Today as I drove from Raleigh to Virginia, I grieved.
I cried again over the sudden loss of my friend Maureen five months ago.
And I sobbed over the loss of my old boss and mentor, Randy, who went home to be with Jesus last Friday.
“I’ll call her another time.”
And now, there is no other time.
In the midst of my grief, the enemy came in like a flood with condemnation. He reminded me of times I could have/should have called or visited. He told me what a lousy friend I was to them, and then continued with what a lousy friend I am. I don’t always take the time to reach out – too tired, too busy, too you name it. My mind went into overdrive wondering which friends I needed to call and who I have neglected.
I cried out to God, pouring out my heart of pain, doubts, and fears. Am I a terrible friend? He answered by reminding me of the book I just finished writing (Intentional Warfare), and what I wrote about how to defeat the enemy in the daily battle he wages against us. Then He brought to mind a song we sing at church: No Condemnation by Martha Munizzi and Anthony Evans, sung by Anthony Evans.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, NLT)
I realized I had a choice: continue to wallow in self-pity and allow the enemy to beat me up (and have more sins to confess later); or sing the song.
I began to sing through my tears. Still weak and hurting, I also continued to cry out my doubts as I sang.
“Lord, can I even hear you at all?”
In His amazing grace and mercy, He answered that prayer about 10 miles later. As I approached a highway exit I’d never taken, I noticed a Wawa gas emblem on the “GAS” sign, and felt a nudge to get off and get gas there. So I exited, and the next sign said 1.7 miles to Wawa. OK, that’s too far, I knew I couldn’t hear right!
Then I looked to the right, and saw a gas station with a price of $2.02 per gallon, and $1.82 if you purchased a car wash – and I needed one badly. Cheap gas, best car wash I’ve had in a while (that I didn’t have to do).
Yes, I can hear God. So I have to trust Him: If seeing Randy (or Maureen) this side of heaven was important to them, Jesus would have made sure it happened. I don’t need to worry about what friends I haven’t seen or should see or could call. Yes, I can be more intentional about keeping in touch with those I care about.
But I can live each day in freedom: trusting God, obeying Him, and focusing on who He brings to mind that day.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34, NIV)
Sill sad, but my burden considerably lighter, I got back on the highway and continued my journey, praising the Lord for His faithfulness and rejoicing that Randy and Maureen are in heaven – free from pain and dancing with Jesus.