Jun 5, 2017

October 3, 2011 Journal. Not allowing Evil to have the last Word.

         Almighty and everlasting Father, thank You for using me today for Your glory. The events of the past 12 hours still have me pondering in awe and wonder.
        My day started with some tidying up our little apartment. That’s when I turned on the television to listen to the local news and a particular story caught my attention. A local woman had sadly become a victim of a hate crime.  Right away, I found myself sitting down in front of the television listening to the reporter share the awful details of her story.  My heart filled with compassion while my head began to shake sorrowfully from side to side.
      “Four young men and one woman who identified themselves as “skinheads” had stolen an eleven-foot wooden cross from a local Lutheran church. The group hatefully burned the cross on the front lawn to frighten the African American woman.” The reporter said.  “Imagine the pain!” I thought. “Perhaps I should share my story of hope with the woman so that she knows You are with her through the fearful darkness of the evil one.”
       I began to pray and suddenly felt an urge to go to the local Bible store to purchase a gift for the woman to encourage her. “I know just what I’ll write in the card that I’ll include with her gift. ‘God is with you!’ ”I thought.
      You surprised me in the bookstore LORD when during my conversation with the clerk, another customer approached me. Apparently, the man had been listening to our discussion and seemed to know just what might touch the heart of this particular woman. The man spared no time in walking straight to a wall plaque with Psalm 121:8 written on it.  Then, he handed the plaque to me. We began to read the words together out loud. “The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” My eyes welled with tears. You, my LORD, had chosen the perfect gift!
       Next, the man and I began to talk for a while. I shared with him my testimony and he shared his. "I was a Jew,” the man said. “But, an unfaithful one,” he added.  Then, he told me about the day Jesus grabbed hold of his heart.
       I enjoyed listening to the man as he worshiped You with his words. At one point, I felt caught up in his steadfast sense of devotion. Were You using this man to conquer that feeling of personal doubt I had been experiencing? For days, I had been wondering whether I was truly doing Your will. Now, I was sharing my confusion with a complete stranger. “I wonder if I am doing enough. I just wake up in the morning and wait for direction from the Holy Spirit.  Maybe I am supposed to be working with a ministry instead. Perhaps God would rather me work in a paid position with an organization.” The man simply smiled and softly said, “Just keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about what comes next!” All of a sudden, my doubts and fears disappeared and my heart filled with excitement. I walked out of the Christian bookstore overjoyed and committed to demonstrating Your love to the afflicted woman.
       When I returned to my car, I paused for a moment realizing that I didn’t have an address to locate the woman’s home.  Suddenly, the picture of the woman’s home from the news broadcast flashed for a moment in my mind. Unbelievably, I was able to recall the name of the street. I started my car and drove to her street.  I found the house right away. It looked just like the picture from the news!
I anxiously pulled my car to the curb. My hands began to shake. They became wet with sweat. I signed the woman’s card and began to walk up the path to the front door. I knocked on the door for several minutes. I could still smell gasoline and charred wood lingering in the air.
       Finally, the door slowly opened. A young woman poked her head out to greet me. I felt bewildered when I noticed that she was Caucasian.
Confused, I asked, “Is this the home where the cross was set on fire?” The woman quietly shook her head “yes.” She replied, “But, they meant to hurt the woman next door. We just happened to have more space in our yard.”  I shared with her my intention to speak with the woman next door.  She then said, “They may not even be home. I think they moved this past weekend.”
        Still, certain that I was supposed to leave the gift, I walked next door and knocked on the woman’s screen door. Sadly, no one answered. So, I placed the gift bag against her screen door and walked back to my car. As I turned on the ignition, a particular song began to play on the radio. I burst into tears as the artist sang, “I will rise, out of these ashes rise, from this trouble I have found and this rubble on the ground, I will rise.”
         A quiet sense of gladness filled my heart. Thank You, LORD, for using me today! I love You! Goodnight.

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