"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Romans 12:14 Sharing personally again, hoping to touch hearts with encouragement... I have been receiving a form of persecution and this yet, from a believer! Highly annoyed, I complained to the Lord. Well, isn't that always our first reaction ...to complain? And I knew better, but most of us start in our humanness before we get to the real matter, IF we pursue it --- and I say we can't afford not to pursue it! So after a couple days of my human reactions telling the Lord what I think, I calmed myself down and settled in before him, cleared my mind, and made my case before him in a calm and realistic way. "She has no business hurting me like this," I said. As I waited on the Lord, he spoke to me words that I did not expect. He said, "I love her." Well needless to say, this certainly was not the response I expected. "I'm bringing my wounded soul to you and you tell me you love her?" If anyone doesn't want to take the time to work things out with the Lord, oh HOW they miss out on the depths of wisdom and counsel and grace and help that he's only too willing to give if only we'll take the TIME to seek him. How would anyone be so foolish to not press on until they receive the treasure from him that he's always waiting to give to those who truly want it? So I began to think on her life and the reasons she is the way she is. I can't say my heart softened toward her, the wounds in my own heart were too sore. But I did realize that in spite of her heart, God LOVES her. He LOVES her. So ...I decided to receive that, and work with it. And out of it came ...not surprisingly, big changes in me. As I received his love for her, he began to open up to me why what she is doing hurts ME so much. Why can't I just overlook it? Why is my anger so deeply provoked? Why is my reaction so strong? And friends, this has led to a whole new subject opening up which has gone very deep and is going to change me forever, because the Lord began to tap into long-stored-away memories that have remained unhealed to this day, things too painful to look at. I haven't wanted to "go there," and have just shoved those things off and locked those doors because I couldn't deal with them. When it's overwhelming like that, we know we can't deal with it so we don't. We can't. It's far too painful. So we shove it into a dark closet in a hidden-away attic room, close the door and lock it tight. And it's not wrong to do that. There are things that we must not touch until the time when the Lord says, "it's time to go there." In fact, it could be dangerous to try to deal with those things when we're not ready. For me, the only way I can know it's time, is when the Lord himself says it's time. And so now I'm walking into that attic room with the Lord, and HE is holding my hand as he unlocks the doors and leads me in. Actually, he's picking me up in his arms and carrying me in. And I'm not afraid. It's the most amazing thing, I'm not afraid. He is so gentle. So very non-threatening. So willing to heal ...if only we will do things HIS WAY. You don't even have to be ABLE, just willing, just responding as he leads. Thinking of this woman who is continuing to hurt me, it frightens me to think of how the story would have gone if I had just given in to resenting to her, feeding on bitter feelings toward her, all the things I WANTED to do in my humanness. But for anyone who wants to walk in close relationship with the Lord, you just can't do that because he won't let you. He'll take you aside and say, "Come on into my chamber and let's talk about this." "I don't want to, Lord! It hurts too much. I want to savor hating her." "I know. I understand that. But I want to talk with you about it, come on, let's go in together." Have you ever been alone with the Lord in his chamber? This is the place where you will find the love of God, the compassion, the mercy, the patience, the place where he gives you the freedom to express the deep things of your soul, even the terrible things, your hatred, your own sin that comes out of that hatred, your weakness, all the rot and decay within you, this is where he lets you put your head against his chest and "spill your guts." He gives you plenty of time, he doesn't interrupt, and just holds you as you cry on his chest. And then ...HE begins to speak. And what he speaks to you will come across in a gentleness you have a hard time to believe because of the seriousness of the subjects you're talking about. And it heals you. It sets you free. It totally changes the way you think about things. Oh brothers and sisters, all this is available to you if only you're willing to go into that chamber with him and open up to him while sobbing on his chest. It's scary to think of, but in that secret place alone with the Lord miracles happen. "He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;" Luke 4:18 Come to him. He is patiently waiting for you.