Usually a short drive to the river will suffice to lift my spirits. But since pesky gnats made it impossible for me to be still long enough to pray my situation through, I hopped on the Colonial Parkway and drove west to Jamestown, where I took a short cruise across the river aboard the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry -- something I'd been wanting to do for awhile -- just as the sun was beginning to set. To be gliding across the water at with the wind in the hair and my face toward the sun did wonders for my mood.
Rather than hop back on the ferry for the return trip I kept driving, through farmland and towns I'd heard of but not yet seen. With the radio off and a fragrant breeze coming through the windows I drove and prayed, taking comfort in the fact that Jesus totally understood my heartache because he'd also been wounded by those he loved.
I have known people -- and I am sometimes one of them -- who have stayed engaged in conflict, fighting a battle they can not win by their own efforts, hoping and praying that God will hurry up and change the other person. But I have also learned the wisdom of removing myself from the futility of such relationships and going to a quiet place where I can surrender those relationships -- and myself -- to the only One who can change hearts, realizing that it is sometimes my heart that needs to be changed.
If you find yourself in a battle of wills with someone else, give yourself permission to step away, get alone with God, and pray it through. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8). Take joy in your salvation and comfort in the knowledge that God sees your tears and understands your heartache. Even more than you do, he loves that one whose words have wounded you, that one for whom you have prayed so many years. Remind yourself of all you know of God and find strength in his Word.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23, ESV)
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