In L.L. Barkat's new book, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places, we continue through her story which is interesting all by itself. Enough was enough for her and her sister. It was more than an ultimatum to their mother even as young teenager girls. They were leaving to escape their stepfather and expressed hope that she would come with them. You imagine the scene as L.L. is truly an artist with words. And an artist with special intent, telling you her story unblinkingly and helping you see that story as well as your own in light of God's story.
Suffering was a part of L.L.'s and her sister's life, as well as their mother's. They were victims of a man who was bent on a path of destruction. Hopefully people will reach out to the Balm of Gilead through the gentle waters of Shiloah, knowing their need as they present themselves as the bruised reed they are. But for those who refuse to come to God in this quiet conversion sort of way there awaits the mighty flood of Assyria. Anything but pleasant as heads not only went rolling but were displayed on the city walls. But God's way of getting people's attention if his goodness and their own brokenness is not enough.
For L.L. and her sister the door of their father's house was open, so they made the difficult choice to leave their mother, if need be, so that they could at last do what they had wanted to do for so long. But now had the courage to follow through come what may.
Suffering does that to us. It makes us look for change. Naturally we shrink from pain, whatever kind it might be. And we want to find the cure for it. This makes suffering a most important ingredient in our lives to help us come to our senses and find our way home as did the prodigal son.
This has been true in my life in a number of ways. I remember how at the age of 17 my Old Gold straights just didn't taste good anymore. The friends I had who were into my music and getting good stuff just didn't seem much like friends anymore. My own life seemed empty and I was in pain. I knew I was a sinner and that Jesus is the Savior. That is when by the Spirit's working I finally committed my life to God through Jesus. Enough was enough. I was coming home at last.
I still experience suffering along the way, some of my own making, some from living in a fallen world with other sinners. In all of it, God wants me to find his grace and he doesn't particularly care how hard the place may be if need be, though God would have us find it in the more gentle way, as L.L. points out. But what matters in the end is that we do find what we need and all we need in God through Jesus.
Much good teaching in this chapter from God's word as L.L. continues to share her story of how she found God's grace in hard and hidden places.
What would you like to share from your own life about this, or anything else you might like to say?
I quote from L.L.'s chapter, "quiet conversion" one example, and chose not to note that here. I probably do so without knowing it, as well. I probably have done the same on other posts.
1. Stepping Stones - conversion
2. Christmas Coal - shame
3. Tossed Treasures - messiness
Next week: chapter 5: "Sword in the Stone - resistance"