Deuteronomy 28:12, “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.”
I have had those really hard, unable to understand seasons. Those times when you did nothing wrong, nothing to provoke the most unkind words, hurtful actions and unguided feelings. I have had those, so many times.
I was asked, with the help of another, to guide the youth ministry in the church we were attending. We had several volunteers help the two of us with all the teens; you know how much help is needed when working with them – A LOT. There was this one woman who volunteered to help, but she really didn’t want to help in love. Her love was in misguided criticism and hurtful comments about and toward me. I tried to talk to her about her feelings toward me, but it made it worse. I had no idea what to do with this sort of threatening behavior. After all, most of the time I am well liked and try to take everyone’s ideas and opinions into consideration, which is what I thought I had done for this woman.
This treatment continued for months. I didn’t know what to do so I sought counsel from our pastor and trusted friends who knew us both well. I was told, “this is just how she is” and “she will come around”. I just could not accept it. This was not how a woman who calls herself a Christian and someone who wants to work with teens should act toward another person; ever. I didn’t understand how it was just accepted as normal behavior and okay. God asked me to pray for her heart to be healed. I was not to do an outward extension of love, because she would not accept that from me. That is what I did. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed for the words to say to this woman. I prayed for understanding in why she was treating me this way. I prayed for her heart. I prayed that God would show me whatever I had done to hurt or offend her, but it was clear that I had done nothing. This reaction she had toward me was from her own will.
Eventually she faded from wanting to help with the youth and from other areas of ministry as well. I still pray for a friendship with this woman, but as far as I know there is still something in her heart that stops her from wanting the same. I can rest in knowing that God is working on her heart and it is not my job to fix her hurt.
I was reminded of this while studying with Lysa TerKeurst recently, “ Sow for yourself righteousness [right choices that honor God even when you don’t feel like it], reap the fruit of unfailing love [love for the lovely and unlovely alike], and break up your unplowed ground [whether that be the blockades in your driveway or blockades in your heart]; for it is time to seek the Lord [embrace Him with all your heart], until He comes [and He most certainly will] and showers [more than you could ever hope for or imagine] righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12)
Lord, hurt comes in many forms, but today I ask that You will reveal to us any enemy that we need to extend grace and mercy to. I may not want to be kind to them for hurting me, threatening me, or placing misguided blame on me, but I will be kind with Your help to walk me forward. Thank You, for loving me when I was nothing more than a sinner and careless. In Your Name, Amen.