Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37 ESV
It was twelve years ago but it was a simple conversation with God that I will never forget. I stood in my living room staring out of the window, somewhat astonished that the sun had come up, that the sky was turning from black to cobalt blue streaked with violet, it was a perfect winter day. And God said, “Will you forgive?”
He didn’t have to say more. I knew he meant the people who had murdered my son, Spencer, just that morning, about four hours earlier. I did not know their names. Yet the question pressed against my crushed heart. Will you?
And all I said was, “Yes.”
Several days later, a well-meaning friend commented that perhaps the God I worshipped wasn’t as powerful as I thought. I mean, Where was He? And truthfully, I couldn’t find Him at that moment. At all. I didn’t see Him, hear Him or feel Him.
But I said this: “Either God is everything He says He is, or He is nothing at all. “
Everything. Redeemer, Almighty God, King of Kings, the Great Shepherd, Conqueror, Deliverer, Healer, Keeper, Comforter. He is I AM.
That means He was there. Jehovah Shammah. And it meant He was in control.
To this day, I believe that my simple declaration, which was strangely defiant in the midst of unspeakable brokenness and defeat, kick-started a move of God upon my life and circumstances that otherwise would’ve laid dormant, an if-only in the spirit realm, never fulfilled on this earth.
This is faith defined. And it gives pause to wonder how many if-onlys I have to my account that I will sadly realize someday when I see my Father face to face.
Strange that just a few simple words spoken by a helpless and shattered woman can turn the heavy hand of destiny for so many lives.
I confess there are times that I have felt differently, when every cell in my body screams in rebellion at God. I don’t want to forgive, to let it go. Or when all of my common sense pulls towards the domain of fear, worry and “I’ve got to DO something about this!” but God whispers,
“Just trust Me.”
Surrender does not come naturally. Yet I have found that as soon as we will to do God’s will, it’s the easiest and simplest thing on earth. Just uncurl your little fingers from around that thing and…release. Now breathe.
Decisions. There are things I have thought that I dared not speak, because just the words being released into the world on some level, changes things.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. James 3:6 ESV
When I was little my mom’s nick-name for me was “Last-Word Lucy” after the Peanuts Lucy character. My nature, my DNA, is big-mouthed. Yet as I have poured more of Jesus into me, the Lucy has diminished greatly over time. Like I said, I still think some things I know I shouldn’t say. And I try to say the things I know I should. More I love you’s. More Yes I will to the simple commands that God places before me.
Today there were four children from two different families playing upstairs in my house. I bought a big box of second hand toys for my granddaughter’s visits and I still have Jake’s (and probably some of Miles’) matchbox cars in a shoebox. As I listened to the beautiful flow of play trickling down the stairs I realized none of the twelve people in my house, except for two, would be here, would know the glorious hope and peace that comes from knowing Jesus, if I had not said Yes that morning twelve years ago. It’s safe to say a couple of them would be dead.
I say this not to elevate myself, because God had prepared me well in advance to know the right answer to his question. For me it was a no-brainer. Forgiveness is a command and should be closely followed by love, another command. But think about this, the next time you pause to answer, or wrestle with obeying a very patient and merciful God: we can’t see what is weighing in the balance of eternity, but God surely can. In that same chapter of James, he declares that it takes a very small rudder to steer a huge ship. Yes? Or No? Very small words that can open or close doors on destinies, on someone’s very life.
I don’t ever want to forget this. After the kids left today, and I found a few trucks and stuffed animals tossed around the house, I said a silent Thank you Jesus. What small things He asks of me, and what immeasurable blessing He pours forth, “that we can’t contain it”. It’s all in a word sometimes. If we believe that God’s keeps HIS word, we should try to keep ours.