Saturday, May 21, 2011

Victories: Anger and Emptiness

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  (Isaiah 55:7)

Anger that grew to hate; loneliness that drove to the bottle; emptiness that nearly sucked a life away…those are the enemies defeated in today’s victory report! Join Tim as he praises God and rejoice with him as he marvels at God’s grace!

The devastation of divorce joined forces with the hardships of single parenting to blind Tim to the goodness of God. Raised in the church, a torrent of difficulties swept Tim away from church for nearly a decade and a half. Held captive by his own anger and bitterness, Tim raged at the injustices of his life—and nearly destroyed himself in the process. Though Tim had left the church, the relentless love of God had never been separate from him.

Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people perish: God used some interesting lenses to help Tim regain his vision. A long harsh winter, the financial stress of unemployment, a deadening lack of purpose and funerals were some of God’s magnifiers. As his own hope dwindled and he contemplated suicide, God used the deaths of some friends to speak to Tim’s own heart. The contrast between the hopeless wakes of those who lived only for this life and the life-honoring celebrations of home-going saints worked in Tim’s heart. The common end of all focused his eyes on his own responsibility to live well—to leave a legacy of life and hope for those who would come behind.

With that desire in place, Tim was again ready and able to feel the love of God. After one funeral, Tim stopped by his brother’s home and mentioned that it had been some time since he had made it a point to go to a church for any reason. His brother replied ‘it’s been 14 years’, and then went on to tell Tim he had been praying all that time for Tim to return to God. It was a prayer heard by God and now by Tim’s own heart. Shortly after, some Christian friends sought Tim’s help with some home repair projects. Their lives were their testimony: the true concern they had for Tim broke through the hard defenses he had built. Their genuine concern had a profound effect. God’s love was having its way.

During a walk with his dogs one morning, the Spirit broke through and called Tim to humble himself before God, agree with God about his mistakes and turn back to God. The beauty and blessing of Tim’s obedience is best in his own words: “The words were hard—not because of confessing, but because I was weeping uncontrollably. Weeping and thanking God for more than one chance; weeping for the years lost and behind me for the waste they had been…when the prayer was finished, the burden lifted. It was a relief I hadn’t had in years…not just figuratively or spiritually but physically as well.’ Today Tim is a beloved part of a local church…actively living and loving in Jesus’ name.

God’s promises are real. Forgiveness and cleansing restore us. Our prayers and our love for others matter. Sit at the feet of Jesus and soak in His goodness…let us join Tim in embracing the blessing of confession and rejoicing in God’s gracious presence!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story of God's grace!! Rejoicing in Tim's place in a body of believers, too!