"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace

I Shut the Mouths of Lions!

"And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions..." Hebrews 11:32-33

I'm not sure if God will ever count me as one who has "shut the mouths of lions," but I know my God definitely has!

We have recently been discussing suffering, pain and trials that God permits in our lives. Well, several years ago God allowed an inexplicable trial in my life.
We had recently moved back to my hometown after a 13+ year absence and at the time I was a stay-at-home mom.

God's providence had placed us in an area of the city that was within a very short drive of a brand new office building that at the time was under construction. When I saw the name go on the building, I was thrilled! I had worked for this company for a brief time before the birth of my first son.

I drove pass this fast rising building almost everyday thinking, "Maybe I'll go back to work there someday." I had truly enjoyed working for this company and had admired the founders' business ethic. "Someday," I innocently thought to myself.

Well, my sons are truly wonderful young men, but both had a short period of time during their high school years when, well, let's just say they did not fully apply themselves. So, no scholarships! This, among other factors, led me back into the workforce. So, of course...

It's funny, looking back on it the whole thing is much like pregnancy. When we work somewhere that has a lot of good things going for it, much like birth pains, we tend to forget anything bad connected with it. I should have been more discerning!

Well, right off the bat the first three months were pure hell on earth! I was working in the same department as I had years before, but, boy, how things had changed. Worse, there were two young people in this department who seemed to have it out for me right from the get-go! Don't know what made them both automatically hate me so very much, but truly, they did! They took every opportunity to make my life miserable. In fact, I almost quit at that time. Wish I had!

That's not what I'm writing about.

It was during this three month period that I met a very precious, beautiful young (much, much younger--could have been my daughter) Christian girl. Amazingly, we immediately hit it off. Lunched together almost everyday. Shared family stories, took walks at lunchtime. Just enjoyed each other's company.

One day she came into my office. As we stood around chatting for a moment, she asked me about the other places I worked in my life. Well, I mentioned one of the first places I had ever worked (around 18-20 years of age). (Prior to this conversation, this young lady had mentioned that her uncle worked in this same particular field, but since her uncle was so much more successful than the owner of the company I had previously worked for--and the fact that she had a different last name--I never saw any connection.) For some reason, as soon as the words came out of my mouth--it hit me like a brick. I knew had worked for her uncle! I think the earth might actually had stopped spinning for just that moment--I know my heart did! My relationship with her uncle was not one I ever cared to remember! Not ever!

I tried to pass this whole thing off by thinking she would never make 1+1=3 out of this, but the very next day she introduced me to her aunt (her uncle's sister). I recognized her aunt immediately. Suddenly recalling that at one point all three sisters of this man had worked at this very same company during the short time I had worked there so many years ago. I flashed back to being with all three of these women on several different occasions on an elevator--me just standing there under their hateful, judgmental stares.

From this point things only got worse! The aunt insisted on having lunches with us! I couldn't believe what was happening!

Then, one day this sweet girl calls me and invites me to lunch. Stupidly, I believed it is just going to be the two of us! To my horror, I find out well on the way to the restaurant that almost her entire family was going to be there. We filled up an entire area of the room in that place! Can you believe it???

I just sat there trying to keep it together as they said his name over and over again. Blank this, Blank that. I could feel their eyes on me watching for any reaction. Thankfully, at least I think so, I didn't blink any eye. Of course, I couldn't look any of them in the eye!

I think they would have stayed there forever talking about this man except that when it got to be 30 minutes or so passed my lunch hour (and this girl's), I hurriedly excused myself.

Shortly after this luncheon meeting, the young girl I had loved left the company, but her aunt was faithfullly waiting for me at the lunch table everyday! Believe it or not, I lived in this unbearable situation for several more years!

I discussed this whole mess with my husband (yes, he knew everything!) and he so wisely advised me to not speak to this woman and avoid her whenever I could. (Big lesson on spiritual authority! You ladies out there--take heed!) But, no! I wouldn't listen to my husband. I thought I owed this family some type of atonement--penance or something. I truly felt I could somehow make it up to them. Foolishness! Vanities of vanities!

Oh, I wish I had listened because over time, the guilt nearly killed me, it led to serious temptation and it almost cost me my sanity! Worse, it nearly destroyed my family!

What I was choosing to believe was a lie from the pit of hell! Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't try and make amends when possible, but not when others will unwittingly be harmed by our confession. It was not until years later that I realized this woman knew everything from the beginning. I did seek her forgiveness, but neither she or her family were ever interested in offering forgiveness--there never was anything I could do. I think I knew this deep in my heart and soul, but I would not.

Dear one, we need to recognize that sometimes the consequences resulting from our sin cannot be changed or in any way altered! We have to let it go! I had sinned against God and God alone--I owed Him my acceptance of His forgiveness and moving on in the new life He had so graciously given me! He had paid my sin debt in full!

It was a while before I recognized and walked in this truth. I think part of what kept me from facing the truth of this whole awful scenario was that these people called themselves by the name of Jesus Christ! I couldn't believe that they meant harm--even while the truth was staring me in the face! Lesson hard learned!

The subtle attacks worsened, this aunt knowingly picked, needled, poked and prodded at just the right spot. I eventually reach the point where all I could do was call on God's holy name.

Beloved, God did deliver me, but not before He let me go through the fire and believe me, fire burns! But, precious one, fire can also close and bind up old wounds! You see, this experience forever changed me. Praise God! I had lived so many needless years of guilt and shame as the result of that one terrible sin. Hear me, what that woman, what that family intended for evil, my God turned around and used for my ultimate good! Glory!

One day, after God's deliverance but still broken over my sin, I was walking to the copier and saw this woman headed my way. I wanted to run--to bolt! God stopped me and reminded me that I was a child of the King and more, I was forgiven! I was told to stand!!! God's Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus' blood had had been spilled to cleanse me and I need not be ashamed!
I did as God told me, but I can tell you it was so hard--shame can crush a human soul.

While we were alone together in that copy room I knew this woman had more to say to me so I tried to prepare my heart for yet another onslaught. I was amazed as she hurriedly picked up all her work and abruptly left the room! I stood there, alone, dumbfounded!

A still small voice whispered in my ear, "I shut the mouths of lions!"

Beloved, He did then and He still does today!

Psalms 23:5a says, Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies..." I can join the psalmist in declaring this great truth. After breaking me over this sin, really the sin of "looking back"--the very same sin that turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, God abundantly blessed me right before their very eyes!

Again, in Psalms 9:3-5 the psalmist writes, "My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. For you have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously. You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever."

Over time, I saw with my own eyes how this man's name, which had ever been before me, was suddenly rarely seen or spoken of. It's like this family fell off the map! Now, I know this is not truly the case, but the constant reminders were no longer there!

Oh, God is so good! Even when we stumble and fall we can trust Him to pick us back up again!

One day I will write more about my 3 days in hell and my subsequent 2 year journey to healing.