Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: A Letter to Daniel
By Suzanne Shepard
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My dearest Daniel,
Remember the vicious winter winds that blew the snow in vertical waves the night of our wedding, twenty-five years ago, today? In hind-sight, it could have been an omen warning us of the turmoil that was soon to come.
Like so many other couples who say, “I do,” we raced into our marriage on a wing and a prayer. I was rebounding from a traumatic divorce and you were running from the violence of a very abusive home. Lust was probably a better way to describe our relationship, but love is what we naively called it.
Everything was great for awhile, but it wasn’t long before things started to turn sour.
Your upbringing was all that you had to fall back on when it came to trying to resolve our differences… I didn’t possess the coping skills needed to properly respond to your insecurities and increasingly agitated behavior. The differences in our backgrounds positioned us for imminent disaster.
One day I found out that you had been living a lie and you had performed an unthinkable act. I know you had previously given your heart to Jesus, but somewhere along the way, you lost sight of His great love for you – or maybe you just never were able to see Him as a loving Father – your earthly father had failed you so miserably.
Whatever the case, we had to make some choices and decide whether or not we would allow God to help us walk on together, or go our separate ways.
As you know Daniel, many people were appalled at the trap that you had fallen into and for my sake and the sake of our children, they ardently advised me to toss you along the wayside and be done with you….that seemed like the right thing to do. But Jesus had another plan.
By his grace, Daniel, certainly not because of my own wisdom or strength, but only by His wonderful grace, I ventured to ask Him what He wanted me to do with you.
As clearly as I am writing this to you, darling, His Word spoke to me out of the Scriptures when he said,
“If anyone has caused grief he has not so much grieved me as he has
grieved all of you… the punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient
for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you therefore, to reaffirm you love for him.” II Corinthians 2:5-8 (NIV)
Daniel, God asked me to do the impossible that day – I wasn’t at all sure I could even obey. You had given me every reason to hate you, but God said that He loved you. His Word challenged me to die to my self and dared me to live for Him.
There was a particular day when I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about you. He reminded me that you never had the opportunity to experience the love of God in your home – you handled life the only way you had learned. But now that you had called on His Name in faith, there needed to be someone who would be the hands and feet of Jesus and who could he send to show you the true heart of a loving Father?
I wept openly before him, Daniel, and I said to my Lord, “Here I am Lord, with your help I’ll do what you say – send me.”
He graciously gave me seven years while you were in prison, to study His Word and envelope myself in His Love.
He taught me how to see you through His eyes; He showed me how to forgive you just as He had forgiven me. He revealed His power hidden within the folds of unconditional love. He displayed His Glory through a single life broken before Him – a vessel emptied and ready for the Master’s use.
He asked me to love you faithfully, so that I might know Him intimately.
Because of Him, I can honestly say, “Happy 25th Anniversary Daniel! I love you with all the love He has so graciously placed in me for you.”
Your love forever,
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.” II Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)
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