“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” ~Hebrews 4:7b
Life is trial by fire.
I remember a time when I was in great need of friends, yet found myself without any. When rumors flew faster than 747s and anger burned hot at things beyond me. Those whom I would have turned to were absent, or separated by miles, the distance a gaping hole of loneliness.
I remember enough details to repent. I remember enough words to ache. I remember enough to be threatened by the dark threads of entangling bitterness.
Even after so many years have passed. Even more so when new conflict stirs and hurt smolders.
Even here, between the trials and conflicts when life is at relative peace and friends are abundant and compassionate, even here my heart stirs with memory and questions taunt and I long to find validation and even vengeful compensation.
And in this quiet I must remind myself. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” ~ 1 Peter 4:12
Because; “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” ~Hebrews 12:11
I must remember: for all the hurts inflected on me, I have inflicted at least as many on others.
And, if I allow it, my experience of someone painful, if nothing else, is a reflection of what I no longer want to be – whether it is in my response to being hurt or the motivation behind what hurt me. And the pain of each encounter, if brought before the One Who Heals, will teach me great compassion. Will train my eyes to see; it is deeply hurting people who cause hurt to be their language to others.
It is in these quiet moments, when life is at momentary rest from trials and conflict, when I hear His kindness speaking. When I must remind myself of His response to my tongue of hurtful anger, of His patience, His gentle touch and kind reminder. When I am safe to open up my entangled heart and let these moments of discipline, a habit of repenting, teach me a language of grateful kindness.
Then, if the opportunity arrises, I will be prepared to reconcile.