If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” [Daniel 3:17-18 ESV]
Been an interesting week for me….allow me to share
First a little backstory – for about the last month God’s been doing “something” I hadn’t been able to figure out. He seemed to have tied Daniel 3:17-18 with the fact my mom died angry at me. (Trying to keep it short – I had forced the call to 911 when she didn’t want to go to the hospital. As she lay in ICU, she told me how angry she was at me, and she’d never talk to me again…she then turned her head away from me. A little later she talked to my sister but refused to speak to me, again turning away. She fell unconscious later that day and never woke up.) That hadn’t bothered me, much, there had been so much God in what happened those three days that I didn’t think there was any lingering need to forgive. There was also a whole lot more baggage that kept hammering at me that year (2001) that the whole issue took a back seat.
Hadn’t really thought about it much until we taught Quest about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (yes I had to go look up the spelling). Since then I have spent time trying to figure out why those verses from Daniel would trigger that memory. Monday night and Tuesday morning it all sort of “came together.” In prepping for Sunday’s sermon – working through union with Christ…I turned to my ‘dark time’* to help understand why I didn’t have that type of union then…God brought me back to 2001, this moment in the hospital…this was the early seed to my lack of trust. God didn’t work things out the way I wanted, mom died angry with me…and even though He was visible in so many ways during that time, it still planted a seed of doubt. The events that followed in 2001 watered and harvested those doubts to the point that I wasn’t living by faith…just by works. I convinced myself God wasn’t to be trusted to do the good stuff for me, even though I had a whole list of good things I was doing for Him (yeah…I was/am that arrogant). My brother’s suicide and what happened at my previous church all brought me to a point to where my faith was rocked, but I couldn’t address it because – “that’s not being a good Christian.”
I find myself needing to apologize to those who were around when I first came to Crossroad. I had moments of true faith, but I see now it was mostly Pharisaical…trying to be good in hopes good things might happen again. Not that I believed my works saved me, it was from a still trying to earn God’s love/approval/benefit (as I defined benefit).
All of that had me in a place where when things went wrong in my marriage…I closed up shop and took my toys and ran away. Ended up divorced, angry at God, and distancing myself from the church.
Okay, that was a whole lot more backstory than I intended….so maybe this is still part of the healing process.
Tuesday, because of the conversations I had been a part of the day before…because of that one Quest lesson…because of the scripture and contemplation on His word for this upcoming Sunday….because God is always chiseling…it all came to a head. Through prayer and talking to the empty seat beside me…I’ve forgiven my mom, restated my forgiveness for others through that time period…and though it was difficult to drive with tears streaming down my face, I found my way to work – heart much lighter, attitude great.
So, if I may, for this day of prayer….I’d like to pray for everyone in Crossroads to be open for God to show them where they might be holding onto something that is holding them back or blocking a part of them.
*Dark Time – a period of a few years when I allowed events and pride to harden my heart. I played the full role of the prodigal, angry at God and “living it up”…and like the prodigal, I returned and He ran to me, accepting me with His arms open wide.