"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Glimpses of Grace 12: Coincidence?

     As I went to bed that Thursday night I thought, Our freedom to send out e-mails communicating truth and blessing to each other must be a huge threat to those who hate us. At least they have no control over that! When I turned on my computer Friday morning, our virus protection program warned us of a "severe" threat: a virus which "steals passwords" was actively trying to take over. I couldn't help wondering if those praying against the exposure of truth were hacking into my computer and trying to shut us down. Our security program was able to block it.
     Faithful's appearance before the Board of Executive Elders the same night JE called was civil, possibly because we knew about it, so we were able to pray for it and so several lay people could attend to be sure it remained civil. Faithful was given time to respond to questions and time to give his own statement at the end. Then the executive elders went into closed session. We waited for their verdict and heard nothing.
     The Sunday before Faithful met with the Board, they had told him that two elders would be sitting in on his class. Prepared and pre-prayed, the dozen or so members of Agape received the two elders with a genuinely warm welcome. Both were old friends of most of us and Faithful introduced them, adding that one of them had helped found the class years before.
    I'm not sure what they expected to hear--plots against them, perhaps--but Faithful just continued teaching the book of Revelation. (Interestingly, two other elders sympathetic to us, also attended--and, by choice, have attended ever since.)  
     So now, the Sunday after Faithful's interrogation, when we had not heard whether he would be allowed to continue teaching or not, we gathered as usual and the same two elders--this time without advance notice--showed up again.
     One of them was JE. I was sitting in the back row before we started and at his voice I glanced around and saw him standing a few feet from me, a styrofoam cup of coffee in his hand. Our eyes met. I think he may have said "Good morning" to me, I don't know. I freaked out.
     I started shaking so violently Jerry had to hurry over, sit beside me and keep his arm tight around me so I wouldn't fall off the chair. I kept glancing at JE, who had taken a seat closer to the front of the class, on the other side of the small room. I was clutching myself together and my teeth were chattering as if the temperature had fallen 50 degrees. Only another victim will understand why my reaction was so extreme.
     Within me, the younger parts were in crisis, all over the place, looking for cover yet determined to speak aloud. I prayed hard, "Lord, help! I can't tell them I am broken! They will think I am crazy! But I don't want to leave. This is my class and it has always been a safe place. I need prayer. Please help me be able to ask for prayer without identifying the person whose presence is terrifying me!"
     After a few opening comments which seemed to take forever, Faithful asked if there were any prayer requests. I raised a trembling hand and gasped out something about having been split in childhood by abuse and feeling re-traumatized by the persistent calls of someone in the room. I said I had just started seeing a counselor who specializes in this kind of brokenness.
     Several people prayed aloud for me as I kept shaking. One of them--the first one to pray, bless her heart--was the wife of the other elder assigned to sit in on our class. She had come with him and she prayed such a sweet prayer for comfort for me. 
     I was so grateful that when I got home I e-mailed her to thank her.

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