The appointment was scheduled for 4pm. Pick up time was 3pm. She was supposed to call me with the address so I could leave my office by 2pm. As the hour approached, my heart began to sink, she wasn't going to call, we weren't going to make the appointment and she would continue on in the life.
Discouragement is peering around the door, waiting for the right moment to strike. Seeking the perfect time to tell me that nothing ever changes, that I should just give up. But then I remember... I remember the last two years of knowing her. I remember that at first we had short conversations on the street, which led to text messages, which led to phone calls, which led to long talks at McDonalds in the middle of the week, which led to making appointments to get the help she needed. And though she isn't there yet, she is one step closer and that is the miracle. Yes, the miracle is in the end result of finding freedom but the miracle is also every step along the way.
God has been encouraging my heart with this verse lately, "Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him." Isaiah 30:18 As believers we think a lot about waiting on the Lord, it's all over the scriptures and we all have seasons where we are called to wait. But what we think about less often, is how God is waiting for us. The beginning of this verse tells us that God is waiting for us, to show us grace and mercy. It gives the picture that there are gifts of grace waiting for us if we will just come to Him in humility, with empty and open hands, ready to receive.
You can imagine that after suffering abuse from family, from strangers, being taken from her home, being trafficked and exploited, her perceptions of God would be skewed. She would see Him as punishing or distant, as withholding or unloving. As I praise God that she is in fact one step closer, I pray that she will begin to see God for who He is; a God of justice, who longs to be gracious to her. That in learning who He is and believing, she will be able to take another step, and another, and another...