I was having a difficult pregnancy and we lived hours away from any family. We turned to our church for some practical help. Instead of being met with compassion, we met the Soup Nazi.
It was customary for our church to prepare meals for families of newborns. However, because of the trouble I was having during this pregnancy, the burden fell solely on my husband for all household duties as well as his full-time job. We asked if we could get some help BEFORE the baby arrived, knowing that we were asking to break the traditional way of doing things. While we thought this was a simple request, it turned out not to be.
A friend of mine was in charge of this hospitality program. When we asked her about potentially receiving food before the delivery, my friend thought the request was out of line. Meals after the birth was the way things had always been.
I tell you what...I was livid. I truly felt hurt and unloved by my friend. It took me a long while to be able to see the reasons for the denial of our request. Yet, God was gracious to grant me a forgiving heart and move on from that experience.
Do I think her decision was right? No. Do I think she was making a judgment call to the best of her ability? Yes. I knew her well, and knew her heart to serve others and show love. I had no right to judge her decision, because it was hers to make!
There is a sweet ending to this story.
My friend (who now lives hours away) recently had her first baby, and is now in the throes of learning how to be a stay-at-home mom. One evening, as I watched her struggles and triumphs over Facebook, Satan tried to bring up bitterness toward her over the hurt I had from the past. He wanted to squelch the joy I felt for her new mom status. Thankfully, because God had already worked out forgiveness in my heart, I recognized that bitterness for what it was - a lie. What could have weighed me down was easily flung off.
A bit later, I received a letter from her. God laid it on her heart to ask forgiveness for the decision she made years ago. Over time, it became clear to her that she didn't have a heart of service towards us. Looking back, she discovered she did not understand what our needs truly were. Now as a mom, she sees how hard things must have been for us to make this request of our church.
Thanks to God working in my heart, I already forgave her. I learned a lot about myself in the process of healing from that hurt, and God used it for good in my life. But, through her confession, my heart was renewed and blessed!
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Friends, choosing God's way is always better. Wait upon God to bring about conviction and justice. If I had taken God's job into my own hands, and tried to bring about justice, I could have created many wounds. A relationship could have been severed. A church body could have been weakened. Instead, waiting upon God brought blessing and sanctification.
Will you trust that God is good even if things aren't made right this side of heaven?