Give Me Peace, Lord – A Lament to Forgiveness was written by Cori Strathmeyer
Have you ever had someone say or do something that hurt your feelings and crushed your spirit?
On Mother’s Day, I received an unexpected, cruel and hateful message. My husband and I were traveling between grandchildren’s homes, dropping off gifts for the moms and securing snuggles from the kids. And then the random iPhone message appeared.
In a nutshell, the extremely long text said, “I despise you.”
I was caught off-guard. I helped to raise this person, even though he is not my child. I did everything in my power to love, support and care for him for 30 years.
There’s More to the Story
The truth is that this man has bipolar disease and holds onto a lot of anger. His words were nasty and intended to cause harm. And that they did. I was devastated.
At first, I hid the message from my family, spending extra time holding and loving my 3-week old granddaughter. But the almost 2 hour drive home brought me to tears. I spent hours before bed praying and reading scripture, trying to find peace in a situation that was unstable. The evil allegations haunted me in my dreams and well into the next morning.
My husband and youngest daughter tried to console me, but nothing they could say would stop the hurt. Who did I know had fear, distress, extreme sadness and lament? Who can I relate to in this situation? Who poured out his heart to the God he loved so much?
Give Me Peace, Lord
I opened the Bible, and paged to Psalms. We sing Psalms each week at church, and I have read and studied the book many times in my life. But this was the first time that I prayed what David the psalmist had prayed.
Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. My companion laid hands on a friend and violated a covenant with me with speech smoother than butter, but with a heart set on war; with words that were softer than oil, but in fact were drawn swords. Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But I will trust in you.(Psalm 55: 1-3, 16-17, 20-22, 23b NIV)
David used prayer and music to lament, to celebrate and give thanks to the Lord. Therefore, after praying the psalms, I created a Spotify playlist of psalms, keeping the music on repeat for 2 full days. The melodies and lyrics began to ease my hurt and I could more clearly feel God’s presence.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.(Psalm 118:8,28-29 NIV)
After crying out to God to give me peace, He answered me.
Peace isn’t the End
But as a Christian, I know that having peace isn’t the end of the story. This incident was not the first angry text or confrontation of the year and I am fairly certain it will not be the last. Now is when I flip the pages to the New Testament. It is time to take courage and forgive.
Dear Jesus, give me the strength to love as you love; to forgive as you forgive.
Dear Jesus, give me the strength to love as you love; to forgive as you forgive. –Cori Strathmeyer Click To Tweet
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’(Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)
About Cori Strathmeyer
Cori Strathmeyer is a God-loving, healthy lifestyle enthusiast, mother, grandmother and wife. She has worked for a Christian-based non-profit organization for the past 26 years, creating equitable health opportunities for those in her community. Her personal blog, The Space Between, hosts her thoughts on faith, food, family and hiking. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and via email.