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While at the beach with my family this summer, my father-in-law was hospitalized with chest pain.  After arriving at the ER late one night, he was admitted and scheduled for a heart stress test for the next morning.  The doctor told him that he failed the first stress test so they needed to admit him to another area hospital where a heart catherization could take place.  We prayed with him and waited.  During the waiting period, I began to think of the many possibilities that could happen once the problem was diagnosed:  A stint could be placed to help his blood flow better, but open heart surgery could also have been an option.  Miraculously, the heart catherization showed no problem with his heart.  We were thankful, while also unsure of why he had pains in his chest a few days earlier.  I know that God does His own kind of work on human hearts and am grateful for the healing touch that he gave to my father-in-law.

I have had my share of heart pain, not with my heart organ but with my spiritual heart.  I asked Jesus into my heart as a child and have been a follower of His all my life.  During the past five years, however, God has used circumstances to help me evaluate my heart.  While enduring what seemed to be the worst of times, God allowed me to see what was in my spiritual heart.  One area in my heart was a place of sadness and hurt.  I longed for the Holy Spirit to work on my hurt and over time, the hurt is healing.  His Word and His Holy Spirit are helping me in my daily journey to live in restoration.  

I woke up recently with the following Scripture on my mind:  “Where sin did abound, grace much more abounded.”  I looked it up and found it in Romans 5:20.  After doing some study on this verse, I realized that the verb “abound” in the first part of the verse refers to amounts of sin.  In the second part of the verse, God’s grace “much more abounded”.  In the second instance of the verb “abounded”, the word has the idea of abundance and overflow.  The New English Bible says it this way:  “Where sin was multiplied, grace immeasurably exceeded it.”  My heart has rejoiced in these words as they have helped me to see that although sin caused hurt in my heart, God’s Grace has provided a healing that is not just for one day, but for everyday.  His healing extends into each day and is more than enough to restore the brokenness.   His abundant Grace overflows in my heart.

I am so thankful for the restoration that God has given to me.  The circumstances happened in the past to cause the hurt, but God has brought and continues to allow peace to settle into me.  His peace has been there in the middle of my turmoil and distress.  Once you travel though tough times, it takes a toll on your heart resulting in a loss of peace.  I am thankful for the moments when God has caused me to see evidence of restoration in my life which has now allowed me to praise Him for the healing of my heart.  The open heart surgery that He performed on my spiritual heart caused me to not only deal with the hurt, but also to allow Him to fix it.  Unlike my father-in-law who spent just two nights in the hospital, my heart work has taken five years.  I trust the Lord to continue filling me with His Presence and Peace for it is only with His help, that I have been restored and can live in His abundant Grace.

From the instant when the trauma started, to now when I live in His abundant, overflow of Grace and Peace, I am confident that He was and still is with me.  I know that He carried my burden at times during the worst of the trauma.  Otherwise, my heart would have failed. During the pain, I cried out to Him.  When you’re hurt, you cry and that is okay. There is a healing balm that He creates in us as we cry out to Him.  When healing comes, it will be because of His expert handling of situations beyond our control and because we open our hearts to release the hurt. During the post trauma, my heart has to be filled with His peace or it can be too observant of the scars left behind.  I try to be thankful and praise Him for bringing me through the trauma and hurt which positions my heart to receive His Grace and Peace.

My heart rejoices in truth and in His mercy.  I am filled with His abundant Grace and Peace.  

I have also found great strength and courage to walk through other traumas in my life such as when my mother had cancer when I was 12 by reading this Scripture found in Isaiah 43:2:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

The Lord guided my mother to this verse in His Word when she faced cancer and she shared it with me which helped us all go through her difficult time.  I have recently been brought back to this verse as a reminder that when I “pass through” deep water or “walk through” “hell”, God will be with me and keep me.  I also love the fact that He has summoned me by my name according to this verse.  I summon my kids and they respond.  It is so comforting to me that he calls me as my loving Father and redeems me through Jesus.  I pray that I will respond to Him and be willing to not only obey His direction, but to daily receive His Peace and Grace.

I invite you to ponder how much Grace and Peace that is found in Him today. Listen to Him. Believe that He heals, restores and fills. It may take two days or five years. Trust that He knows each one of us by name and that He is with you now.

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