A miracle happened today.
When something this special takes place, a part of me doesn’t want to write about it because I can’t adequately put into words how extraordinary it is and how spectacular God is at answering prayer.
While sitting in church listening to a sermon about prodigals this morning, sadness welled up again in my heart for a special prodigal.
Then I saw a person across the church who had been rejecting of my prodigal while she was still walking with the Lord. Once again I realized bitterness had come back into my heart toward this person.
Not long ago at my women’s Bible study, we were encouraged to go to those we still felt bitterness toward and ask for forgiveness for holding on to it.
This person had come to mind, but how could I do this without making him feel bad? I thought. What happened was years ago.
So in church I decided to do what my Bible study teacher had taught us to do when we don’t know what to do. I asked the Father.
“God, how do I pray about this continued bitterness?” I wrote in my journal.
This is what the Lord laid on my heart:
HE IS (WAS) THE PICTURE OF THE FALSE CHURCH AND THE FALSE GOD WHO SAYS, “I WILL LOVE YOU IF…” (That’s how my own father ‘loved’ me.) WRITE ABOUT THE INCIDENT, ELAINE. I WILL HEAL YOU IN THE PROCESS. GOING TO HIM WILL NOT HELP. YOU WANT HIM TO APOLOGIZE. REMEMBER THAT HE DID WHAT HE DID OUT OF HIS WRONG IMAGE OF ME AND HIS INABILITY TO RECEIVE LOVE FROM ME AND PASS IT ON. FEEL BAD FOR HIM AND NOT BAD AGAINST HIM.
After the service I ran into someone who knew my prodigal, and I poured out some of my grief which had been stirred by the sermon even though the good news was that God would welcome her back the minute she turned around.
But still her turning around seemed impossible. And so did what I’m about to write. I confess I’m still having a hard time believing what’s on the front of my present journal: “With God all things are possible (Matthew 10:26 NIV). Today’s incident is moving me closer to being convinced.
As I talked in the hallway outside the bookstore, the person I had prayed about in church was coming toward me. We rarely crossed paths in our big church, and most of the time we attended different services. Also, I don’t remember him ever coming toward me while I was standing still. If I was in motion in the past, I could just move past him with a quick “hello.” And OK, I’ll admit it, I tended to avoid him.
The thought came to mind, God told me not to go to him, but he’s coming to me. Or is God sending him?
I greeted him warmly and held out my hand and shook his. As I did, something began to melt inside of me.
“We were just talking about my prodigal,” I informed him and said her name. I shared a few details, and the incident from the past naturally came into the conversation. Somewhere in the midst, the other person hugged me goodbye and walked away. I stood face to face with “the rejecter,” and I told him I had felt bitter toward him about his rejecting actions. As I spoke the words, I suddenly saw things from his viewpoint, and I had compassion for him. I repented before him about my bitterness and my placing some blame on him for my prodigal’s rejecting God.
I could not believe my boldness.
In the past I felt this person cared nothing about my loved one, but in the conversation I heard caring and compassion. He complimented my prodigal for the strengths he had seen in her.
In those few minutes together, God had begun to complete the healing in my heart. Yes, I believe He still wants me to write about it for a magazine to help others’ hearts to be healed, and for my healing to be utterly completed, but I felt free and refreshed.
And as this person walked away, he said, “Please give me her email address, and I will write to her.”
I wanted to cry.
Way back when after “the rejection,” I had asked him to please write to her to make things right between them, and he had refused.
As I rejoiced over what God did, I thought of what my husband and I had talked about earlier today–about the difference between watching church on the computer and going to church.
“If you don’t go to church, you miss the interactions with the people there,” I insisted, even though I often felt tempted after being hurt repeatedly in church circles to just become a cyber worshipper.
But if I had, I would have missed today’s miracle.
God is so good. And prayer does work—miracles.
“Forgiveness” by Matthew West