The Power of Words-Part Two
That summer, Mother worked multiple part-time jobs while she looked for a full-time job that paid well enough for us to get a place of our own. Because she didn’t make a lot, she hired high school students to babysit us, or took advantage of activities at a nearby church that provided free childcare. Because the childcare was free, she quickly enrolled all of us in Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Although it was a long time ago, I recall it was mostly a fun week. However, two things stand out in my memory, both associated with words. First, we memorized John 3:16, which I can still recite in the King James Version. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
As we memorized that verse, our VBS teacher talked all week about God and Jesus and how God sent Jesus to the world to save us. The more she talked, the more my heart wanted to know this Jesus. He sounded nothing like my father, and I craved a relationship with a nice man. Unfortunately, she ended our week by saying some words that were not in the Bible. She had good intentions, but the words broke my heart. She said Jesus loved us so much he would always protect us from harm.
I don’t remember anything else she said that day.
What I remember is the horrible feeling I had when, in my child’s mind, I felt like God and Jesus did not love me or my family—because we had not been protected from harm. That day, I made a decision. I told Jesus, I wasn’t going to love Him either.
Don’t miss the importance of what I just said. I told Jesus. To talk to Jesus, I had to believe in Him. You see, there is something that happens when you know Jesus is who He says He is. That happened to me in the week at VBS. I was still very broken and confused by my teacher’s words, that I withheld my heart and love from Him.
(“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” Matthew 17:20 NLT
In defense of the young lady who led our VBS class, I know that by no means did she intend to hurt me with her words. She had no idea who I was or what had happened to my family. If she had, I’m sure her words would have come out differently. She would have shared this truth that is in the Bible: Jesus loves you unconditionally, in spite of what’s been done to you or what you have done. She would have also uttered this truth in God’s Word: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NLT).
If I had heard these words, I might have been comforted, and I might not have turned away from God. Instead, because of my brokenness, I grew up with no complete trust for anyone. I got married, had children, got divorced, and finally remarried a fabulous man.
We had been married for about twelve years when he said some interesting words to me: “This is what is missing from our lives.”
He said this after we attended a church service where his brother spoke. I didn’t know anything was missing from our lives, so this came as a complete shock. But that day, because I was confident in his love and trusted him, I said, “If this is important to you, then it is fine with me.”
We had been attending church for just a few weeks when the pastor kicked off a new series about the Ten Commandments. When he came to the week when he would speak about the commandment to honor your parents, I had a few sarcastic words to offer. I said, “I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about this!”
The pastor started by saying, “If you are a victim of domestic abuse, I have some words for you at the end of the message.” The promise of those words was the only thing that kept me in the service that day. I cried all the way through his message, because his description of a loving earthly father was nothing like what I had experienced as a child. The feelings I had about being fatherless were intensified and painful.
As the service came to a close, with a tone of heartfelt sorrow to those who had been abused, the pastor said, “I am so sorry.”
No one had ever said that that to me before. Without even knowing it myself, they were words I needed to hear. In that moment, I wept thankful tears, because those words healed my broken heart.
I wish devastating words and actions did not exist. But because we are sinners, we have these terrible things. If anyone has ever hurt you, I want to share those words that Jesus said to me that day in church.
“I am so sorry.”
And you know what? God is sorry too.
God never desires abuse or harmful words for any of us. He gave us all an amazing gift, free will. We have free will to do and say what is right or wrong. Sometimes we do the right thing, and then we sometimes do terribly wrong things. Maybe you’ve been wronged with words or actions. Or maybe your words or actions have harmed someone else. Either way, here is what we all need to know: We are all sinners. How do I know this? God tells us this in His word: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But he also says that he wants us to have a relationship with Him, and He wants us to turn from our sins and receive His forgiveness. And guess what? You can have that today.
The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess [your faith] and are saved.”
Maybe these words have hit home in your heart today. I hope they have. I would love for you to have that same precious relationship with Jesus that I have.
Who is Jesus to me now? He is my Father. I know there is no perfect father but Him. If you are missing that relationship in your life like I was, consider some of the most loving words I know from God’s Word. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
All those years I thought I was fatherless. But God made me realize I had a Father that was better than any earthly father. Knowing I was the daughter of God changed how I saw Him. Before I knew the truth in this verse, I saw Him as a distant being, but now as my Father, my relationship with Him is more personal. I now address my prayers to God as “Father God,” because He is my heavenly Dad.
I praise God that am no longer fatherless. I am the daughter of the Most High King.