Pray for your enemies.
God, bless those whose words or actions are intended to harm me in some way. Help me to understand why they feel the way that they do. Do I have any role in their ill-will?
Help me, please, to not be afraid of my shortcomings. Help me to not be afraid of people’s disappointment in me or their anger. Help me to be able to stand before them and to hear their side of the story without becoming defensive. Instead, let me become teachable, curious about how I might do better at communicating or behaving.
Let not fear grow within my heart, giving rise to anger and hatred within myself, but rather may I always be reminded that forgiveness is the ultimate form of compassion. May I extend it others, and to myself, for we are all imperfect. We are all works in progress.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
I leaned over in the garden and picked up the broken pieces. They were scattered all around me. When I finally gathered all of the pieces in one place, I stared at them. How was I going to put them back together again? Like Humpty Dumpty, they looked beyond repair. The terra cotta pot I had dropped had broken into a million little pieces. Just like my heart, I thought to myself.
“God, I’ve been here before,” I prayed. “I’ve known heartbreak many times. Each time, I think I won’t survive it—that there is no way I’ll put the pieces back together again.”
“I know, Sparrow,” God said as He put His hand on my shoulder to comfort me. “I know.”
I didn’t fight the tears that fell as I walked the broken pot to the garbage can. When I lifted the lid, I wished I could throw my heart away, too, so that it would never hurt again.
“Your heart will go on,” God assured me.
I giggled in spite of my tears. “You’ve been watching Titanic again, haven’t you?” I smiled and wiped my nose on my sleeve.
I’m pretty sure God smiled back. “Why don’t you talk to your heart?” He asked me.
“Okay, I’ll do that. ‘Heart, what’s all this breaking into pieces stuff about?'”
I swear, my heart answered me and said, “I have to break in order to open.” I was stunned!
God patted me on my head like I was a little child. “See?” He said. “Your heart is smarter than you think. And stronger than you know.”
I walked back to the garden and sat down and pondered the wisdom of my heart. It has to break in order to open. In that instant, I could hear the birds singing on the wire above me. I felt the sun with her soft winter’s touch. I heard the leaves of the magnolia tree rustling on the breeze. And I knew. Yes, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that my heart would go on.
“If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The phone rang early this morning. It was my friend Peggy. She said, “I want what you have.”
“A bad cold?” I sniffled.
“No, I want the relationship you have with God,” she explained.
“Ah, that.” I blew my nose into a crumpled up Kleenex.
“What do I have to do to be as close to God as you seem to be?”
“Talk to Him like you would a dear friend—someone you trust—someone who knows you intimately,” I said.
“You mean like a real conversation?” She sounded skeptical.
“Absolutely! Tell Him about your day. Ask Him about His. Listen. Listen a lot,” I suggested.
“How do you know what God says to you?” Peggy wanted to know.
“I get a knowing in my gut—my heart—like God has placed knowledge inside of me. I also hear His words in my head, especially when I am writing my Soul Reminders. Sometimes I feel that the Holy Spirit moves my fingers on the keyboard. I’m often surprised at what I’ve written!” I said.
I pulled the receiver away from my face and sneezed. “Ahhh-chooooooo!”
“Bless you!” Peggy said.
I laughed. “Thank you! God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams! He wants to give you the same blessings. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. He won’t let you down, I promise.”
God won’t let you down either. If you long for a closer relationship with Him, reach out. Talk. Listen. Listen a lot! And above all else, keep your heart open. That’s how God gets in!