Happy Morning Friends,
Wow, what a difference a day can make! This is longer than usual… and VERY WORTH all 5 minutes of your time. Today, I have the creativity of a thousand artist! You want to know why?
Because, after posting yesterday… I prayed myself through to a PROFOUND VICTORY! And how glad I am for it! As mentioned in that post, we had a fire break out on our church property Sat night and it burned our neighbors storage building down. So I spent all day Monday gathering information to figure out whether we were “at fault” or not. I humbly and embarrassingly confess to you guys that my heart was absolutely in the wrong place. Having never met these neighbors put me in great fear that if the fire originated by vandals on our property, then we may be liable for damages… and the cause of unbarable hostility on our northern border.
I had an appointment with these neighbors yesterday morning not too long after posting my blog. So after leaving you guys, I went to my office and PRAYED LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW. This was good except my prayers were so selfish at first. I prayed, “Oh God, please let these people be kind and please work this out FOR US.” Within a minute of this gibberish, my heart convicted me and my paridigm shifted. I saw a vision of this couple innocently toiling their land, carefully manicuring this “blessing” they had worked so hard to beautify. I SAW THIS TRIAL FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE!
From this new vantage point, I started praying, “God, please give me the right kind of heart for these neighbors… help me to remove MYSELF from the center of this picture and show me how YOU feel about this fire.” I thought a minute about our church’s mission… about how our biggest desire is to BLESS our community. I thought about how fire had broken out on OUR property and harmed one of the precious families on our border. No kidding, I almost cried… this was such a moving experience for me.
So, they came into my office… and before they could say anything, I apologized in all sincerity and offered the strength of our entire church family to help them rebuild. They were an older couple, very kind natured. The wife began explaining how her husband had some kind of sickness that made it difficult for him to do physical labor… and that he started constucting this storage building 2 years ago… all by himself… a little bit at a time… and he had just finished it a few weeks ago.
As she was speaking, my eyes watered several times… the compassion that I received as I prayed for them prior to this meeting was reaching its crest… and I struggled so earnestly to maintain my composure. All I could think was, what if I had gone into that meeting self focused? What if I had not caught Gods heart just minutes prior to this divine moment? Something happened in my heart during that meeting that I will never forget!
As they were leaving, I asked if I could pray for them. While I prayed over this beautiful couple, my love for them just kept growing and growing. I prayed for God to heal the husbands body, restore their fortunes, bless their future, bless their children… and whatever else came to my mind. After the prayer, the wife said, “we have met you before… it was about 10 years ago at a home group bible study in Fishersville.” From memory, I said, “then you must know so and so” (people I met at that bible study who are now going to our church). She said, “of course we do… they are good friends of ours, in fact after they found out about the fire, they had us over to their house for dinner on Sunday night… to cheer us up!” And that explains why this church family was absent from bible college on Sunday night.
I have to wonder how much better life would be for us, if we could just see our trials from the other side of the fence? God forgive us for all the times we postured ourselves in defence when you we calling for us to posture in compassion. Selah.
Have a super thanksgiving… we love you guys and we are praying for you like crazy!!