I wrote this a a short story yesterday, in response to a daily writing prompt. It’s based on a real situation, omitting, of course, names and other identifying factors. I hope you’ll enjoy it–a little change of pace from my typical Sunday posts.
Writing Prompts: Religion and Spirituality
(God speaks directly to you – what does He say?)
I believe that God spoke to people like Moses, Abraham, and others in the Bible. He even spoke to Saul on the Damascus Road. I believe He spoke to the prophets. But today, we have the complete, total, inspired Word of God–the Bible. So, if I did hear God speak to me, audibly, unmistakably, I’d think I was hallucinating. I believe that He has already given the answers we seek through His Word. I also believe that sometimes we need a little help to find those answers, which is one reason I became a counselor in a Christian counseling office. So that’s the direction I’m going to take for this story.
One of the things I enjoyed about being a counselor for 18 years was that there was never one day just like another. There were surprises, Sometimes they weren’t happy surprises, like the time I asked a client, twice, to please clean up his truly foul language. Finally, after a particularly disgusting string of curses, I asked him to either stop cursing or leave. He was furious. Stormed out the door and slammed it hard behind him, shaking the pictures hanging on my wall.
His poor wife, who had to tolerate his mouth and his temper ALL the time, wept quietly. I let her get hold of herself, and when she looked up, she said, “What do I do? He didn’t want to come here today, and when he saw it was a Christian office he almost refused to come in with me. He’s always angry, and I’m at my wits’ end. What do I do?”
In this type of situation, I always start talking to the Lord right from the beginning, because honestly? I don’t really know what to say! I thought of the verse that says, “With a furious man thou shalt not go” (Prov. 22:24) but she was already so wounded, it just didn’t feel right. “God, please give me wisdom, words that are helpful,” was in my mind.
“Has he ever been so angry that he has become physically violent toward you?”
She stared at me as if she’d seen a ghost. “How–how could you know that?” And she was sobbing now, completely broken.
“Have you ever called the police for help?”
She gave me a broken laugh. “Are you serious? He’s a cop! They protect each other. It would only be worse!”
“Has he hurt you enough that you needed a doctor? Hospital? The ER?”
“No, please just listen now. This cannot go on, because he will only escalate. I know, every time he hurts you he says how sorry he is and he’ll never do it again. But he will, and you both know he will. I can’t make you look for help, but you have to know that there are safe houses, Protection from Abuse orders, legal steps you can take to protect yourself. I can help you find a place–“
“I don’t have a car. He won’t let me. There’s no way—“
“Yes, there is. Surely you have a friend, a relative, a neighbor you can call when he’s at work?”
“Well–yes, I guess so, but I’d feel so guilty! It’s like sneaking behind his back!”
“Okay, look. You have two–or three– choices. Stay and put up with his temper until he puts you back in the hospital, and tell whatever doctor who is caring for you. Tell the truth. Say you need help. You can do that, or stay until he kills you. Or, you can let me help you make a plan that will work. The choice is yours.”
And in the back of my mind, the words “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) whispered. So I waited, allowing her the time to really think about what we had said.
And that is how God speaks to me. Sometimes He uses verses I didn’t even know I had memorized, but a lifetime of Bible memory certainly has yielded a rich harvest to help guide me when I don’t know where to go or what to say. His words are always wiser than mine.