Jan shifted uncomfortably in the pew as Pastor Charles began his sermon. She turned pages absently as he directed the congregation to that familiar New Testament passage containing the “Lord’s Prayer.” In spite of herself, she was wishing that Rob were here beside her.
As a starting point, the pastor explained that this was really Jesus’ teaching on prayer, and a pattern for all of us as we approach the Father. Then he began reading: “Our Father Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven...”
For some reason Jan felt her defenses rising, and deliberately let her mind wander, trailing off to the past week . Of course she had prayed! She had cried out to God that Rob was making a terrible mistake, and asked Him to stop this rapid sequence of events about to change everything!
The church, the people around her, faded away in a fog of overwhelming emotions. She was seeing Rob’s countenance, fallen because of the injury of her own words, and hearing his voice.
“Jan, you know that I have to take this job transfer, and we have to relocate for a few years! There’s no time to look for another position, and besides that, the chances of finding anything comparable, at this point in time, are practically nil. I have to provide for us in the very best way that I can. At our age, we just can’t start all over. Besides that, it will only be for five or six years until I can retire, then we’ll move home again.”
Even now, Jan couldn’t believe her own antagonism, and had heard herself speaking louder with every syllable. “Only five or six years?”she’d repeated. “Do you know how old our grandchildren will be in five or six years? How can you ask me to leave them, to leave all the ties and responsibilities in the church, all the lifetime friendships, all.....” She’d sobbed then, unable to finish. Anyway, it wasn’t as if they hadn’t been over and over this in the past few days. Rob wouldn’t budge, and just didn’t understand what this meant in their lives, in her life.
Again she recalled his hurt look, and remembered what he’d said, as his shoulders slumped, and he returned to the bedroom. “Whatever happened to all I’ve heard you say about accepting God’s will and trusting Him to take care of us?”
At that moment, Pastor Charles’ voice broke through the haze of floating thoughts, and Jan heard him now, clearly and distinctly:
“As we address our Father, and “ hallow” His name, we also recognize that His will is our greatest good, and should be our highest goal. Our Lord will have a literal kingdom in the future, and we anticipate that, but for now, He is building His kingdom in us, from the inside out. As a king, He has the right to rule, and our part is to acknowledge His majesty and power, trusting His faithfulness. From this heart attitude flows all the rest of this prayer.”
Awareness and shame washed over Jan. Her tears flowed unhindered, and she silently asked forgiveness for her self-pity, anger, and doubting her loving Father.
As the sermon ended and services were dismissed, a holy hush seemed to fill the sanctuary. With make-up smudged, and a heart deeply moved, Jan walked quietly to her car and drove home.
Entering the front door, she almost collided with Rob, who appeared to be waiting for her. She fell into his arms and sobbed her apologies. He just held her, saying too, “I’m sorry.”
After a few minutes, Jan sat down, opened her Bible and read aloud: “Our Father Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven...” Rob nodded, with tears of understanding. Joining hands, they finished the prayer together. Yes, God was their Father, still in Heaven on His throne, and they would let Him build and extend His wonderful kingdom in their lives. They had a difficult transition but a great adventure ahead - with Him - and with each other.
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