“I forgive her—again,” I prayed, “but all I feel is hate. Please cleanse my heart.”
A delightful family reunion reconnected me with some long lost cousins—and some old wounds. We laughed and shared funny stories, however, one cousin also confided how a certain person had spurned her efforts to help my father when he lay dying. Her remarks unveiled other harmful things this person had done to hurt us. Emotions I thought long dead resurrected.
I chose to forgive, but I didn’t know how to change my feelings. I could only confess them. I couldn’t pretend I felt something I didn’t. God already knew my heart.
God heard me and surprised me by answering my petition through a song based on Philippians 3:7-10.
“ 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ … 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (NIV).
As I sang the words, I realized that being rejected and separated from loved ones was a very small way of participating in the sufferings of Christ. Joy replaced hurt. God gave me the grace to thank Him for the opportunity to know Him in this way.
Do you want to know Jesus better? Could your suffering have been allowed for that very purpose? Realizing that pain is the only way to fellowship with Christ in His sufferings changed my perspective about my loss and injustice. It can do the same for you.
Knowing Jesus is the best thing. God used the beautiful song, All I Once Held Dear, to remind me that what others intend for evil, He is using for my eternal good.
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