Tomorrow is my birthday.
Debi will make it a wonderful day. I look forward to my girls calling. We’ll have a special lunch with family. Grandkids will be all excited, even though they don’t know how old I really am. Friends will Facebook me and wish a happy birthday. It will be a great day . . . but I know that I won’t hear from one of my heroes . . . my Dad.
The last several years have been difficult ones for me because of conflicts in the family in which I grew up. I have a great Mom and Dad who are believers. They loved me and cared for me, often giving me more than I deserve. My Dad had been a very successful self-made business man who did it on his own. In his desire to be generous and giving, he often provided my sister and me with great gifts and early wealth that we were not ready to manage.
Through the years, money and joint businesses with my family have become issues of division and conflict. At times, there were months were Dad and I were not talking. It’s been a constant issue of prayer and brokenness with me before God. Accordingly, my parents decided to move out of an addition to our home that we jointly built and move to Florida to live in their own home.
Several years ago, on the Sunday before they were to move, God began doing an incredible work in my heart . . . I had to try and resolve any and every issue I could before they moved.
That morning, I went forward after the worship service and asked my Pastor to pray with me over a family issue that I wanted to resolve. He stopped right where we were and prayed for God’s direction, wisdom and peace. I asked two other prayer partners to pray with me as I tried to talk to my parents that afternoon.
I called my Mom and Dad and asked if I could come over and talk. God had flooded my heart with verses: “Love covers a multitude of sin” (I Pet 4:8); “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God . . . casting all you cares on Him, for He cares for you.” (I Pet 5:7, 8); “Honor your father and mother . . . ” (Eph 6:1). I had purposed that I wouldn’t leave them until we could look at each other and say, “I love you”, hug each other and then begin taking one day at a time . . . I was committed to stay there as long as it would take.
I prayed and wept the entire time we talked. I purposed not to argue or fight back. My family has control issues and likes to keep “lists” of wrongs committed. Those lists come up during every heated discussion . . . they may have been forgiven . . . but they are never forgotten.
That day, I kept my lists of hurts in the drawer of redemption . . . even though my Dad’s list of hurts was posted on the mirror of remembrance.
God gave me verses and I prayed. I received three text messages from my prayer partners and my pastor 15 minutes apart . . . it was at the most heated attacks and reminded me that they were praying for me.
At the end of about four hours, it seemed that we had settled all of the issues. I had asked for and extended forgiveness, told my Mom and Dad that I loved them, hugged them and agreed that we would take things a day at a time. The following Thursday, as the moving truck arrived, I went over and hugged them goodbye, told them I loved them and wished them a safe trip.
I’ve called my Dad’s birthday, Father’s Day and on Christmas . . . but he won’t talk with me. The bidding I had from the Lord and decision to obey in June seemed to have lost its effectiveness. I had obeyed . . . God gave me some incredible grace . . . and I had peace.
Several months later, I was in the office with my oldest daughter, Andrea and her son (our first grandson), Bentley when my cell phone rang . . . it read, Dad’s Cell. My dad was calling me. I answered with excitement, “Hello”. On the other end of the phone was my Dad. He said, “Bob Miller, this is Bob Miller . . .”, and he requested some documents that focused on old disputes. I said, “Dad, what are you talking about?”, and his comment back to me was, “Don’t call me Dad . . . ” and thus, the conflict had begun, again. Sadly, my daughter heard the conversation . . . she saw my countenance change . . . and evidenced the spiritual battle that was once again beginning to ensue.
The hurt is huge and the pain is paralyzing.
Conflict. Pain. Unresolved issues. Wounds. They are all real.
So . . . how do you arrive at an easy answer In these kinds of situations? You don’t. You begin to work out the process . . . you begin to work out your salvation.
“Fear has punishment” . . . but “perfect love casts out fear”. Love really covers a multitude of sin. But, the wicked one always comes to steal, to cheat and to destroy.
I’m walking through this . . . and I feel as though I’m walking alone. Others are praying and the prayers provide great encouragement . . . but this is a lonely process.
Pain, loss, hurt and wounds are always a part of life. Remember with me that “by His stripes, we are healed.” He promises to “never leave us or forsake us”. He is the “Wonderful Counselor” and the “Everlasting Father.”
Some of you may be walking in this same type of pain . . . this pursuing, perplexing, pain. Walk with me as we walk with Him . . . we will find that He is our peace and that He is our source!