“Yes, I love to teach about God’s sovereignty.” Miriam glanced at her friend.
“You teach about it all the time—”
“That’s how strongly I believe in it.”
“But there’s got to be more.” Bella’s head tilted.
“Pardon me?” Miriam squinted her eyes. “Are you asking me why I teach so much about this subject?”
“Yes.” Bella leaned forward on the bench and pulled her hair back from her face. “All strong believers believe in the sovereignty of God. It’s what helps us hold on when things get tough; it’s what keeps us going when everything looks to be falling apart.”
“So, why is that bad then for me to teach about it?” Miriam’s shoulders raised.
“I’m not saying it is. I’m saying it’s as common a theme as God’s love or forgiveness. There’s nothing unique to you about it.”
“Then doesn’t that make it relevant? Everyone understands.”
“But you’re only teaching from the outside layer.”
A train whistled in the background. Laughter from the children filled the tree-lined area as they jumped through the gurgling water fountain.
Miriam huffed. “I don’t know what you mean by outside layer.”
Bella took a deep breath and exhaled. She cocked her head again, then lowered her chin. “If we only teach from the surface, we won’t grow as deeply and neither will anyone else. No one knows why you teach what you do because you don’t teach from the heart.”
Only the playground offered noise as seconds ticked by until Bella spoke again.
“I think you need to figure out why the sovereignty of God is such a big deal to you. But that won’t happen until you face the pain and fear that’s weighing you down.”
Miriam reached into her purse and withdrew a tissue. She dabbed at her eyes and wiped her nose.
Bella continued, “When you start teaching from that depth where your tears are, lives will be touched with the truth of why God’s sovereignty matters so much.”
Miriam shook her head. “I can’t. I really can’t.” She shoved the tissue back in her purse and grabbed the strap.
“Please don’t leave.”
Miriam stood and stepped away. “I don’t really think you understand at all. I teach the truth of God. I teach about what’s important for people to understand so that they don’t fall apart when-”
“I know you do,” Bella rose from the bench, “and that’s good. I’m simply saying, don’t stop the message God wants you to share with others because you’re afraid.”
With a quick flick of her chin, Miriam glared at B. “You think I’m afraid? Is that what you’re saying? I trust. I believe. I … I …” She grabbed another tissue and sobbed into it.
Bella rubbed Miriam’s back.
“Father, show Miriam truth. Let her dig into all you have taught her. Open her heart, mind, and mouth to be able to speak not only of the truth of Your sovereignty but what You’ve brought her through to bring her to that deep belief. Help her share her heartaches and her journey with others as You redeem the pain of the past.”
Four months later
Miriam walked onto the platform at her church and sat on the provided stool. Eyes focused on her. She placed a hand over her heart and took a deep breath. “Thank you for letting me share with you. Today, I’d like to share a story with you that a friend encouraged me to share.” She glanced at Bella who stood out of view of the audience, took a deep breath, whispered a prayer, and continued.
“Many years ago, I was raped. She continued her story for several moments. “God was with me then and He has never left me. I had a baby nine months after and had to make a difficult decision. I chose to keep her and to raise her to love God. Her name is Hope Gracelynn because no matter what I go through, as I cling to the blessing of God’s grace and to hope.”
Through tears, for the next half hour, Miriam spoke of God’s presence in her life; then she walked off the stage. She pulled out a tissue from her pocket and reached forward with it.
Bella took it. “I’m so proud of you. I know that was difficult—”
“Not as difficult as it would have been a few months ago. Thank you.”
A young pregnant woman walked toward them and hugged Miriam. “Could we talk for a minute?”
Miriam held out her hand. “I’d love to.”