Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Good Things To Come

I went to visit a troubled friend last night. (I will protect her privacy by calling her Mary.)  Armed with pizza and treats, and especially with a lot of silent prayer, I stepped out of my van.  I was unsure of what we would  talk about or how things would go.  I rang the doorbell with trepidation, but felt gentle assurance that the Lord would bless me.   As I tried to gauge her response to my visit I felt pleased to see her smile "hi" at me.
You see, Mary has been in a state of despair and hopelessness for a long time.  She has made unsuccessful attempts to take her life, and she feels no reason for living.  She questions her worth, and her faith in God.  She feels little, if any, hope for her future.

Initially our visit did not take shape as I had hoped, because one by one two of her sons, and then her husband trickled through the front room where we were visiting.  As the room gradually emptied and quietly settled, I had a thought to have her watch with me, a video I'd emailed her earlier, but she hadn't made time to watch.  (On her days off from work, Mary would rather play online games to pass away the emotionally painful and ticking hours of life.  I think it's her escape.)

As the video began her 11 year old son, and his friend, became interested in watching the video too.  They sat oddly enthralled by slow (by today's standards "faster" imagery) mini-video.  Mary and the boys were very quiet as they watched.  The spirit of the Lord seemed to fill the room, especially as a man of God spoke words with heartfelt emotion the words:

Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you  quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—.... You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."
"I testify that God lives, that He is our Eternal Father, that He loves each of us with a love divine. I testify that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son in the flesh and, having triumphed in this world, is an heir of eternity, a joint-heir with God, and now stands on the right hand of His Father. ....Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.  Of that I personally attest. I thank my Father in Heaven for His goodness- past, present, and future, and I do so in the name of His Beloved Son and most generous high priest, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."

After subtly seeing the boys off to play out front for a few minutes, I asked Mary what she thought about the video.  She is reserved with her feelings, so she just said "it was really nice."    I asked, "How did it make you feel."  Mary replied, "Oh, I don't know."  I asked, "Did it make you feel loved, of value, and special--and like you could indeed make it through this?"  She acknowledged it had, but added, "But it's really hard, Christine.  It's easier to just not try."  

With soberness I said, "Mary, you know I've been there before.  I've been there hanging over the cliff (literally) and considering ending my life.  I've been there hanging out the car door questioning if there was any value to my life.  I know what it means to feel hopeless."    

I proceeded to tell Mary about an experience of distress that I had recently and how I heard these simple, yet profound words in my thoughts:  "This too shall pass."  Added to that scripture memories and thoughts rushed into my mind of how these moments and experiences are fleeting.  

I recalled how I'd made it through some really dark hours. Hours that never seemed could improve.  Be it complete poverty, abuse, or the anguish of death,  my feelings seemed hopeless--like they would never end.  And yet they do end--some later than sooner.  

I asked her another question, but again she had little to say.   I added my thoughts,
"You know what struck me the first time tonight, as I watched that with you?  It was when the man says to the Dad that he and his wife and children would make the journey, but they wouldn't be making it in that car.  

I'd never considered the importance (and symbolism) of the vehicles that we travel in. The vehicle they were using would never get them to the destination they wanted to arrive at.   Sometimes we have to repair our vehicles or, for our safety, and well being switch to one that works properly."

With complete love, acceptance, and gentleness, I then carefully expressed a concern I have that she refuses to pray to our Heavenly Father, and manage her life without Him.  "Mary, Heavenly Father loves you more than anyone on earth.   He created you and He wants to help you, but you need to look to Him for that help.  

So that Mary didn't feel badly, I pointed out one of the serious repairs I am working to make on the symbolic vehicle that I want to return home to Heaven in.  I wanted her to know that I wasn't judging her.  I wanted her to know that we all have things we work on, but that with hard work things can be repaired.  

Before I left I suggested we start our daily walks again, and she said she would.  (She hasn't walked with me for a couple of weeks now, because she didn't feel like it anymore.) I am hopeful that taking up walking again will bless both of us to get out of our houses, have pleasant conversation, and breath in the fresh autumn air, and most of all, to find hope and healing through friendship. 

Mary stood up
when I went to leave, and I gave her a hug and told her I love her.  She replied in kind.  I felt the warm, comforting spirit of God.  I know of His love and His hopes for her and her family.   I also felt that she took comfort and hope from my words of encouragement.

As I stepped with a smile into the chilly night air, I felt humbly grateful to have been on an errand of the Lord.  I felt grateful to know that as imperfect and insignificant as I am in this world, that there are a few people who need me.  I felt thankful that he has blessed me with His courage to do things, which in the past I would have unlikely attempted.  

I am thankful to be here in my body.  So very thankful that I didn't add anymore anguish into the world, and the hearts of those who love me or need me, by cutting my life short.  I am needed in this world, even in my small ways.  And so are you!!

I feel so thankful that I am learning of a joy that I never knew existed.  A joy that can only come when we are busy in the work of the Lord.  I am thankful that precious drop-by-drop, I am learning more about my value in God's eyes.  God's love is miraculous. 

You, my reader, may wonder how life could hold anything worthwhile.  Or, you may wonder how a certain challenge(s) that exists in your life, will find resolve.   I assure you,  as the darkness of evening falls upon our frail earthly hours, so to does the sun rise again.  If you hold out hope, and look to God, you will find answers to your problems, and a way through your darkest nights.  

With God's help you will one day see that the darkness of
frightening and uncertain storm clouds have parted, and
 in it's place the sunshine, and a dawning of a new day  rising.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

I hope you find hope of good things to come through the grace of Jesus Christ! 

Warmest Regards, Christine
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