Stories usually contain suffering or adversity and it adds to the depth of the tale, but sometimes those chapters can distort beauty into cruelty. Those events break hearts and a broken heart cannot be healed without Forgiveness. He possesses great amounts of power. He liberates the prisoner and heals the broken, but he only appears when invited. If the invitation never arrives, his powers will never be manifested, and brokenness turns strength into poison and character becomes bitterness.
The heart responds to pain in two ways: hardening and decay. Thick, strong barricades are built to ensure no one ever reaches that place of vulnerability, or the heart is put to death making it impossible to be affected again. A living heart can be wounded, but a dead heart cannot be harmed. An open heart can be pierced, but a barricaded heart stays protected. Relationship by relationship, death destroys life and walls ensure that no one will ever again enter into the inner courts of their heart.
Many people live in one of these two conditions. Having let their guard down once was enough and they never want deep pain to hurt them again. Thus life becomes about going through the motions, taking the easy road, or numbing out until the heart has been so well defended or destroyed that they no longer feel anything. The anger remains, but anger has a target; someone to direct hatred toward to help cope with the pain.
Thankfully, the story can have a different ending. Forgiveness, a loving, gracious father, pursues us gently and continually, respecting many of the boundaries given him along the way. He calls occasionally waiting for an answer but not aggressively. He wants to bestow gifts on his sons and daughters, but he will not force it. Love does not force, coerce, or compel. Love draws. Love beckons. Love waits.
Then, on that wonderful day of home coming, he stands anxiously waiting. Running out to greet them, he embraces them with the warm, strong arms of a father and cries tears of happiness for their return. He smiles, touches their face, and kisses their forehead to impart love. He throws a huge party and bestows forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
I have, over the past five years, been able to arrive at the party. God has taken, and continues to take, me to incredible training grounds and through them I’ve been able to experience his forgiveness and comfort. I’ve learned not to blame others for the pain in my life, and to know they are simply human, prone to the same falls and temptations as me. I’ve grown to realize that Satan’s schemes cause more devastation in our lives than we sometimes give credit for, but I’ve also learned that God’s love covers a multitude of sins.
He has poured out his forgiveness on me and set me free. He has shown me that the pains in my life were not caused by him, wanted by him, or even caused by those I thought were responsible. He let me experience forgiveness for the sins I committed and set me free to offer forgiveness to others. This forgiveness breaks the chains of bondage and allows me to be who I’m supposed to be.
I desire to feel his love more deeply in my life, to hear his voice, and to bring his life to other people. I feel my life will one of immense importance, but I have no idea how to get there. However, God has been faithful thus far to bring me into the places he wants me, and I will continue to trust in our relationship. This journey has been one of growth and healing, and I pray others also learn from my life the importance of redemption. God goes to incredible lengths to show his love to humanity, but few rarely experience it.
I challenge you to seek the amazing love of Jesus and experience the blessings of redemption, forgiveness, and joy. He will change your life, and not by making you become something you don’t want, but by making you become more yourself than you’ve ever been. I pray that, as this journey continues, I will be more like Kevin Perrine with each passing day. G42 introduced me to the concept that I don’t have to seek the will of God. I simply live in deep relationship with him, and I am the will of God, but this is only possible by seeking and accepting his gifts. Don’t you want your life to be different?