Forgiveness

Today, I apologised to a work mate who had hurt me. Initially, I didn’t see a need to – I was tempted to hold my ground, back myself, and stand strong. After all, these are attributes that people say are crucial to career building and to others respecting you.

It’s not always true. 

Strength is acknowledging our part in a conflict, no matter how small; it is forgiving when we don’t feel like it. Strength says, “I’ll be a bigger person because you are worth it.” It is taking the first step to reconcile, and becoming vulnerable yet again.

It would have been easier for me to leave it to God as our judge, and sometimes, certain situations call for that. But, there are other times where God’s grace compels us to act.

Today’s verse of the day:

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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Well with my Soul

When peace like a river attendth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Horatio Spafford wrote this song following great tragedy in his life of losing multiple children. It is a hymn birthed from deep pain, and a declaration of resolute trust in God.

God, whom others thought was punishing the Spaffords.

In the past week, a close friend of mine underwent surgery to remove cancerous cells, and another had a biopsy for the same cancer. Both are my age, with so much ahead of them.

What does the Lord have to say about suffering?

John 11:32

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

//

The Son of man was deeply moved in His spirit. Though He knew that He would later raise Lazarus from the dead, He grieved for his friends.

Jesus, the Son of God, is close to the brokenhearted and abounding in love.

Would we respond to His perceived lack of action with trust in His love, or doubt in His ability to work miracles in our lives?

In our suffering, it is difficult to see beyond our circumstances and what Jesus does or does not do for us. It is hard to trust His heart when we cannot see His hand.

Dear Lord Jesus, please draw us closer to You in times of grief, for we know that You hear our cry and will answer. It may not be the answer we are hoping for, but we will choose to trust You and Your love for us.

Bars

It was 2a.m. as he tossed and turned in bed. Flashes of visions spilled out from the darkness, and he was unsure as to whether he was truly asleep. “I question my sanity,” he murmured and groaned, as he turned to his side on the plush bed. Perhaps it’s the new feathered mattress topping, or the fact that the king bed is constantly threatening to engulf me, he thought.

An image of bars cut through his thoughts. Not the kind of bars you’d expect from a hangover; these were strong, metal prison bars. He remembered the elderly father with frizzled white hair limping towards his son as the latter squeezed through the crowd of prisoners yearning to reconnect with their visitors. Not that the son would find it hard to navigate the sweaty bodies, for this was a tall, tattooed and burly grown man, just the breed one would expect in a prison. His physique though, was vastly different to that of a lanky teenager eight years ago. Then, he was an 18-year-old full of hopes and dreams like his peers, but was sadly, always yearning for more. Little did he know that those unmet desires would one day cost him everything.

His father, now a ripe old age of 65, was forced to move to this foreign land to care for his only child. Like any father, he didn’t have to; he wanted to. Yet, he felt like a failure, being unable to provide the usual care he had envisioned at this stage of their lives. Treats to footy games, bonding over beer and meat, or simply, long drives out to the country where they had owned 12 acres of land. That beautiful freedom, now reduced to 12 squares of cement and dirt. For most part of eight years, the feeling of failure plagued him daily. If only he had spent more time with the young school kid who constantly pestered him for tickets to the grand prix. He had over-thought the situation, what with giving his kid the green light to speed and endanger lives. “I wish I didn’t over-complicate things back then”, the father sighed, wincing as he rubbed his bad leg for which he was unable to obtain the necessary care.

Tossing yet again, the man sat straight up. That was too much detail, he thought, too much detail. He couldn’t shake off the images of the other prisoners and their families – the holding of hands through those bars, sharing of favourite family meals over the counter, and young children who were allowed the rare privilege of being held by their parent in the orange vest.

That picture was grim, he reminisced, but there was also something amiss. There were bags of toys, clothes and coveted snacks for some, and none for others. There were prisoners conversing with their loved ones outside of the bars, blending in with the visitors. And then, there were those who still looked affected by the substances they were doing time for.

The man wiped a sweat from his forehead, and looked at the time. 3a.m., glared the clock, almost blinding him with its bright light. I don’t have time for this frivolous flashback of a distant memory, he frowned, angry at the possibility of being late to his important job the next day.

So, he let that moment pass.

Time went on, and the more he ignored the flashes in the dark, the dimmer they became until one day, he became acutely aware that he was alone in the dark.

 

Entirely fiction, but based on a true story.