|Posted by Lorraine Serra on November 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM|
(continuing story--see last 3 posts)
I can only call it a “grace moment”; that moment when someone extends their full attention, empathy and love in order to listen to and share your deepest feelings. That moment when they willingly set aside their own agenda for your benefit, when they don’t have to, when they owe you nothing at all, and even when you don’t deserve it.
I stepped into Jill’s apartment loathing myself for neglecting our friendship, and, to my surprise, she welcomed me with open arms and genuine concern.
She sat beside me on the couch as I fell apart weeping over the state I was in. There in the presence of my lifelong friend, I felt safe enough to pour out my raw emotions, fear and rage, all at once. Through my squeaky damaged voice I confessed to her what a fool I had been. How I had managed to destroy all that I had been working for, abusing the gift I was given, and the love of my husband, chasing a future I thought was a sure thing.
“Look at me now, Jill. What am I going to do? What’s left for me? I can’t even sing in church anymore.” Destitute and disillusioned, I wept, a heap of hopelessness and despair.
And do you know what Jill did? Sweet, loving Jill? Oh, I hope you have a friend like this in your life and if you don’t, you better get one! You better BE ONE, too!
Without judgment, without comment, for the longest time, Jill just wrapped her arms around me and cried with me. Then, after a while, she wiped away my tears and looking straight into my eyes, with such compassion, Jill said,
“Lorraine, I am so sorry. This is just awful. I can’t imagine you not being able to sing again, I mean, that’s all you ever do! But, Lorraine, I gotta tell you, God sees you right now...... He weeps with you. Listen to me! ..........God knows your pain........... and He knows your loss, right now............And I know, without a doubt, that God has a plan for your life, even in this!”
Then, she quickly stood up saying, “I just have to share something with you.” She walked over to her desk and picked up her Bible.
Oh, no! I thought, not that Bible thumping again! I’m in a mess, my life is over. I’m in a crisis here and I don’t need to hear any pretty words!
But, she read it anyway. It was short and simple, and maybe you have heard it before. It said,
“For we know that God works all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purposes.”
My head was spinning! All things! Are you kidding me? What possible good could come out of this mess? Really! All things work out for good….ha!
But, there was a little glimmer of hope in those words. Could God really do that? Work everything out for good? Illness, disease, brokenness of every kind? Even my situation?
But, wait a minute. Didn't I just hear that God does this for those who love Him? I had to ask myself: Did I love God? I wasn’t sure.....I had never really thought about it. I mean, I went to church and all that, but love Him?
It said He worked things out for those who are called according to His purposes. Well, I was definitely sure I wasn’t living my life according to His purposes. I had been ignoring my husband, family, friends, and living in my own self-absorbed, driven obsession for a very long time. That couldn’t possibly be "living according to His purposes". Look at me. I figured I was getting just what I deserved.
And what in the world did it mean to “be called.”
For the first time ever, I thought I just might want to find out. I figured I had nothing to lose. Was there some kind of a bargain that needed to be struck with God here?
So, in desperate exasperation I squeaked out, “Jill, what are you trying to tell me. Please, speak plainly. What do I have to do?”
O Father, Gracious Lord, thank you for bringing us to the end of ourselves, where we can finally see that our own strength is too weak, our own character comes up short, and our own plans can be so confused. Your grace, your favor, Lord, is the gift we need. Help us to look unto You alone, Amen.
Categories: Real Answers For Life