Years ago, I went to a Women Conference in Southern California that was held in a sports arena with a capacity of 85,000. Women, young and old, from all walks of life – race, color, and creed. The Praise Band was ‘WOW’. Have you heard 85,000 women singing. It was where I first heard the song, “Like a rose trampled on the ground…” It’s an amazing sound.
[restrict] The women speakers were articulate, humorous, and brilliant. We laughed. We cried. We listened with awe. (I sat in the nose bleed section thinking how we can easily place the entire Palau population in that little corner over there). On the morning of the second day, one of the women speakers stood up and the whole place hushed into silence. She talked about battered wives, sexual and non-sexual abuse and abortion. She talked about God’s unconditional love and abounding grace to forgive us at the moment of confession. Her voice was non-condemning with love and mercy. She understood what most women go through just to survive [with their children]. Then she asked those who have had abortion to stand up for confession. Thousands of woman stood up. She said, “All babies belong to God and He takes them whether it’s a first trimester or full-term still born. Your baby is with him now.” It was a holy moment of grace healing a woman’s wounded heart. It’s as if there was a burning bush in the center ring where wrestlers meet to fight on Saturday nights. Not that day… that day we took our shoes off and we wept as sisters. You can hear the sound of sniveling in the arena as thousands of women wrestled with God.
That was the day I saw God as a wild God. You can’t put him in a box. You cannot control him. C. S. Lewis says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” That day he was shouting wildly to rouse our deaf ears because of pain. He is so willing to forgive us and those we don’t want to forgive, especially ourselves.
A friend wrote, “When I was a teenager, my father told me that when we hate someone we make them more powerful than they are. By that measure my mother-in-law had been a giant in my life. When I forgave her, the curtain was pulled aside and the woman I hated looked small and vulnerable.”
As we walk our individual life journeys, we pick up resentments and hurts, which attach themselves to our souls like a burr (chiul) on our clothes. These stowaways may seem insignificant at first, but over time, if we do not occasionally stop and shake them free, the accumulation becomes a burden to our souls. It’s a life sustaining process… In our brokenness, we have hurt others and we need to confess and grieve the wrongs we did as well as wrongs done unto us.
God’s grace, undeserved favor, is like honey – sweet and gooey like glue that puts our broken parts together. [/restrict]