We are headed off today to see our John. It has been almost two years since we have been able to visit him on his own turf. I thank God that John has been able to travel to see us a few times, but have mercy. That’s a long time.
Every once in a while I experience a sucker punch from what this pandemic has taken. I tend to focus on the global impact and then occasionally I think of what we have missed personally.
While it is not anything in comparison to what this has cost others, it hurts a bit and I have to stop and grieve a little bit for it.
I am sure you each have things…a senior year in high school, a planned wedding that got pre-empted, a job shift that left you reeling, first day of school pics with your kiddos in a mask, a year plus of your family’s story spent far differently than you ever expected…so hugs and prayers for God to show up in the midst of any moments of grief and bring you comfort and hope.
Now for the thought I wanted to share today with you.
Recently we were chatting with friends about a fender bender that impacted all but the person who probably caused it. A sudden lane change up ahead set up a chain reaction for several cars as they tried to avoid hitting the instigator. As the injured put their cars in park and dug in the glove box for insurance cards, the car that was responsible drove off around the corner, oblivious to all that had transpired.
This made me think about a prayer book I have been using called “A Diary of Private Prayer” by John Baille. My copy has been updated by Susanna Wright (which makes me wish I had the original, but that’s just me…I love the old wording of classics.)
The book has a morning and an evening prayer for each day of the month. Since I drag out my devotions with my coffee just about every morning of the year, the A.M. ones are easily done. I struggle finding a routine for the evening though and have been praying for a way to remember to pray those before bed. I know. I know…I could keep it by my bed and do first thing and last each day…but habit is deeply engrained to do with my stack of other readings so…not going to work for me.
Anyway, to the point of this and the tie-in with the accident I mentioned above, the prayers for evening have prompts for things I would never think to pray about. And as I pondered the car that cluelessly caused all the damage, I realized that often I am that driver.
Like the old cartoon where one character is eating a banana, throws the peel over his shoulder and causes someone coming behind to slip and fall; I must be aware that without even realizing it I may have been the catalyst for someone else to stumble or be hurt or run into an inconvenience that soured the day for him or her.
With my words or actions, I may have left damage behind and no…we don’t need to live in a constant state of guilt that this could have happened. But we do need to humbly realize our frailties and flaws are not always what we see and notice. I am rather conscious of many things I do or say that I regret; and there are quite a number of people these days who loudly declare they have been offended…24/7. But what about the accidents I caused that I failed to notice just because that’s life on planet earth?
And so at the end of the day, as I scan back over the events and confess and repent of the ones I can see; I am trying to also remember that I may have caused a fender bender for someone physically or emotionally. While I certainly didn’t do it intentionally, compassion would compel me to ask God if there was anyone I hurt today and ask for forgiveness from Him and healing for that one left in my wake.
In the manner of what I have been learning about prayer from Baillie; here is a sample prayer to pray at the end of the day before entering into rest:
Heavenly Father, I realize today I may have inadvertently caused someone to be derailed physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
While it was not my intent, thank you for your forgiveness of my errors and flaws through Jesus. I pray you would work forgiveness into the heart of anyone to whom I have brought harm. I pray You would show up for them to bring healing and comfort and restoration.
Father, I pray for any pain I have caused others that may be remembered and I ask you Lord to reconcile that one to You and to me through the power of Your Spirit. I pray if I have done something that I need to remember and ask forgiveness for, You would remind me.
If the offense should be forgotten by the one I have hurt, I pray that You would bring a blessed washing away of the memory of the act of injury towards them.
Thank You God for your love, forgiveness, mercy and grace towards us. You know what we are made of. Do not let our mistakes and flawed natures divide us but bring us closer to You as we walk in Your strength and healing.
In Jesus Name