I received a precious gift this morning. It came in the form of a phone call from a woman I first met more than eight years ago. She was a member of the church I served before coming to Chesapeake City. Laura (not her real name) was a woman who was seeking after all the big answers when we first met. She was depressed, unhappy in her marriage, struggling with her nearly grown children, and genuinely trying to figure out how to live well. She and I spent many hours together in worship, Bible study, service, and around her kitchen table. I came to care deeply for her.
I like to joke that I never received my magic God wand in the mail. I had hoped it would finally arrive when I was ordained, but alas, it seems to have gotten lost in the mail. I have so many uses for a magic God wand!
In absence of that, I listened, prayed, and tried to love Laura. She tried to figure out how to open herself up to God and learn to trust and to be loved.
She called this morning to say thank you for letting God use me to bless her. She has relocated a bit north. She has accepted her marriage for what it is, and is not. She has accepted her children. Most of all, she has been blessed by her relationship with God. She even landed in my home church. Small world.
As we were studying Scripture this morning, the lectionary gospel lesson is the crucifixion story in Luke 23. Just after Jesus cries out "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" the guards begin casting lots for his clothing. They don't even register what Jesus has just said. Then someone challenges Jesus to save himself, if he is who he says it is. But that was not the appointed hour. The appointed hour was still three days away, when he would rise, overcoming sin and death. How difficult it must have been to endure the time for what it was, trusting God in the midst of his suffering.
Every time I sit, listen, cry, and pray with someone, I long for God to heal them, to heal me, to end this difficult time. Usually, it is not yet the time. The healing, the resurrection, is coming. But I spend most of my time in the not yet. What a gift to be given another glimpse of God's faithfulness, love, and healing.