Friday, November 23, 2007

A Divine Article

Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, I woke early, as usual, to get some writing done and enjoy my morning coffee while the house was still quiet. Yet, one thing was on my mind that I had brought with me from the day before.

Our family.

By mid afternoon, family would be bursting out the seams of our house. We have a lot of fun, mind you. We laugh, we chase and tickle kids until they're screaming for mercy. We are a dynamic bunch. Those of us who married into this clan inherited husbands (or wife ~ for my brother in-law) with a stubborn streak I wonder if God himself can break sometimes. We are God fearing, but many times we get in the way of ourselves and sometimes, life attacks when we least expect.

I'm sure we're like many of your families.

While our collective personalities usually mesh well, there are a couple of relationships among us that are hurt and forgiveness is a hard thing to reach. Sometimes it's the hardest thing to see.

I'm sharing all of this with you to help you understand what I had on my mind yesterday morning. I was concerned with the dynamics of a few of us who don't always think before we speak. We react. We listen to our heart who can sometimes relay some very deceptive feelings.

Without much thought I grabbed my In Touch magazine and went into the living room. I don't read this every morning. I read it when I get to it, although I always enjoy the articles. I sat down and quietly said, "God, You know where I am this morning. You know that I'm worried."

Family gathers at our house once a month sometimes, depending on what's going on and if my husband is in the mood to grill out and entertain. We've been entertaining the family once a month for the last few months and we had a birthday or two in between. We've seen a lot of each other, but for the past few gatherings, a part of the family as been missing, deliberately. So I was concerned because I knew this missing link would be present for Thanksgiving.

Would there be tension?

Most definitely.

Would there be harsh words exchanged?

I hope not.

Yesterday morning I gave God my problem, and I opened the magazine, and there on page 26 was the article titled "Open Heart Surgery" by Dan Schaeffer.

Mr. Schaeffer refers to the story of "Jonah and the whale." Jonah was running from a task that had been given to him by God. I never realized that was the issue Jonah was struggling with until reading this article. Then, after Jonah finally went to Nineveh and gave the people God's message, the Ninevites repented and God forgave them. This made Jonah so angry he asked for his life to end.

What this article said to me yesterday morning was what I already knew, but God revealed it in a new way, that I realized his intentions with a new light.

"Blind to God's perspective, he {Jonah} could see the Ninevites in only one way: as evil enemies in need of punishment. But the Lord wanted to work through them to heal His embittered prophet. To Jonah, however, it was unthinkable that God would use these people to free him from the spiritual pit where he was stuck."

The article goes on, "We're often afflicted in the same way as Jonah."

Waving my hand to every one here, yep, that's me.

"How could God use a person who seems poisonous to us - be it a spouse, kid, parent, boss, teacher, neighbor, or ________(fill in the blank) - to be part of the cure for our own unhealthy hearts? Never!"

Maybe God is using that person that brings out the anger or hurt in us, to heal the hatred inside of us. As the article brings home, "...He {Jonah} didn't want his hatred removed; he wanted it realized! Are we so different?"

Unfortunately, we are no different at all.

I put the magazine down and went to my knees. I thanked God for this message, from a source I did not expect to have the answer for me. Before Thursday morning, I questioned how I was to handle this person.
Now I had my answer.

I can tell you our family handled our rift okay. I can't tell you I(we) handled it perfectly. If God wags a finger at us, he probably wagged it toward me when I let my mouth run before I thought. But the evening was pleasant. I have been reminded to act according to His will and grace.

And trust that God knows the big picture, even when we don't (or won't) understand it.

If you'd like to read this article, follow this link to the In Touch website.
They have a virtual magazine where you can actually "flip" through the pages. The article I've referenced is on page 26. I hope you'll read this article, or any in this magazine, and be blessed.


  1. Christy,
    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing. God works amazingly huh?

  2. He certainly does, Lindi. I'm glad you checked the article out.

  3. Uh, did you post this for me? You know the week I had. Guess I need to change my perspective.