A Hard Lesson

A friend of mine wanted to try a new church. I told her I’d go with her for support and to help her feel more comfortable. When we got there everyone greeted us warmly, and I said hello to several acquaintances who attended church there. We sat down to pray and then stood to sing worship songs and begin the service. Then I saw her.

My ex-husband’s mistress was one of the worship leaders…IN CHURCH!! The insides of me exploded with hurt, embarrassment, pride, resentment…all at once.

I quietly said, “It’s all about you, Jesus, only you. Help me to focus on you alone” as tears started making their way silently down my cheeks. As I started to weep harder, I whispered, “You are sovereign, God. If this is how you want to teach me humility, then who am I to question you? I embrace your lesson for me today. I will submit to your teaching. I know you love her just as much as you love me.”

By that time, another of my friends, friend number two, who was sitting on the other side of the church reached me. When she embraced me, I could not hold back anymore, and I sobbed. She led me to a Sunday school room that was empty. “I’m okay! I’m not mad, it was just a shock to my system,” I sobbed.

As she let me cry and talk through the confusing mess of emotions, the Lord showed me there is a big difference between thinking I’ve forgiven someone and actually living that out. Anybody can think, pray, or speak forgiveness, but the truth is revealed when you see the object of your pain in an exalted position. How do you respond? I’ve noticed the more I try to suppress feelings, the longer they take to get rid of. However, if I let myself feel my emotions and express them, I can move more quickly toward healing and leaving my hurt behind. I responded by allowing myself to feel the pain and opening myself up to God’s humbling test. My friend number two was sitting on the other side of the church in the front row. I was sitting the in back. She could not see my reaction, but our loving Father put it in her heart to know. In response to my humble submission, the Lord brought me comfort, immediately.

Now, I can know, not just think I’ve forgiven this woman. Now I can know I’m okay if I attend a different church and experience surprises. Growing pains hurt, but growth is necessary. Without growth I’d still be a little kid missing the basket. With growth, I am going to be able to dunk the ball someday!

Who you become while you are waiting is just as important as what you are waiting for.Nicky Gumble

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.

Psalm 24:3-5

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