TITLE: The Long, Long Road to Victory
By Carol Shaffron
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“It’s going to work this time.”
“Yeah, it can’t possibly fail, not this time. We’ve been working on this one for 53 years. It’s about time we finish the job.”
She couldn’t sleep. The knots in her gut were tightening to the point of almost suffocation. Silent screams racing through her brain louder than the roar of a stampede of elephants made each second practically unbearable and endless.
“Why don’t you just kill yourself? What’s the use?”
“God, I thought You told me ……..” the thought trailed off as she tossed and turned trying to settle the body she felt trapped in on top of the futon mattress she had borrowed from her son.
“You have nothing really to live for. It’s all over….”
She got up and went to the kitchen for a drink of water. By now she knew better than to own those thoughts that kept trying to invade and take over her mind. But she was too weary to try to pray.
“God, how could You let that happen? I thought our friendship had finally developed to the point of mutual respect. It looked like You were finally changing his heart. I can’t believe You let this happen!!!!” Tears would not come. But the anger built up inside her exploded from deep within like lava spilling out of a volcano - hot, raging anger…………
“I’m not speaking with You anymore. I don’t want anything to do with your empty words - they’re nothing more than black ink on white paper. It’s so hypocritical of You to let that _____ live with Marty. “
Robotically she plodded through several weeks too numb to feel anything. They seemed endless...
She wished desperately that she could just disappear. Each day she dreaded having to go into the small office at the Social Services Department where she worked as an administrative assistant. Thank heaven the nature of her work was such she could choose her hours and go in when most of the other staff were out in the field. She had no strength to try to be civil to anyone much less pleasant. And she was more than glad when her workday ended and she could go back to the tiny house she was renting just six blocks from her office building.
It was the tiniest place she’d ever lived in. The outside was painted a deep, very pretty blue. Stepping inside the front door, the only door, she felt a deep sense of relief. Even though she did not like living in the middle of the city, she was grateful to have a roof over her head instead of being on the street. She had been that route before when she was younger and more adventurous, and at that time, it wasn’t all that bad. It was just after she accepted Jesus and she was on that new believer’s high. No one had told her how rough the road ‘salvation of her soul’ would sometimes become.
Lying on the futon in her 9 1/2’ X 12’ bedroom, pen in hand, thoughts started flowing onto the yellow legal pad…
You have made such a difference in my life. When we met, I was so broken and my heart was numb…..
She crumbled the paper and threw it into the trash.
I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come into my life when you did those thirty years ago. I was on the verge of…..
“What difference does it make, you know he won’t even read it. The soul ties between him and that selfish brat are way too strong. And he’s just doing what he believes necessary to avoid her petty, jealous tirades and pacify her. He knows you love him and he can always come back.“
Getting up from the futon, it took only half dozen steps to her TV. She mindlessly turned it on. “God loves you. You’re very, very special to him. He created you for a purpose……’
How many times had she heard that before. But here she was all alone again. Nothing had changed in the thirty years since she accepted Jesus as her Savior and tried her best to “seek first the kingdom of God”. She left the TV on to drown out the roaring sound of the silence that reminded her she was indeed still all alone.
Roaming aimlessly into the kitchen and turning the faucet on she began to wash the pile of dirty dishes left in the sink for the last few days.
Tumbling through her mind like circus acrobats her thoughts crowded in on her, “I have to do something. I cannot go on like this. I hate this. I feel just like I did when Daddy sent me to my room and let Karina go to the dance with my friends because I didn’t want to take her along with me. He let her get away with murder even when she was wrong, and damn, God, You’re doing the same thing to me. You’re punishing me and letting that prissy, condescending witch get away with murder - my murder…..
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked. He that sows to the flesh……
It sounded like a whisper, but she knew it was the Holy Spirit reminding her no one who sins gets away with it.
The Holy Spirit continued to whisper to her aching heart day after day. Each time He spoke the truth she so desperately needed to hear and each time it felt like ointment to her deeply wounded soul. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The whisper came over and over and over in the following weeks until one day
“Father, I don’t really hate You. I just hate this. I hate that I am still by myself. I have been on this earth for 53 long, lonely years. And I thought You told me, ‘When Marty comes home, hundreds, thousands shall be healed.’ I do not understand this.” There was no guilt, no condemnation, no shame. And she knew she was not being punished. The tears damned up in her heart from a lifetime of being strong came flooding down her cheeks, washing her eyes - the eyes of her soul, and she felt cleansed……
The years she had spent trying to be so good, trying to please Daddy, and Papa God melted away like snow in the spring sunshine softening her calloused heart and opening the way to the healing oil of the Holy Spirit. The echoes of “if you don’t behave, I’m going to send you to……” were silenced in the arms of her heavenly Father’s warm, consoling graces. For the first time in her life, she knew she was truly accepted , deeply loved and highly valued .
And for the first time in her 53 years, she knew that no matter what she did, or how she failed, God would never send her to……….
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