Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Trust and Obey (don't write about the song) (05/21/15)
TITLE: A Trust that Forgives
By Diane M. Bowman
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While the country looked on in bewilderment, the people of the community were simply continuing to live what the Bible teaches: No matter what comes, God is worthy of our trust. When we fully trust him, the outflow from our hearts is grateful obedience.
God can be trusted to carry out vengeance in his time and in his way. We cannot see the heart of another man as God can, nor are we able to discern the complex intentions of another. He knows when to wait, when to show mercy, and when to judge. A wise man will patiently wait for God to act. He has promised to repay evil justly and he does not forget to carry out his promises.
The God we serve is unchangeable, his character flawless, and he makes no mistakes. The account in the beginning of the book of Job gives us a glimpse of one possible scenario for why things come into our lives that we perceive as unfortunate. In addition, later in Job, he reveals a reward he received for his suffering that was far superior to the restoration of family and finances. Before his excruciating trials, he had heard of God, but rejoiced afterwards that through his torment, he had seen God with his eyes.
Our omnipotent God is able to restore whatever has been lost. Where another has robbed you, whether it be of your possessions, innocence, future, or life, he will repay many times over, when we forgive. When our generous God repays, he doesn't merely give the equivalent what was lost, instead, he gives abundantly more than we could ever imagine. If we viewed losses in our life with an expectation of profuse future blessing, the significance of our pain would vastly decrease.
God can be trusted to give commands that have a purpose, even if that purpose is unclear to us. When he tells us to forgive, why would we not obey the God who is so worthy of our trust?
His word states that he will forgive us in the way we forgive others. This promise is both a commitment to bless and a clearly stated consequence to those who ignore it, leaving our destiny resting squarely in our own hands.
Sometimes we must blindly obey him in order to understand fully the importance of his commands. Once we turn away from bitterness and anger, we can see that Jesus came to release us from bondage. Unforgiveness traps us in a prison, building a wall, brick by brick, that separates us from God and everyone else as we destroy ourselves with our own bitterness. He wants us to be free, free to serve him, free to live a life of gratitude, and free to spend eternity in his presence.
Several years later, while visiting Nickel Mines, I spoke with a woman who helped care for one of the injured girls. When the subject of the tragedy arose, I mentioned their immediate forgiveness that astounded the nation. After telling me of the girl who may never walk again and the boy who thought he didn't deserve to live because of his inability to protect the girls, she responded, "We forgave him then and we do it again, every day. Every. Single. Day."
The pain wasn't over and they may bear the consequences of another's sin for the rest of their lives, but daily they choose to trust, and yet again, obey.
Romans 12:19 KJV; Proverbs 20:22 KJV; Hebrews 10:23 KJV; Matthew 18:23-35 KJV; Job 1:6-12 KJV; Job 42:5 KJV; Job 42:10 KJV; Joel 2:25 KJV; Ephesians 3:20 KJV
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