I remember being less than half my age, driving with the family in my stepdad’s pristine car–and when I say pristine, I mean the full extent of that word. We were going somewhere to do something, the details are long forgotten. But not the moment we arrived at our destination.
Somewhere near the backseat, under cover of darkness, a vandal had pressed illegal lead into the ceiling and spelled out a word. There were only three suspects, my two brothers and I. But–horror of horrors!–it all pointed to me. The word was my name. The “i” was dotted with a girlish heart. Of course I had done it, so obvious it was me. The issue was I had not done it.
But what reason was there to believe me? I loved pens, I loved writing my name like that, I sat in that section of the car, and why would my brothers do that anyway?
But they had. He had. And the conclusions loved ones drew about me were wrong.
Into my adult life, there are times that people catch glimpses of my life, hear snippets of my thoughts and conversations, and experience only parts of the full reality. To my beloved students and my future children, I cannot tell them everything, nor do I need to. To my friends and my family, there is a limit that they can know even when I choose to tell them. Not everything is for everyone to know. Not everything can even be understood by everyone (I certainly cannot understand it all either!)
More than once, I’ve found myself the center of wrongfully drawn conclusions. Not always dramatic. Nor late night report worthy. But still hurtful. Still, why would you think that? Still, why have you drawn these conclusions, pursued this hurt, and chosen to do this?
Jesus never lets me sulk for long. Who understands being misunderstood more than Jesus Himself? Makes my heart ache to even begin to count the ways.
This truth strengthens my heart: “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all” (Luke 8:17).
Jesus proved who He is, who the devil is, and the importance of the decision He offers us when He hung on that cross. He braved misunderstanding because He knew it was all going to come to light, and it was worth the risk. He knew He was doing what was best even when people refused to give up their disbelief and misunderstandings.
It might not happen in a day. It might take a week, a month, years, or it may even have to wait until that fateful day that Jesus rights all the wrongs, but rest assured, it will all come to light. It will all come to light.
Yes, my brother confessed and I was released from the bondage of consequences*. But there are still some current situations where I’m waiting for the truth to come to light. For their character to be revealed. For people to understand! But, Jesus does not force, so what authority do I have to try to force? Force is the tactic of the other kingdom.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Ps. 27:14
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Ex. 14:14.
I am glad that we serve a God of justice and of grace. Depending on my situation, I like to stress one or the other. I’m glad God is not confined to my whimsical moods. He is a God of justice and of grace. He is such a wonderful God of justice and of grace. And He is trustworthy to handle the balance perfectly.
*lest he read this and feel I have unjustly represented him, however, I must add that around the same time, at our other parent’s house, I had marked up the bathroom wall with a penny and not fessed up as early as I should have and he shared a punishment he did not deserve ; forgive me, brother.