Such a great opportunity this month to bring an encouraging story to you. That’s our purpose for our fifth Friday blog posts. So why in the world did it seem so hard to tell an encouraging story?? We have bunches of them from over the years. Why were the thoughts not coming together and the flow was so terribly off? We can’t blame everything on a spiritual attack, not always. But it was enough that both of us were taking note of the discomfort and still we muscled our way through the story. It’s a story we are truly excited to share with you, however, neither of us were happy with what was typed there on the screen of our computer. Maybe not so much an attack as it was a prompting. The Holy Spirit makes us uncomfortable sometimes when He is trying to get our attention. He has something else for us to say.
A feeling of relief came over us when I told Rob that I just didn’t like it. His response was, “I don’t either!” Whoa! It wasn’t just one of us, but both of us. Now we know that God is working here. So we listen.
What a perfect day, today being Good Friday, for us to share with you a different kind of story. Don’t worry, the one that we had previously started will still be shared on another week. You won’t miss a thing. Today is a day where redemption was birthed. Today is the day we remember that Jesus was crucified on the cross and paid the full penalty for our sins. Today is the day we are awestruck by God’s great love, and that, “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
God always has a plan. He knows that we have, and will continue to make mistakes.
We could never have comprehended at the time what was in store for us.
After many years of not speaking to one another, with anger and hurtful actions towards one each other, there was one thing that prepared us for our reconnection. Forgiveness. You see, a few months before Rob moved to California, some issues were resolved. I had realized that in order for me to live out my calling, which is teaching others to live purely for Christ, I had to take a look at the lessons I was speaking to and apply them to my own life. One of the things we are called to do by Christ is to forgive, but another side to that is to seek forgiveness when and where we can. How could that be something that I teach other people to do if I wasn’t willing or able to do that in my own life? So I wrote Rob a letter. We actually still have copies of these letters to this day and they remain a reminder to us of where we have come from. God has done an incredible work.
My letter to Rob did not ask anything of him, but sought his forgiveness from the past. All of the angry words, cussing and name calling. The battles in court over dumb issues that were completely based in fear and distorted presumptions. I acknowledged to him my failures and offered a new openness for him to be able to communicate with our son. I also did not expect anything in return. I didn’t even anticipate a response from him. Why on earth would he take the time to write me back for goodness sake? To my surprise, he did. It wasn’t just a “thanks” kind of letter, but was that same heart. He offered his forgiveness and upped the ante by stating that he thought we could even work towards a friendship relationship for the sake of our son. Restoration.
Restoration is the repairing, fixing or redevelopment of something. Rob and I had been friends in the past, albeit some 15 years prior. We had fun. We laughed, we hung out and did things together with friends. At this new turning point, I wasn’t really going for that type of young innocent friendship with him, but at least we could work towards being able to have regular conversations without an underlying or hidden ugly agenda. We would both have the opportunity to enjoy our son’s life and there would be no more fear of the person. It was definitely a redevelopment of something for the good.
When the Holy Spirit moves, He moves. And in this case it was literally for Rob to move. Some six months later, God had moved upon Rob’s heart to leave everything he had; job, friends, closeness to family and security to be closer to our son. He was headed for California. Something he had told God he would “never” do. I think God just smiles when we tell Him never. I think it’s part of His sense of humor to watch us as we live as though we are in total control.
I’ll never forgive.
I’ll never talk to that person again.
I could never repay.
And God smiles.
There is always room for a do-over. There is always forgiveness and there is always redemption. Redeeming in its basic sense is to vindicate, free from blame or to make amends with. Ultimately, we have been redeemed through Christ. He paid the price to reclaim us for His plan and purposes. God was fulfilling his promise in our lives through our forgiveness of one another, and because of His act of redemption. He had already paid for our lives. He already wanted us. The forgiveness He offers us leads us to redemption. Without the forgiveness, there can be no redemption.
We could never have comprehended at the time what was in store for us. But because we were obedient to forgive, God was faithful to His word. And today, we were obedient to halt what we wanted to do in order to do what we believe God wanted us to do. Forgiveness leads to redemption, and because we are redeemed, we get to be obedient.