We text as I wind around the parking lot behind what seems like one hundred cars. Twenty minutes feels like hours when you roll like a turtle on concrete. And she is stuck there at the front entrance, standing among the sea of freshman, which is just; well, awkward for a sophomore that can drive.
Carrying a load of books that weighs as much as she does, she climbs in the back seat, declares it the second worst day she has had since school started this year. The first being the day someone hit her from behind, totaled the car she had license to drive for a whole fourteen days.
Sometimes she overstates with the words bad day. But when she tells the story, I realize that this isn’t about misperception at all.
Her phone, someone takes it right out of her purse during gym, along with some money she had in her wallet. Two weeks ago, it was her Ipod.
And even though the police officer discovers the perpetrator, salvages the phone, the card that holds all the information – videos, pictures, music, phone numbers, text messages, notes to herself (because she is so organized) – it flushes down the toilet. Lies somewhere in a pipe underground, lost forever.
Truthfully, this incident is just the cherry on the icing that frosts the cake of disappointments over the past few days for all of us. Because selfish acts, the choices one makes without consideration of another, they affect people.
Then perspective clears the gloom.
The truth that Jesus suffered the greatest disappointment. Betrayed by those in authority, leaders, close friends, denied by his dearest companion, he couldn’t even trust his closest followers to stay awake and keep watch in the garden.
Sometimes it feels good to wallow a bit in anger and resentment toward the ones who sin against us. After all we ARE justified, aren’t we?
Even though I don’t always (actually rarely) feel like forgiving, I choose to believe that when Jesus responded this way, I should follow His example:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” ~Luke 23:34
He said those words while hanging on a tree, with nails in his hands and feet, thorns pressed into His head. Soldiers throwing dice to see who would get his clothes.
Has anything that has happened to you, to me, been worse than this?
And when my rational mind wants to debate, tell God that it does seems like they do know what they were doing. When my emotions don’t want to follow what I know is true, I remember this:
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. ~Proverbs 14:12
I know that God sees into the future, into the hearts of men, He remains sovereign over us all. And Lord, please don’t let me be deceived by my own wisdom, help me to always choose you.
Later we sit in the booth at our favorite restaurant; shake off some of the heaviness that hangs on all of us. And her Daddy, that lovely man of mine, he hugs her, tells her how sorry he is that this happens to her over the chips and salsa. She holds back the tears that start to pool.
As he points out all the things to be grateful for on this day and the ones before, what weighs heavy on the heart lifts like helium balloon. Because when those bad days want to leave an ugly mark, steal innocence, seeing Him through the darkness brings freedom and joy.
Is there something you need to let go of today? Someone you need to forgive? I know it isn’t easy and everything in you may want to hang on to the hurt, but can I encourage to take a moment right now, ask Him to help you forgive.