Tonight is a tough night to write a post. Because many people I care about are hurting this evening and there is only so much I can do about it. Several of those people are folks who read these posts and have contacted me about issues they are dealing with in their own lives. Now here’s where it gets sticky. None of these people want me to use their names or to describe their situations. But they have all asked for prayer and for God’s peace in their lives. By the way, I am among those people hurting tonight. Because I have been subjected to witnessing more hurting recently than I can possibly convey to you this evening. And all I want to do is to run to God and cry out…..
In fact, I wasn’t even going to write about this topic, because in all honesty, it’s too close to home. But that’s not what this blog is about – it’s about authentic, genuine communication; even sharing – with people feeling free to reach out to other people and to ask for the membership of the faith community to come together in a powerful way to appeal to God for healing and peace – and forgiveness. Yes – forgiveness.
Now before I go further, I should explain what “unspoken” means. I had never heard of the term until I attended seminary. Of course, while studying in that environment, you are expected to attend chapel each day and there is a tremendous amount of prayer in your life. In fact, each class starts and ends in prayer – which, by the way, I really liked. But many times, those of us in class would be aware of certain situations in our lives that were intensely private – those things that people had shared with us but were too embarrassed or too hurt to let us mention them by name. In those cases, even in the most sacred spaces of our prayer time, we never revealed the specific nature of the prayer requests. Instead, we referred to them as “unspoken” requests. Hence, the title of this post.
Now, you might reasonably ask how you can pray for something you don’t know anything about. But that’s part of the awesome nature of God. Because he knows the prayer request already – remember, he is omniscient, or all-knowing. So even if you don’t know specifically what you are praying for, God already is aware of the situation and so the appeals to God by those of us in the faith community still carry incredible weight.
All of the “unspokens” I am referring to this evening are for people who are in bad situations and need to experience and extend forgiveness to those people who have hurt them. Anger and hurt are powerful emotions and when we are hurt, it is tough to see past it. We want revenge, or to take our anger out on somebody or something. Furthermore, many times we are embarrassed, or for other reasons, are restrained from being able to talk to others about how much it hurts. Sometimes, we may even be legally restrained from divulging too much about our situations.
Whatever the reason(s), we desire prayer for our situations while being unable to share the nature of our burdens. I am sure that everyone reading this post either has, or will, experience the pain of this situation sometime in their lives. How badly we want to share our hearts, yet we can’t. Believe me, I have spent many years of my life hearing the deepest, most heart wrenching desires of people – yet other than prayer, there isn’t much I can do.
Now don’t get me wrong – when people hurt, I want to run in and use all my persuasive skills to “right” the wrong. Usually I want to do that by taking charge, which is the way I handled things in the corporate world. Because I want justice….. Only problem is, I only want it when I want it – and never when it is directed at me. Ever feel that way? I know I have.
That creates an incredible dilemma. Do we handle these situations in our own power, or do we turn them over to God and leave it to Him? I hate it when I am faced with that decision. Because I know what I should do, but that’s not what I want to do. Paul and many others wrestled with this same issue throughout the Bible – including impetuous Peter, one of the three disciples that made up the inner sanctum of Christ’s closest followers. So if Peter, who was with Jesus Himself every day, still fought these issues, how is there any hope for us to forgive those who have hurt us or those close to us?
The answer, while simple, is not easy – not by a long shot. Because it requires a step of faith. One that most of us don’t want to take. Because we are afraid that God is not going to handle our situation with a sense of urgency. And who wants to wait when you want to get even? I don’t……
That brings us to the verse for this evening, from the NLT, a version of the Bible that I don’t generally reference. The truth is, a friend of mine sent me this verse this morning, after I shared my own burden with him yesterday. From Psalm 39:7, we are told, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.” That about says it all – wait, and let God handle it. And we know in our hearts that this is the right decision…..
So for those of us who are hurting, my encouragement is to let you know that God knows the desires of your heart – even if the desire is the wrong one, and you want to take matters into your own hands. My prayer is that God will change our hearts, and that’s tough for me to say this evening; from seeking revenge to praying for those who have wronged us. Even if it’s not natural for us, God can give us peace. So, if you have been hurt, and you’ve been carrying that around with you, please try and let go – turn it over to the Father and let Him deal with it.
For the rest of you who have been touched by this plea tonight, please pray for all the “unspoken” prayer requests that our readers are dealing with. God already knows what they are – and one more thing. Please spread the word – we need to generate as much prayer as possible. So if you’re on Facebook, please hit the “share” button. Grace and God’s peace, tonight and always……