Oh there was no mistaking it. It had the handprints of God all over it; a divine delay planned just for me.
“I guess God is speaking to me and I had better listen up. Perhaps this is an answer to all my prayers throughout the day.”
Here I was, stopped at the light. Before I knew it the rails were coming down and the signal lights were flashing and a train would soon be passing by. Sometimes it’s the commuter train and I’m quickly on my way. But not today; instead there was not just one, but two freight trains passing by.
But it was okay because God had a special message for me…at just the right time.
The night before had not been pretty. We had an argument, during which some regretful things were said. I don’t think either of us knew what had really happened or why. But it did and it left us feeling raw and hurt.
Things were better the next morning…but still a little tense. We both knew that we’d have to sit down and talk about it. Learn from it, with the hope of not repeating anytime soon. When we talked earlier in the day…Chris said, “Let’s do the hard thing and talk about it”. I reluctantly said okay…even though I wanted to run for the hills. A case of denial sounded really good right about then. With a little pretending that nothing was wrong thrown in for good measure. But we both knew we needed to talk.
Throughout the day…I thought about what I wanted to say. Thankfully my emotions had calmed down a bit…and my words would have been measured. But I knew there was still some hurt underneath them. So I continued to pray.
God kept reminding me that He requires that both Chris and I forgive one another. As Christians…we know that Christ has forgiven us all of our sins. How then can we hold against each other…what Christ has already forgiven us?
As I was driving home I was listening to the radio. When the commercials came on I changed channels in time to hear David Jeremiah’s message on Psalm 23. He was talking about forgiveness and prayer. I knew that it was no accident that I had turned to that program.
Pastor Jeremiah started to tell a story about Hudson Taylor to illustrate the importance of taking everything to God in prayer. To not approach hurts, offences and bad circumstances in our own wisdom.
As he was telling the story, the trains came and I was stuck at a red light. God had both my attention and my heart.
In the story Hudson Taylor had experienced frustration, lazy workers and thieves who had taken advantage of him. He encountered delays. At each turn, he responded in his own wisdom. When he finally got to his destination, God revealed the providence in those delays and His provision for the losses. Hudson Taylor was reminded that if he had first gone to God in prayer when he started his arduous journey, that while he would have still encountered the circumstances, he would have had the peace of God and the assurance of His presence. He would have had certainty that His mighty God was working all things together for good for His servant who loved the Lord.
As the light turned green and the path before me was clear…I prayed again. This time a little differently. “God, you are asking me to do the impossible. You are asking me to forgive when my sinful human nature wants to hold on to a hurt. I know that forgiveness is Your will…but You are going to have to do that in me. Give Chris and me the words to say to one another. May we be mindful that Your presence is with us. May what we do and what we say be pleasing and glorifying to You.”
When Chris arrived home…we sat down to talk. We read a scripture and prayed. When I lifted my head up I knew that there was nothing that I needed to say. God had worked out that forgiveness in me. Likewise Chris’ words were humble and gracious. God was in our midst. By His grace what could have been a very painful encounter was okay. Maybe even more than okay…it was good.
Thank you Lord…for Your divine delays and giving me what I need, just when I need it.
Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble). Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God–that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection]. – I Peter 3:8-9 Amplified Bible
Least you are thinking, “good golly I hope Susan’s husband knows what she’s written”, let me assure you that he does. In fact he’s given his blessing to post this. It is our prayer that God may use something in our lives to help others. To encourage you to turn to God and seek His help, grace, mercy, strength and wisdom. That you will remember your greatest weapons are prayer and the Word of God.
This is dedicated to our dearest friends and prayer warriors…Ruth, Jeff, Pattie and Robyn. We love you and are grateful to call you our friends.