Dear Dave and Jim,
What light the two of you bring to all of us! It is such an uplifting source of strength to read your posts. We need one another’s witness and sharing for those times that are a terrible thorn in our spirit.
Dave, I have to admit to an awful trial in my church several years ago, and I prayed exceedingly much for this person, trying hard not to react. One evening I received a most precious gift of grace when God allowed me to visualize what might be a fitting punishment to send her. Suddenly I felt a horror that she could be inflicted in any way, and the love of Christ swept over me for her. I found that I was begging God to spare her and shower her with His grace. After that intellectual gift of prayer, I could never feel anything but love for her, and was able to accept all of her continuing acts of injury towards me.
What did happen a few months later, the pastor asked her to resign after having served there almost 20 years! I always remember this incident as having been vindicated without doing a thing to bring it about. Remember, Dave, St. Teresa’s words about not excusing oneself? Vengence is MINE says the Lord. Meanwhile throughout the trial, God brings us into the realms of deeper charity and grace that are more precious than we can possible imagine.
While I do empathize with you, on the other hand, I know that you are very close to God and this will all turn out for your greater benefit. I would love to be around to see How God does this! Thanks for sharing, and I will certainly help you with my prayers. It is good to let others know when we need prayer support. Believing our friends are strong, we often fail to remember them and lift them up.
My best to both of you,