't forgive the man that took my best friend from me. Surely God would understand, right?
Didn't I have that right?
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalms 51:10)
What I am about to share is the most incredible "God thing" I have ever experienced. I would compare it to the "Burning Bush" for Moses, to the Parting of the Seas and many other miraculous events in the Bible, but this was my miracle.
As I have shared with you all, God is using me to minister through Christian Counseling. I have had one particular person that I have counseled for several years now and she has been sharing with me how she had become close friends to a particular person. And the time had come when she would prepare for the homecoming of her friend's husband. Her concern was that her friend's husband had been in prison for many years.
Now, I had heard this for weeks but finally, on this chosen evening, she revealed the name. On that day, with no doubt in my mind, God had scheduled that appointed time; and He prepared the evening by cancelling my following appointment leaving me open for the evening. Minutes before my counselee was to leave from the meeting, she revealed the name, and this was when my world came crashing down on me. The room started spinning and I couldn't breath; I thought I would die if the earth didn't first open up and suck me into it. The person she named was the man that murdered my best friend years ago. He was my friend's little girls' Sunday school teacher.
No, I had never forgiven him. Did I want to? No, I didn't.
But I was about to walk this person through forgiveness for things that had happened in her life and I know that God would not allow that until my own forgiveness had been handled.
I also know that God would have never orchestrated that without total assurance that I was ready. So that week with the help of a dear friend, I walked through forgiveness. Had God not called me to do that, I would not have made the effort.
God had gently whispered to me "My Son died for this man just as He died for your sins."
It is in this, that brings me to total peace as I walked down my own road of forgiveness.
"For My Son died...."
and... if you tell me, "I just can't forgive.... "well, I have a hard time buying that... for our Father, our Abba,, will surely walk you hand in hand down that road....and remove the shackles from the prison that have bound you to the lies (John 8:44) you have believed to this day....