Severe Mercies

A few years ago my roommate Pete introduced me to my favorite autobiography. In reading it, I had no idea that I would share a similar story, albeit on a far smaller scale. A story of love and the loss of that love for something greater.

My version of this story began several years ago when I asked a young lady to dinner and she said yes. I still have yet to find someone whose company I enjoy as much as I did hers. I suppose our easy rapport is what people call chemistry. Things were not always perfect, but I realized fairly quickly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. So, broke as I was, I began secretly saving for a ring.

However, things did not work out as I had planned. Before leaving for a trip, she shared a growing discomfort that struck every time she began to pray about us. I was stunned, and had no idea how to respond. I’m still not sure I would know how to respond even after years of mulling it over in my head now and again. Ultimately, we chose to pray and ask for guidance. When God spoke, it was surprisingly clear to me. Bullheaded as I am, I still refused to accept it in full, but ultimately we obeyed.

Hard or difficult are not sufficient words to describe what followed. I didn’t know how to live without her and I tried desperately to cling to something as I cried over and over again, “Why?”

There are likely a million and one answers to that cry, but my life of late has tweaked old memories and it is as if God is answering me now. He reminded me of Audubon Park where he showed me a path. It seemed to be one in the distance, but ,as it came closer, one line became two. He has also reminded me of my heart for the poor and my desire to minister by living among them. Simple living and community were just as much a part of my heart then as now, but that was a desire that she and I did not share in the same way. I still remember a night later in our relationship where I shared an impassioned vision for life and ministry in a poor community. She responded honestly when she told me she wasn’t sure she could live in a place like that.

I backpedaled trying to assure her it wasn’t quite what she thought. We could work it out… somehow. But maybe we could not.

God blessed me with an amazing year in the company of an amazing woman, but when that time was done, He had other plans and different paths for us to walk. Sometimes it has been incredibly hard to say I am thankful for such a wounding gift, but I believe that, in this case, our loss was a painful but necessary one, a severe mercy.

So, if I haven’t said it yet Lord, thank you, for then and for today.

– Kirk


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