I still have that Edward Jones coffee cup in my house, that masculine looking one they gave me after catching those tears during lunch hour.
“What does forgiveness look like?” I asked the pastor and his wife. “Because right now, I don’t even know.”
I wanted to forgive. But I also needed to process, and sometimes the process of processing is long, hard, and ugly.
In times of crisis, one may go from grief, to anger, to despair, and all the way back to grief again. It doesn’t help when well-meaning people tell you to “let go and move on” and that you’ll have a better life in a short while.
You didn’t want another life; you wanted God to fix the one you already had, but instead it all fell to flames and the devastation was so great that you didn’t know how to breathe,walk, or move.
To the soul in crisis, grieving often feels okay, but difficult. It’s the anger part we don’t know what to do with. At least for people like me who were conditioned to believe that anger is sin and who avoided it at all costs.
For crying out loud, I’d repent in tears if I let the slightest bit of edge creep into my voice when I spoke to my children on a bad day. I hated tension of any sort and wanted everything gentle, kind, and peaceful. But when my life went up in smoke with all kinds of ugly, I knew it was unrealistic to feel “gentle” and “peaceful” about what went down.
I began a quest to be real with my feelings, real with God, and real with humanity.
I realized that Jesus tipped money tables over in righteous anger when the Jews brought their marketing into His temple.
I also realized God sent His Son to die for every sin on the planet. Not only that, one doesn’t need to work hard to receive forgiveness like this. It’s a gift, one none of us deserve, yet all get to receive.
Daily, I’m struck with the mercy of God and I’ve spent a life-time focusing on mercy. It appeals to my make-up and the way I want to live. But I’ve seen that one can only truly release and forgive if one also grasps the fact that God is also a God of justice.
When I see that God holds justice in his hand and invites me to release all wrong to His control, I can truly forgive and release. When I fail to see that God is justice, I feel a need for my own justice. But, when I see that God holds both justice and mercy in a balance that I can’t even describe, I am able release the offender as well as the offense to a God who sees all and knows all.
God won’t just swoop down and force someone to change but get this, sisters who need intervention—He sees it all and knows exactly what to do when you don’t.
This sounds trite and we all think, “Of course He does, but that changes nothing for me right now.”
Broken soul, will you remember this with me: Your God knows when to render justice and when to give mercy. You don’t have to know.
I cannot, hard as I may try, change my circumstance. But seeing God changes everything, and I invite every broken soul to join me on this journey to healing where I’m finding life in hidden places and springs in driest desserts.
I’ll never forget that lunch hour in the office of Edward Jones where my friend handles finances with such expertise. I’ll never forget how she and her husband caught my tears over cups of mid-day coffee.
Because sometimes all we need to know is that we don’t have to know when to feel what, because God knows exactly what to do all the time.”
Let it go, and learn to live fully in the very moment you breathe.