In the book of Judges, peace was only experienced AFTER a battle had been won.
A battle had to be entered into first, to gain the ground that was Israel's by inheritance, but which had been lost by unfaithfulness and not holding true to God’s ways.
God started speaking to me in my quiet time on Monday. He told me to grab a pen, and I assumed He would start talking to me about the things that were anxiously on my heart – He didn’t. He started to talk to me more generally about peace and about areas where I had battled in my life.
In those areas where I had battled and He had brought victory, I was in peace. Those areas where I was still uneasy were areas where there were still battles to embrace.
He began to talk to me about the medical system here in Peru. He told me I needed to write a list of all the health care professionals who I held something against.
Now I have had two live births here in Peru, and one induced birth for miscarriage at 17 weeks, and I have had MANY encounters with health care professionals. Most of them have been bearable, some have been surprisingly fine and at some I have suffered abuse that could have been taken to court in the UK. Humiliation and lack of consideration are reoccurring events. (*I would like to just write a quick sidenote to say that I have also had some gentle, tender, God-given care by some timely individuals too!)
I had already started (and I thought, finished) the forgiveness process with those doctors who had been abusive. However, I had never considered how my attitude towards medical staff here in general and my lack of trust had been leading me into many situations where I set myself up for a hard time. I hadn’t realised how much the enemy had held me in fear because of that lack of trust whenever an occasion to visit a doctor arose, or when talking to others about medical care here.
I then surprised myself by writing a list of 12 people (12! I would have guessed, maybe 3 at tops!) who, on recall, I could feel I still held something against. I then realised how much I was not at peace with medical care in general here.
The Lord, ever gracious, led me through a process of forgiving each person on my list and showed me that even the abusive ones, had not been intentionally so – their methods were questionable, but they were trying to get their job done as they deemed best.
And then it dawned on me that many of the complaints in my life are due to unforgiveness.
Whenever I complain, it shows I have not forgiven or extended grace to those who intentionally or unintentionally previously inconvenienced me.
And I started to think about those things I complain about, or am tempted to complain about: bad taxi drivers; ‘incompetent’ administrators; ‘slow’ shop attendants; a long wait in a restaurant; my children making a 'ridiculous' mess… – I am tempted to complain because of past experience and because I refused to extend grace to those people beforehand. Ultimately, because of unforgiveness.
How can I leave my house hoping to love those in the world and reach out to them with God’s love if I go out in an attitude of distrust and complaint?
And what happens when I enter into the emotional ‘battle’ of forgiveness? I begin to live in peace. God’s hand is upon me, and whatever situation I am in, I can trust He will fight for me. My peace at the hospital won’t be dependent on the treatment of the staff, but rather on the Spirit living in me. My peace in the taxi won’t be dependent on the driver, but on my Father’s protection. My peace in my home won’t be dependent on my children’s behavior, but on His peace in my heart.
What are you tempted to complain about? Who do you need to forgive?
Love…keeps no record of wrongs
1 Corinthians 13: 5