I didn’t want to revisit my past, but I knew I needed to. I had already seen God move mightily on my behalf in the short time since giving my life to Christ, but I knew He wasn’t finished yet.
Healing begins the moment we allow Jesus complete access to the darkness contained within our souls. Darkness must flee in the presence of light, in the presence of Jesus, but light cannot go where it is not permitted. Doors must be opened for light’s rays to touch our darkest dark. And at this point, I was flinging doors open left and right, begging, Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Soon, I heard God’s gentle whisper––“It’s time to forgive.”
I knew what God was calling me to. I knew I was being called to forgive Anthony, the man who murdered my dad. But quite honestly, I thought I had already done that. Yet over the course of the next several weeks, God slowly showed me that, while I had forgiven Anthony as far as I was capable, I needed His grace to forgive completely, to forgive unconditionally.
But then God took it a step further––“Love your enemy,” He said.
At that, I cried out to God and said, “Okay, God, I get this whole forgiveness thing, but love my enemy? How am I to do that?”
I wrestled with what God was calling me to do, but I had read account after account in Scripture of God redeeming losses. Of God healing physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. I saw Jesus’s heart toward the brokenhearted, and I believed God could do all that for me as well. I didn’t want my faith to be just a belief system. I wanted it to be real. I wanted it to impact my life. I wanted it to change the way I lived. So I followed, believing wholeheartedly that God would deliver. That He would faithfully keep His promises.
And He did.
What began with a simple, seemingly insignificant call to love and forgive my enemy led to years of correspondence with the man who murdered my dad, through which I witnessed God do the impossible. I have seen God redeem a situation that seemed without hope or purpose. He has brought good out of evil, love out of hate, and peace out of despair. God has truly worked all things for good in my life. And I believe with all my heart that He will do that for you as well, if you let Him.
I pray you will.
You see, God has not left us to sit in our pain. Jesus came to heal. He is our redeemer, and I know it is His desire to lift each of us out of our despair and bring us in—to a new, better place. A place rich in beauty and blessings. But in order to get there, we must be willing to allow God unhindered access to all the pain and bitterness and anger in our souls. And we must be willing to forgive.
For this is where our healing begins.
Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, and on many national and regional radio programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s new NIV Bible for Women: Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today’s World. She is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve and Crosswalk. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters. Be sure to visit LaurieCoombs.org or connect with Laurie on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Laurie’s new book, Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, which tells an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God, is available