Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.
The woman in the front row had not finished raising her hand in the air before the question came bursting forth from her mouth as the tears welled in her eyes. “How can we let go of wanting to hear we are forgiven, when we’ve begged for it, but the other person is not willing to extend it. As a human person, I want to hear those words not from God but from the other person?” My heart ached as her voice conveyed the depth of her pain and the desperation for an answer she could hope in.
This exchange came during a women’s retreat that I am blessed to offer on seeking the peace of forgiveness. Although I wished with my all my heart to lavish her with a concrete, “it will be fixed by morning,” response, I knew that was not how this forgiveness thing worked. I was also quite aware that neither is our human idea of how things should “play through”, always in line with how God, in His infinite wisdom (Romans 11:33), plans to work things out.
While nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37), and He could absolutely grant the answer she thought might bring about what was needed to be free of this pain; it had not yet, nor would it most likely to happen in the manner she was praying for. But why?
God’s ways, as Isaiah teaches us, are not our ways. More importantly, His "ways" are so far and above our thinking; we could not even begin to comprehend the “why” of how things are being worked out in our lives, but we are called to believe they are in the hands of God (Psalm 31:15).
This is where faith enters in. Faith believes that God cares so deeply for us and our well-being, that whatever He is allowing in the present circumstances of our lives, He will surely use for our good (Romans 8:28). Faith also holds tight to the understanding of that God is Love (1 John 4:16). That as Love, God wants and wills only good for us but when free will - either our or another - interferes with His Perfect Will, the circumstance or situation will be brought to some ultimate good for us. In this lies our great hope - without faith, life and the pain that can be associated with it, would be crushing and often unbearable. Luckily for us, Love bears all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
As for this sweet woman, along with these powerful and I believe comforting words from Isaiah, I encouraged her to focus on her relationship with God, in strengthen that she would better respond to those circumstances in her life, that if kept on the current path, would not be changing any time soon. I prayed that as she discovered He who is “merciful and generous in forgiving”, she would also find that His sustaining and healing grace is enough for her (2 Cor 12:9); and regardless of what that other party ever did or said, she would have a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:6).
For truly, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways not ours, but higher, so much higher!
For more on forgiveness - check out this episode on ASeeking Heart with Allison Gingras on BreadboxMedia.com
This post is doing double duty today ---
Also my entry for Day 7 of the 31 Day Writers Challenge link up!!
For me personally at #31Days2Books challenge!!