The Cat

The day began bright and sunny and the woman went about her daily chores. She stopped by her office to quickly check her e-mail and suddenly her world seemed to turn upside down.

Reading the last of the short e-mail sudden anger boils up within her. The day is now shot as she stomps about her living room with questions broiling through her mind. In a very short time her strong faith has taken a sucker punch to the gut.

By sundown tears continue to flow, not only from the anger within, but from the devastating news and the confusing thoughts screaming through her mind. Sorrow fills her heart but the anger and confusion overrides all feelings of empathy and sorrow. How can God do this!? screams in her mind.

By bed time her tears continue to flow and sleep is non-existent. The news she received pounds through her mind over and over and then other events, past events, intrude. Her anger boils until she feels she will go crazy. By the wee hours she is exhausted yet sleep will not come. Angry thoughts, thoughts of an unloving God, thoughts of how everything she has believed is hog wash inundate her mind.

Without realizing she has dozed off she’s embroiled in a dream. In the dream she is on a tight rope and at the far end of the tight rope a large black panther is creeping toward her. Step by step he comes closer with teeth bared and a riveting intent on killing her.

He gets close enough that she suddenly and viciously kicks the panther as hard as she can. He flies off the tight rope, but returns.  Again, he slowly stalks his prey. Hunkered down with piercing eyes focused and teeth gleaming through a low vicious growl, he moves slowly and purposefully.

She cocks her leg once again and when the big cat raises its paw to rip her wide open with his deadly claws, she kicks with all her might and hears a painful yelp from the cat as he falls into the abyss below.

Suddenly waking up, with heart racing, and jagged breathing, she sees a Man standing at the foot of her bed.

She blinks.

“Now you know where the anger and confusion is coming from,” the Man states and disappears.

(Sue’s version) 1Tim. 4:1 – 1Peter 5:8 – John 10:10

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Can Light Penetrate a Black Heart?

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My child sized heart pumped fiercely as I ran away. Fear filled me. I felt like the devil himself was close behind breathing down my neck. “If he catches me I’ll never survive.” I scream out, “Jesus save me” but He didn’t appear at my door. (I thought He would come to my house and save me from the abuse.)

That’s when the devil got his foothold. The anger at God for rejecting my plea intertwined with the fear. The roots of disappointment and a lack of understanding was transformed into a bitterness that grew deeper. With each injustice, betrayal, hurtful word, and rejection another black spot replaced what God created. Hatred filled spaces unknown within a normal pulsating heart that was created to love. Instead of the red blood of Christ filling a beautiful, pumping pink organ, the enemies blackness was trying to fill it to the brim.

Life continued with struggles and the bitterness against man and God continued to grow. God’s light would try to penetrate my darkening heart but with snarled lips and vehement words God was rejected. “If there’s a God then why……..?” “Don’t talk to me about this so-called loving God!” was spewed out from a heart filled with pain, rejection, bitterness, and a hatred so deep it seemed no light could penetrate. God would step in but the door was quickly slammed shut.

God is a persistent God! He never gives up pursuing the lost. He didn’t give up then and He hasn’t now. He continued to chase me down and at my lowest point was standing there to pick me up. I accepted Him and He taught me much. With much love and patience He began healing the heart wounds from all the years of hurt and betrayal and gradually I learned who I am in Him. The blackening of my heart began turning grey. Some of the black spots of evil dissipated. But with a news report I learned it was still filled with hatred. The roots of hatred and bitterness still ran deep. I desperately needed surgery! The kind only Christ can do.

God’s light broke through the darkness within a dream. In the dream the flames within the cage roared about the body of man while ISIS stood watching with vile, wicked grins and slapping each other on the back for a job well done, I screamed out, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” It wasn’t the man being burned alive, it was me! Just before I awoke, I glared at the evil men and said, “If Mohammed was here I would spit in his face!” I awoke suddenly with my chest filled so full of hatred that I thought I was having a heart attack.

The hatred grew within me until I thought my chest would burst. I prayed in English, I prayed in tongues, I asked God what was happening to me. At one point I felt I wanted to jump out of bed and scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t because it would wake the whole subdivision. I couldn’t move. The chest pain continued until I thought my chest would explode right there in my bed. I prayed some more. I rebuked the devil to no avail.

Confusion swirled around in my head, “Was I feeling what Christ must feel?” I told the Lord I know He loves those people but, “Forgive me, I want them to suffer every scream, every cry for help, every pleading agonized breath and feel every pain that every person and every child felt, for all of eternity in hell!”

My chest grew, the hatred increased. It was vile, it was ugly. I could barely breath. I could taste the wickedness of it. I prayed some more. I cried out for understanding and even threw out the fact that Jesus got mad and threw tables around the Temple. “I can’t ask You to forgive them because You will if they ask, but they won’t!” And, “I won’t pray their heart be changed! They are Satan’s incarnates! That’s like transforming Satan’s heart! It ain’t going to happen!” My thoughts whirled around like a balloon skittering around a room when suddenly released of its air. One minute I was thinking like Jesus might want me to and the next I was lashing out with hatred.

I don’t know how long I spewed the vile hatred I felt for what is going on in this world. The evil that surrounds us all. I confessed, I quoted a couple of scriptures, I did everything I could to try to rationalize and try to understand what was happening to me. Had I not been wide awake I would have thought I was in the middle of a horrible nightmare.

Suddenly a thought dropped into the midst of all the praying, all the arguing and expounding on why I should hate these people,“You have hurt people, too.” That shut my mouth for a moment but then of course my first response was, “I haven’t chopped off anyone’s head! I’ve burned no-one alive! I’m not robbing and stealing and raping!” Then the realization took hold, I have hurt people with my words, some deliberately and some not. I have rejected others, and above all, I rejected God and His Son for many years.

The pain in my chest began to slowly dissipate as that realization took hold. A calming began to replace the pain of hatred. It seemed as though my chest was deflating slowly and as that realization of my own sin penetrated my heart I realized that maybe, just maybe, it was my heart that needed to be changed.

There was no glowing translucent light filling the room. No angels appeared in white robes. No heavenly choir songs rang out from heaven. There was only a hushed silence as I whispered, “Is it my heart that needs changing, Lord?” The pain suddenly vanished! I was left limp and exhausted.

Many of us have prayed, “Search my heart O’Lord.” He takes that seriously and in my case He used the evil of ISIS on a T.V. newscast to reveal the depth of hatred in my heart and not only to expose it and make me aware of its depth but to taste the vile bitterness of it. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I was hating the sinner as well as the sin.

We’ve all suffered pain of some sort. We all have areas of hurt. There are no pure hearts in humanity and He’s still working on mine. By His grace I am saved, not perfect.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Ps. 139:23

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