“God is Victorious! He is with you no matter what happens. Keep going, He has your back. I love you! -Hannah”
As I rolled over in bed one morning, I felt something in my bed. It was a notecard. In fact, it was a note left on my pillow the night before from my oldest. As I read it, tears came to my eyes. It was so humbling to read my oldest daughter’s sweet, gentle, yet wise words of advice.
You see, at the beginning of this year I was gifted with a couple months off after I had stopped working. This is a true gift as I have so desired to just spend time in the presence of God and work through different things going on in my life. For the first two and half months of this year our youngest continued to go to preschool, so I had a few hours each of those days to just sit and read my Bible and pray. I have had some conversations with God that were great, but some conversations, well…let’s say they have been hard.
There are a couple relationships in my life that are not where I would like them to be. There have been words said and actions done that have left us to where apologies and forgiveness is the next step. I have been stubborn in not wanting to carry through with these steps, because I want justification. I want the situations to be made right before forgiveness is given. I want the other party to admit their part before I apologize for my part. Wrong-I know! But just being honest here.
Well as I have been wrestling with these situations I found myself studying Matthew 6. If you read the whole chapter, you start to see a pattern. In all situations you have a choice when faced with a problem. You can publicly take matters into your own hands and make things right, or you can take it to God and trust that He will make it right. The first will work the situation out today, but that will be your only reward. The latter may not work out in the way you feel justified right now, but it will yield you eternal rewards. The choice is ours.
There are also two promises that are repeated over and over throughout the chapter. The first is God is a Father who sees everything. How comforting is that? God cares so much that He watches everything that happens to us and He desires to make everything truly right. The second promise is that God knows exactly what you need and because you are valuable to Him (verse 26) and He cares for you (verse 30), He will take care of you in every situation.
The only catch to receiving these promises is you have to do it God’s way. You have to forgive even when you don’t want to. You have to choose to forgive even if you don’t get the response that you are hoping for. You have to choose to forgive even if it isn’t made right until eternity. You see, it is an act of faith and trust. To put yourself out there, to do the right thing and trust that you will be ok. To trust that God will protect your heart no matter the outcome.
As I was pondering this chapter, I picked my kids up from school. As we discussed their day, it came out that there was some recess trouble. The kids were all playing dodgeball and name calling soured this particular game. Hannah was hit by a ball and was declared out by a classmate on the other team. Hannah saw that the ball had bounced and then hit her, so she wasn’t out. She continued to throw the ball in her hand and got a member of the opposite team out. The classmate who had declared her out did not see the ball bounce first and loudly declared that she was a cheater. The classmate continued the name calling and ended up calling her a brat in the process. She was crushed. The name calling continued, and as more members of the opposite team joined in the teacher got involved. When the original classmate was asked if they had called Hannah a name, this person denied calling her a brat. Of course, this would make Hannah a liar, in addition to a cheater and a brat. Another wound pierced Hannah’s heart.
As she was telling me the story, my heart hurt for her. I acknowledged how hurtful that situation was and how I was sorry those names were said. Later in the afternoon when it was just the two of us, she told me the rest of the story. This is when she stopped me dead in my tracks and I was shocked at what she had done next.
She said later in the day she thought about the situation and she made a choice to forgive the classmate who had called her a liar, cheater and a brat. Then she took a step of faith and wrote the classmate a note and left it secretly in their desk. The note read, “I forgive you, Hannah.” She went on to explain that she was still very hurt by what was said, but she wanted them to know that she forgave them. Wow! My eleven year old struggled for just a short time but knew exactly what God would want her to do. So she just did it. She admitted she knew the classmate would probably not ever say anything in return, but she knew she still wanted to forgive them.
I shared that this challenged me, because I too was working through a situation where I needed to forgive a person and not worry about if it would turn out right or not. I handed her my Bible and told her to read Matthew 6 and let me know what she thought about the passage. Her take home points of the chapter where much the same as mine. God sees, God cares, and God will take care of things for you. Later that night, I am sure at the Holy Spirit’s leading, she decided to leave me the note on the pillow. Faith like a child!
Like Hannah and I, I am sure you have a situation in your life that is a struggle. It might be a situation where forgiveness needs to occur. Maybe you need to serve someone and put their needs before your own even when you don’t want to. I don’t know what is going on in your life but I do know that we have the same Father God. Today He wants you to know that He sees the injustice. He sees your pain. He wants you to know that you are valuable to Him and He cares deeply about you. Trust Him to make it right. Take that step of faith and forgive. Don’t do it for the world to see, do it so you can walk in closer relationship to your heavenly Father. He wants to take care of your every need if you let Him! Take that step of faith, you will never regret it!