Lent 23 ~ At Last


Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
            but sustain the just,
            O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.   ~  Psalm 7: 10


          For close to 20 years, work life has been very difficult at the hands of a very cruel man. Many were this superior’s victims, but I suspect he reserved his “best” for me as I was the only Christian in my organisation, while all the rest, like him, were Muslims. For some reason, he hated Christians with a hatred that can only be described as feral. I prayed so desperately for years and years – for his conversion, to be safe from this man, to be unseen, and finally, when all else failed, for him to be removed – but it felt as if the tide would never turn.

God sharpens His sword,

strings and readies the bow ~ Psalm 7: 13

          A few months ago, desperation strangely left my prayers for this last one. In its place came an odd steeliness, as if my heart, despite its pain, had steadied against his cruelty. In that steeliness was the conviction that this man had to go if the rest of this workplace was to be saved and renewed in the Spirit. And he had to go to where he would, perhaps, finally come to his wall, forced to finally look within himself and see the damage his reign here has caused.

Let the malice of the wicked come to an end

          Yesterday, listening to No Longer Slaves, my heart gazed at the words, I am a child of God. As I took them and folded them into my heart, the lightest whisper caressed my soul,

Will you forgive him?

Will you release him to God?

For he is God’s child as much as you are.

          Now, honestly, that didn’t sit too comfortably with me. Still – I forgive him, Lord, I replied dutifully – but mechanically, with a dullness that can only be imagined. It doesn’t come from my heart, Lord, I admitted ruefully, But that’s all I can summon for now.

          And just in case effort was lacking the first time, I tried a second time.

I forgive him.

Nothing happened.

The air didn’t shimmer.

No burden left my shoulders.

My heart beat steadily on.

          This afternoon, I listened to No Longer Slaves on loop again. Just like the previous day, I remained enthralled, caught in the spirit of the song. Slowly, as the warmed winds of March playfully gusted around the house, I became gently aware that one particular line lingered a little longer over my heart than others,

You surround me with a songOf deliveranceFrom my enemies
          Over and over as the song played, each time it was those three lines that trailed their sweetness deep within me, like some mystical incense.
You surround me with a songOf deliveranceFrom my enemies

          It was late in the evening, on Miracle Thursday, when the news came. St Joseph, to whom I have prayed desperately for help with this man, brought me God’s massive miracle:

Against all odds, my superior is finally being transferred to another organisation;

He is being sent against his will.

          On the 24th of March, on a Friday when we remember the Jesus who died for our sins, both mine and this man’s, he goes to this new life. The ever reliable grapevine tells us that his replacement is another piece of work. So, our difficulties do not end. Nevertheless, my heart is not in the least troubled – for the now – even if Calvary stretches on. Because after nearly two decades, St Joseph has come to tell me that the miracle has come. I have been delivered at last.

          Gentle relief coursed through me that this one door is finally closing. All through the ensuing hours of Thursday I reflected on this. Finally, when the hour was indeed late, I made ready to turn in for the night.

          It was well past midnight, when a soft voice came to the door of my soul,

          Because you forgave

          Tears burned my eyes.




  1. Oh. I have been there! I worked for “She Who Must Not Be Named” for a long 26 years. I prayed that she would leave and take a job elsewhere. I prayed that her husband would finally reach his dream and relocate her to California. I finally prayed for strength, patience, calm. And in the end I had St. Joseph’s prayer mounted inside my locker… I learned to calm my heart and mind, I learned and practiced patience, I was buffeted by her callous and cruel words and I became strong. And then I forgave her. She was forced to retire. I remained for another 2 years working for a less than stellar replacement before I retired. A year after I left boss#2 was booted for financial improprieties. From the time of my retirement to the present I am still working there – on my terms. I know that I can weather any storm, that prayers WILL be answered, that I am beloved by God, and the wicked will reap what they sow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your experience is a powerful lesson in hope – even if it was very long in coming true. Your last line strikes me as especially meaningful, Val. We reap what we sow. Indeed, we do.


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