Smacked in the face…

Today smacked me in the face.

Figuratively speaking, of course, but the mark is there.  Four red finger marks.

It was a rainy, foggy morning, not the best of Florida mornings.  I arose early to help at the kid’s school .  Nasty weather often makes for a cranky mommy.  Today was no different.

God quickly reminded me of my selfishness listening to the radio.  The heartbreaking story of a pastor who is being persecuated for his faith, beaten and left half dead is in solitary confinement.  My heart tore.  His family has been turned away when they tried to visit him.  His health is poor.  His kidneys are failing.  He may very well die in that prison.  No medical care is being offered.  UNLESS he denies CHRIST.

My heart breaks for the “alone” place he is in.  As tears spilled over onto my cheeks I prayed that God would be with him as he was with Daniel in the lion’s den.  I prayed he could actually reach out and touch the hand of God – physically touch HIM-the one he serves.

Driving along in this broken-hearted state this morning I ran smack into downtown, stand-still, Jacksonville traffic.  There was a policeman amidst all the traffic.  I rolled down my window.  My own simple, small world persecution now began as this officer spoke to me as if I was 2 years old.  After repeatedly answering the same question he asked over and over I finally told him he was being awfully rude.  I didn’t know I was supposed to detour.  I didn’t know there was a wreck.  I didn’t believe he had the right to talk to me the way he was talking to me, however, he still chose to belittle me.

And in that moment my world collided with that pastors world.  My heart turned towards his pain and persecution.

I was stunned and shocked that this police officer was berating me in front of my children as I attempted to travel our normal route downtown to school.  Over and over again he “slapped me in the face” with his tongue.  My fresh tender heart began to harden.  Had I not been blinded with indignation I would have looked at his name tag.  I would have called to report him.

My indignation slowly twisted inward.  I was reminded of my fellow brother-in-Christ who lies in solitary confinement, beaten, dying.  Am I above persecution?  Is my life anything like his?  Absolutely not.  But, did today sting?  Yes.  Badly.

Another very real thought slipped into my heart.  “How many times have I spoken to others in the same manner?”  Especially my own children.  When have I blown off steam by stomping on someone else’s heart?

I choked back my tears as I continued to drive.  We arrived at school and I expected everyone to see my broken heart, my wounded spirit.  It was well hidden.

Again the whispering…..’How often do I ignore another’s broken heart.”  I can’t count the times I halfway listen or don’t listen at all.

And why are people mean to one another?  Mr. Policeman could have as easily said, “There is an accident up ahead.  We are diverting traffic .  Would you please use that lane.”  Instead, he verbally abused me with his attitude, tongue and heart.  It stung.

I admit I rarely feel the ugliness of the world we live in.  My circle is pretty small.  I homeschooled my children until this school year.  I’m not in corporate America.  The people in my life become my friends.  I feel blessed by the people God has tucked into the crevices of my life.

I penned this post first by hand.  Four pages of cursive writing…something I rarely do these days.  I’m still tender…stinging.  But I think of my brother in prison……

Imprisoned because of his faith.  Beaten for Christ.  Likely to die all alone.  Wounded.  Broken.  Just like Christ.

Oh, but that all of our lives are lived for HIM.

In the words of Ken Gire who wrote Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel:

“Lord, come.  And for the sake of the children, come quickly.”


  1. Andrea says:

    Thank you sweet Julie for reminding all of us that the world’s pain is much larger than our own and that we are to reach out in prayer for other hurting brothers and sisters in pain.

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