Saturday, September 17, 2011

He Heals us because He loves us....

On Friday evening I went to a local church to hear Wm. Paul Young, author of acclaimed novel, The Shack speak. Over a year ago, I listened to the book on audio - first in part because it was all that I could handle; and then in it's entirety. Then I listened again a few months after that. It changed my perception of the Holy Trinity; and my understanding of God's love. More than that, it helped me survive multiple tragedies. I had this date marked in my calendar for over 3 months; I intended to be present to hear this author, whose story of publication was just as profound as the story itself, speak.
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A week before the event, a good friend emailed me to ask if I had heard of this author or read the book; she wanted to know if I was going to hear him speak. This further confirmed that I needed to be present. I was late getting there, but I still pressed through - there was something in this place I had to get.

I settled in near the back of a scatter crowded sanctuary, while Young himself stood center stage, excellently telling his story. Some of it I already knew; but he divulged more and more about God's love and his life. There were things I had forgotten or maybe never knew, like "the time in the Shack represents 11 years of my life," and "God is a God of relentless affection".

He talked about the life he had lived, one of "learning to live inside of and adapt to other peoples boundaries" because he didn't have the ability to set boundaries of his own, until his facade came crashing down, I was so wrapped up in the presence of God in that place and in his story, I was completely unprepared for what happened next.

"If God loves me at some point the facade has to come crashing down." I sat looking at this man, whom God has chosen to carry this magnificent message, and waited with the rest of the room, to find out what it could have been he was hiding. "What my wife now knew was that I had been in an affair with her best friend for 3 months."

I felt like I had been slammed against a brick wall. "God, why am I here?" I asked "Why do I need to know this? Why now? Jesus."

Given my own situation and the conditions of my divorce, this is a relevant response. I felt certain that it was the right response. I almost got up and walked out. What stopped me was this: God has made a wonderful testimony out of this mans life, and out of his marriage. He must want me to know something to have brought me to this place, and to have made so emphatically sure that I got here tonight.

I stayed. Surely if God forgave Paul, and Kim forgave Paul, I could forgive him too. And why in the world would he need my forgiveness?

I stayed for the rest of the event, and I received much more that evening, and went home. I thought about some of the things Paul said about why Kim didn't throw him out immediately after that horrid time. There were two things that made the difference in their marriage. The first was that he didn't blame anybody else - he knew it was about him; about his own mess and messiness, about his own sick state of being and he took the blame; and the second was that he opened the phone book and called a crisis center and asked for help.

I spent a lot of hours thinking and praying about why it was important for me to be there to hear what Father, Son and Holy Spirit wanted me to hear that evening. It is not simple enough for me to put it in a few sentences, but here is the down home truth of the matter:
"God forgives His children who commit hurtful acts against others of His children because nothing we can do changes His affection for us. While we may have conditional love for one another, God was already well pleased with us before we were formed in our mothers wombs, and His love is unconditional. Just as God never abandoned me in the midst of my mess, He never abandoned my ex husband either. Now, He just wants to heal us, both, individually; and all of us, collectively, because that is the ultimate goal of our faith - the restorative healing of eternal life with God." - Elizabeth
Have you read The Shack? It is on my highly recommended reading list. I encourage you, challenge you even (was that Mean Ole Lion-ish) to read it.

Win a copy of The Shack!

One follower will win a copy of the book just by following my blog and commenting. Note: You must follow Black, Divorced and Virtuous, and you must leave a comment section. Don't forget to leave your email address so you can be contacted if you win.

Comment should answer this question: Have you ever experienced an urge to be somewhere, even when things kept getting in the way of you being there? What happened?

A winner will be picked on Friday, September 22, 2011. 


  1. Have you ever experienced an urge to be somewhere, even when things kept getting in the way of you being there? What happened?

    Yes, I believe my relationship with Chris is a gift from God. Simply because of the way it came together. However, for some reason we never get to spend much time together. He is always gone over seas. Him leaving all the time gets in the way of our "growing as a couple" if you will. Now he is leaving again for a year and I continue to make the sacrifice because I love him so much.

  2. He is in the military? That is interesting, because you having been military understand the position and the calling more than a civilian ever could. You are in a considerate position.A year seems like a long time, but if you keep your mind staid on Christ, that time may not be as long as you think. You are certainly virtuous and proverbial. Remember the period with the water purifying systems? Only you could have done that. Get your one year ministry plan together and wait on the Lord.

  3. I've had that experience a few times....I am not a faithful sit in the church every Sunday type of Christian but when I do go I always feel the word is directed towards my situation....It seems like everytime I go they are always talking about finding out what Gods purpose for your life is.....I know I should be doing something extra....but I dont take the time to explore it......but as far as the content of your blog...I feel how can someone tell you how dedicated they are in their walk with Christ and in the same breath say they were cheating for three years....I makes me feel like he would still be cheating had he not got caught and how it was you'd probley still be cheating had you never gotten caught...