An Inexplicable Peace

Have you ever felt completely certain that you were in the perfectly right place at exactly the right time?

This has happened to me a few times in my 27 years. Many people would say that it is fate or coincidence….the stars aligning, whatever you want to call it. I say with complete certainty that it is a God thing. Something happened to me this weekend that I had to share. When moments like this occur, when everything is so perfectly aligned… how can you doubt His existence?

This is something I have gone back and forth about posting…because, well… I don’t know what to say! Full disclosure: I sat here staring at the blank screen for a long time before I started typing.

My apologies because, to protect identities, I’m going to keep this vague. I know that would drive me insane.

I received some news about a friend from my past a few months ago. To say it was horrific and completely shocked me would be an understatement. This person had done something absolutely terrible. I won’t go into detail but will say that my heart broke for this person and all involved.  

It’s been difficult for me to process…this is someone who I spent a LOT of time with, and though we haven’t spoken in some time, if asked, I would still say that they were a friend. Many of my memories growing up involve this person. Needless to say, this news has occupied my thoughts often.

It is a prime opportunity for me to truly live out “Hate the sin, NOT the sinner.”

I try to live by this philosophy…it is not my job to judge other people because I, myself, am far from perfect and I know that I’ve done some pretty terrible things in my past. To God, sin is sin, there is no difference. It is my job to love others, regardless of their choices. No exceptions.

Now, this practice is easy when you have a friend who doesn’t tip… or a loved one who tends to be quick to anger. But this particular situation? I’d be lying if I said that I’ve been able to live this out to the highest degree.  

My memories of this person feel tainted. I can’t see my old friend in this individual. They are so disconnected from this other person, someone I no longer recognize in the midst of everything that has occurred. My heart aches for their situation and I wonder what on earth could have happened to push them down the current path they are on…but for them to do what they did… I can’t look past that (on my own).

For whatever reason, I’ve had more trouble pushing this out of my mind as of late. I’ve been spending a lot of time praying about it; praying for this person and others involved… and last week, I blurted it all out to a friend of mine. Though it helped to get everything out and talk to someone who shares my faith, I’m still having trouble. I’m still asking “Why?”

So, when an unexpected answer to my prayers came yesterday evening at church… I was pretty shocked.  It was a service on Thanksgiving with a very different format than what is usually followed. There was more music than usual and our pastors were having people speak, mostly on what they were thankful for.

This seems completely unrelated to my situation, right?

There I stood in church, listening to someone give their testimony.

This is a person I have so much respect for, but never in a million years would I have guessed their story. They began with a few statistics and then just came right out and said that they had been directly affected by almost the exact thing my old friend had done.

I listened to this person tell of how they had so much hatred and unrest in their life as a result. And then something happened between them and the person who had done them wrong a few years later.

Their offender had gotten saved. They had found God and found redemption. And this person would, five years later, do the same. And their offender, who they had hated so much, would become their biggest hero.

This may sound crazy, but this was a moment that I felt God speaking directly to me…there was no bright lights, parting of the clouds, or harps playing… it was just a person telling their story, but at the moment HE was speaking directly to me.

I could barely get through the last song and then I went to my seat and immediately bowed my head and prayed for my friend. And I may have cried.

I felt an inexplicable peace.

After the service, I thanked the person who spoke and they told me that they almost didn’t come to the 5 pm service! My thanks was confirmation that it had been the right choice to go.

Now, PLEASE don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that I can completely forgive my friend (on my own). And I’m not saying that what they or this other wrong-doer did was right by ANY means. NOT at all.

But the fact that there is HOPE for them—for anyone—was confirmation enough for me.

 

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