"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13
Held captive by winter, the spring ground of the New Hampshire mountains remained hidden beneath her frozen veil. Darkness was loosening it's grip and the sun lingered a few more precious moments each day. New life was promised but the signs were subtle, barely noticeable to the passers-by.
Trudging out of the cold spring snow, I settled into my gray folding chair near the back of the chapel, grateful for the warmth of the ladies surrounding me. It had been awhile since I'd gone to a women's retreat and I was waiting for God to speak. With great expectation, I waded through the worship music, hoping with each new chorus God would meet me. But he didn't and disappointment crept in.
The speaker took her place center stage and introduced her topic for the weekend, The Names of God. "And tonight, ladies, we'll be looking at his name, 'Abba' or 'Father.'" I took copious notes still listening for God's words meant especially for me but they never came. Instead, I was met with restlessness as I wrestled all night with the thought of the morning's assignment and prayed for God to somehow rescue me. He didn't.
So, I sat in silence in an empty room warmed only by my steaming cup of tea. I opened my journal and penned the title of the assignment in blue ink atop the page. I took five pages to tell God just what I thought of him; how insensitive He was to put me through this painful assignment. I told Him if he were such a loving God He shouldn't be opening this chapter in my life again; the reminder of pain and missed childhood. When I finished ranting, God finally spoke. "Are you done, yet?" he asked. "Now here's how I see (it)." And, I wrote for an hour of how God viewed my experiences through His eyes. And then he left me with a challenge: forgive and offer forgiveness.
That was the beginning of God's rescue of my heart. I'd like to say I was pumped for the rest of the weekend but I can't recall a single thing after Saturday morning. I just wanted to run away and so I convinced the woman I traveled with to leave early.
As we traveled, the New Hampshire mountains gave way to congested highways toward home. Home was full of distractions I hoped would drown out God's challenge. It worked for awhile but by autumn, before the soil of my heart froze solid, God challenged me one more time: forgive and offer forgiveness. And, so I did.