Dinner with an Old Friend
I had dinner with an old friend the other night. As fun as it was to reunite and share the many blessings found in both of our changed lives, I couldn’t help but have my heart broken as our conversation turned to her past. The fact that I missed her brother’s funeral due my incarceration was only the beginning of many painful things that occurred while I was away.
Besides the tragic deaths of some of our close friends, she explained the circumstances surrounding her son’s birth. As if her brother’s suicide occurring just weeks before delivery wasn’t enough to crush her, what she found when she came home from the hospital devastated her even more. She opened the door to an empty house. Everything she had prepared to raise her son with was gone, including the crib and her baby’s father.
In reviewing our conversation in my mind, I am happy to see her doing well. Listening to her share about how she is learning to put her trust and life in the care of Christ joys me to no end, but I can’t help wishing that I could have been there to help her through these hard times, or better yet save her from experiencing these struggles all together.
If it were possible to rescue our loved ones through works then I know my family would have captured the flag on the top of the mountain as soon as they saw me doing a back hill slide. It just doesn’t work like that and trying to make sense of struggles can be equally frustrating. A changed heart depends on the only One who can change hearts, which means we can’t stop praying! Our prayers for those struggling are crucial and is the most important form of action we can take for ourselves and others.
Now, I’m not saying that since we can’t physically save or change people that it is pointless to say or do anything more than pray. In scripture, it is clear that God uses men to reach men. You never know what the Lord will use to help change the hearts of those He intends. For me, it wasn’t just what happened that caused me to truly repent. I received a letter the first week that I was in prison that explained what I didn’t know and expressed what I had not yet imagined. The effect of reading this letter drove me into a deeper form of repentance. The condition, the timing, and the words were just right in order to penetrate exactly how the Lord intended it to.
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.