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If you can’t forgive, let Papa-God do it instead

Recently I found myself in the Emergency Room of a hospital here in Richmond, Virginia.  I was there to visit the family of a young child in my church who had suffered an eye injury.  Thankfully, the young fellow is fine.

While sitting in the waiting room, God arranged another appointment.

A young woman had just entered the room and asked to visit her husband.  At the time, she was denied entry.   She sat down next to me – visibly frustrated.

“It’s frustrating, isn’t it?” I said to her.

“Yes, very frustrating. That’s my husband in there,” putting her hand on her chin.

A few moments later, I returned the gesture, saying:  “I hope everything is okay. I will certainly say a prayer for him.  What’s his first name?”

“His name is ___________, and my name is _____________.”

She started tapping her finger. A few moments later I started tapping my foot in time.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

“I am waiting to see a family from my church. Their child had an eye injury.  The parents have previously lost a child, so this kind of thing gets to them. They are good people and I have just heard the child is fine.  I am just waiting to see them.”

She leaned forward toward me. “That’s where our problem began.”

I leaned toward her, with an inquisitive look on my face.

“Eight years ago,” she said, “we had a miscarriage. My husband not been right since.  In fact, he’s here now because he was threatening to kill himself. I didn’t think he really would, but I can’t take a chance.  I love him.”

She leaned back and the tears started to flow.

I sat back as well and continued to listen.

“It doesn’t help that he’s tried to cheat on me. It broke my heart. But he’s never been right since we lost the baby. He would cuddle up to my stomach and talk to the baby. He’s never recovered.”

She started to cry and said, “The hardest thing is being able to forgive him, I do love him.  But I can’t trust him. I think that’s why he’s in here today. He’s lost a baby and now feels he lost me. I think this is my fault, but I cannot forgive him. How do I forgive him?”

She got up and left the room, weeping bitterly.

I saw my family and then came back to the waiting room as she was returned to her seat.

“I am a Christian. We stopped going to church when the baby died. I think we are having a tough time forgiving God. Does that make sense?”

“Yes!” I said.

“Would you pray for us?”

“Absolutely,” I said, reaching out my hand.

She took my hand.

“Can I tell you a story, first? It will only take a second. It’s from the Bible.”

“Yes, please!” she said, squeezing my hand.

“It’s about Jesus.” I told her the story of the crucifixion. I went up to the point where Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?”

We were silent for a moment. Then she said, “I guess Jesus needed to turn forgiveness over to his Father in that moment. Maybe I need to left God handle the forgiveness and I just need to love my husband.”

I just smiled. Then I prayed.

She asked for all my contact info and where the church was, which I gladly shared with her.  I am still in the hope that I might hear from her.

 

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