I ended up allowing the pressure of coming exams to push my confusing thoughts to the side and just focused on getting through the final few days. After my final exam I drove home and never actually saw any of those five guys again until the next September.
Once at my parents, with no pressing urgent tasks to distract myself with (my summer job was on an assembly line – gave me lots of time to think), I started letting the hard questions surface again.
What exactly was it that I had thought God had said to me? Well, I was sure he had asked us to pray for Alan’s hand … and it sure seemed like he had said he would bring healing.
What hadn’t he said, that I said he had said? Well, I guess the timeline for one thing … he hadn’t said by the next morning … that had sort of been my assumption. It just fit so well with the other prayer request we had been praying for revival. And I guess the whole revival part too … that had sort of been my wishful thinking tacked on.
I started feeling a significant amount of condemnation over how I had allowed pride to let me fill in the hows and whys rather than just sharing more humbly. I repented to God and soon felt his forgiveness. Still I felt bad. What if my sin had kept Alan from his miracle?
My first day back to university I headed over to Alan’s appartment with a prepared apology memorized and ready. He welcomed me in and we sat down. Something was different but it wasn’t his hand, a glance showed that much clearly enough. So much for my hope that I had only been off on the timing. We caught up on each other’s summers but I think he could tell something was on my mind and made space for when I was ready. Soon I apologized and he listened graciously and respectfully. When I finished and looked up, I saw that he was smiling at me.
“Didn’t I tell you before you left? I guess it was pretty crazy with exams but I was sure I had told you.”
“Told me what?”
“Rusty, God did heal me the next morning.”
I looked down at his hand confused, it looked the same to me.
“Ever since the accident, I have carried around a shame about my carelessness. I used to keep my hand from view because I was afraid of what people would think when they heard the story. On the day you guys prayed for me … I can’t explain it, but that shame was healed. I hardly think about my hand in public anymore.”
I thought for a second and it clicked. He had answered the door with that hand and hadn’t been hiding it at all the entire visit. Wiping the corner of my eye, I thanked my creator for His grace in not only allowing me to learn from my mistake, but allowing good to come from my clumsy attempts to obey as well.
Have you ever messed something up so bad that you thought nothing good could come from it, only to experience the Father’s grace when you repent and see something beautiful come from the attempt? I’d love to hear about it if you want to share it in the comments below.