I don’t remember writing this letter, and I am ashamed to say that I never sent it. Reading it now, I wish I had. There was so much healing that God provided, but my heart knows there could have been more.
It is almost the end of another year, and it has been a difficult year for you. You have faced many natural sicknesses and trials that have caused your mental and emotional barriers to erode as well as your physical capabilities to weaken. I think for the first time in your life you have realized you are not invincible. And you have been humbled by these experiences. I also know you have been scared by the unknown thrust upon you. Maybe you will take a moment upon reading this to consider that you have inflicted similar pain and suffering upon your family members. And you understand what episodes I am talking about.
You inflicted much pain upon me to gratify your selfish needs. And though our encounter was but for a few moments, the impact of your actions affected my life and emotions for many years after. I was scared I would never know real love, in that I would confuse it with what you thought was an appropriate display of affection. I was humbled that something so “debase” could affect my happy suburban existence. I spend several sleepless and nightmare-filled nights, and I shed many tears over your inappropriateness.
But where our experiences differ is God. In college I came to accept God as the ultimate guiding force of my life. This meant that years after our encounter I had to surrender all the negativity and all the pain associated with what you did. It was nothing but an anchor that was dragging me down. And one day it became too heavy to bear. So I, in the spirit of faith within me and by the grace of almighty God, I got down on my face and cried my last tears over what you did. I poured out through my tears all the pain, damage, and harm you had inflicted upon the family. I refused to let the pain of the past continue to hurt and damage me.
And though we interacted still with caution, the barriers were broken down. I chose to forgive you and forgive your actions rather than carry around the pain one day more. I allowed myself to open, though slowly, to you and interact with you. And you were amazed. But you never asked me why. And I wanted you to ask me why, so I could glorify God and His amazing grace that led to forgiveness.
So now I want to tell you. There is grace and mercy for the humble. And there is complete forgiveness for even the worst sinner. When we come to God and lay the basest part of our humanity and our worst choices at His feet, He is quick to lay His loving hand upon our bent head and replace our anguish with peace. He is quick to exchange our mistakes with His grace. He is quick to renew us and replenish us and refurbish us. He is eager to take the scarletness of our sins and choices and erase them completely.
Without any of this, there would be no relationship between us. I would have done what I was eager to do – cut you out of my life completely. To never forgive you or speak to you again and move on with my life. But that’s not how the heart touched by all-loving God works. A heart longing for God’s goodness in its life cannot simply write people off or walk away. It wants restoration. It wants peace. It wants to reach out with the goodness of God and change a life as it’s been changed.
And no, the memories have not been erased. In fact, upon each visit I am reminded of what happened. It is the devil’s attempt to have me walk backward instead of forward. But I do not allow the memories or the pain to take precedence over the grace of God. When I am reminded about what happened, I have the joy of knowing that my God has worked this horrible situation out for His good. I have the peace of knowing the pain no longer controls or pursues me. I have the love of God that has given me a good testimony and testifies that Ephesians 3:20 is true – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
And now I want to send a prayer your way. I know that you are very scared your life is coming to an end. I know you are anxious about the disease that is ravaging your body. But I want to offer you peace and hope. Know that no matter what happens, if you will submit your life and your will to God – if you will confess that you are a radical sinner and it is only by His grace that you will find salvation, then ask for His forgiveness and mercy upon your eternal soul – you will assure your place in heaven. This is the only true way to assure your place in heaven, for we cannot see heavenly eternity by our works alone or going to church every week. God requires a commitment of faith and a laying down of ourselves.
As for your affliction, take hope in Philippians 4:6-8, which says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
You can also find peace in believing these scriptures:
- Mark 9:23 – Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
- Mark 10:27 – But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
- Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
- Luke 8:48 – And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
- John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
- Matthew 4:24 – Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
God is so good and gracious. It is only through His grace and goodness that we have a renewed relationship these days. And I praise Him for it. I pray you will open your heart and mind to what He wants to do in and for you in your time of suffering and anguish.
Marie Fremin. Originally written 12/10/06.