When the week began, she was excited to reunite with the one friend she made last year. She came with the attitude of a student, and the bible was once again her textbook. She knew what to do, how to find things, how to be a biblical scholar.
But this isn’t what she wanted.
To treat the story of her Savior as merely a history book or an account written by some guy belittles what He did for her. She cannot allow herself to grow numb to it. She wanted more than anything to feel the words come alive off the page. Sitting and catching up on the boat, her friend told her that Mark study changed his life last year. That was something she couldn’t quite understand, and it convicted her even. She wanted it to change her life, too.
At the beginning of the week, loneliness swept over her, and she felt as though she was left on a life boat drifting in the middle of a squall. To be attacked so strongly and so quickly told her that God promised to teach her something amazing this week, and the enemy did not want it to happen. Even so, she prevailed because of who He is. She cannot take credit for it, as she nearly broke down and lost it when the week was still just beginning. She can only boast in Him who gave her strength, who proves over and over that He is God, and He is in control, and He has won the war.
To have learned what she had… to have the thought put on her heart in the weeks leading to this one… to be able to carry out what she’s found… these are all gifts and promises from God that He wants to heal her wholly and make her an entire person: to mend her heart so that she can love from all of it and not just the parts that feel comfortable. This is the gift He wishes to give her: a heart that is flesh and tender, a heart that is whole.
Forgiving her father… she never thought she needed to. He had departed so early and abruptly from her life and growth that she felt he was a stranger anyway. But a stranger would not be able to wound her heart so mortally. He is not just a man who hurt her. He is a man whose responsibility was to raise her and love her, and he threw it all away along with her. He is a man who left her to fend for herself when she needed a father the most. He is a man who broke her heart and shattered it to pieces.
To pray for him? To forgive him? To… love him? Who am I that I can do such a thing? It is by the love and mercy of God that this daughter is called to do such. And it is by His strength alone that she can pray blessings to a man she would rather curse for eternity.
Even so, as the week went by, peace began to heal her heart. It is painful to pray for him. To pray against the wrongs he’s done and possibly still doing… that’s simple. That is something she can do. To pray blessings on the man who trampled on her heart? To pray blessings on the family he replaced her with? How can she? They are the hardest prayers she will ever have to pray.
She feels, however, that if she can forgive this man, she can do anything. She knows deep within that her unforgiveness of him and her anger that boiled into hatred will poison the fruit He wants to grow in her. She wants to be fruitful for Him. She wants more than anything to be made whole.
Her response is that she will continue to pray for this foreign family in her life that she may receive healing from it. And when she sees His fruit and His healing, she will not hesitate to shout it to the mountains.