This is a short story the Lord gave me a couple years ago to help some folks with issues of forgiveness they were carrying on their walk. There are hidden hurts of the heart that we all have to deal with.
The Hope Chest
Suzie Q. was a beautiful, bright young woman who decided to answer the invitation and receive Jesus Christ at a regular church service one Sunday morning. She was ecstatic about the event and climaxed it with her baptism by immersion.
Still filled with joy that evening she retired to bed, weary but glad for the milestone placed in her life that day. During the night as she slept, still with a smile on her face, an angel appeared in her bedroom and placed a little chest on the table by her bed. Suzie Q. remained in a deep slumber, dreaming of heavenly realms and eternity with her Lord and Savior.
Upon awakening in the morning she noticed the little chest that had been placed by the angel during the night. She gingerly picked it up and examined it with wonder. What an exquisite box......fancy scroll-work with gold inlaid throughout the lid and sides. And on the top, an inscription with her name......followed by the words = "A hope chest to keep blessings you will be receiving forthwith from your Heavenly Father".
Wowie! Suzie Q. could hardly contain her excitement. Such a magnificent gift for her to treasure and tabulate all the blessings she was expecting to receive.
Each day she waited expectantly.....and waited.....and waited....a-n-d.....W-A-I-T-E-D.....nothing came.
She experienced a bout of insomnia in her quest for anticipated blessings. Night after night, bleary-eyed and drowsy she inquired of God in her prayers, "Why, God....why have You not blessed me?' Another night of pillow-punching and body turning began.......Suddenly there was a bright illumination filling her bedroom, and the angel was there in her presence.
Now frightened and bright-eyed, Suzie Q. instinctively held the little chest close.....not knowing what to expect. The angel simply said in a friendly tone, "Open it."
Well, that was something strange to consider. She had never opened it yet.....like she was waiting for blessings to be showered down.....then she would open it at that time and count her blessings.
As the angel silently stood watching, she carefully opened the lid. Slowly, the chest was opened.....Suzie Q. stared inside....and saw that it was filled with note-like parchments, with heavenly handwritten notations on each piece, individually identified with a date and description pertaining to events in Suzie Q.'s life, clear back to childhood. These certainly were not blessings......
Various snippets from Suzie Q.'s childhood years that served to actuate the recesses of her memory to remind her only too clearly of evil events done to her that regularly appeared before her mind's eye.
A livid hate filled Suzie Q.'s beating heart as she looked at each parchment. Types of personal abuse came stampeding across her mental vision.....sexual, physical violence, and adbandonment, verbal abuse, neglect, bullying......dates, places, names. family, so-called friends, neighbors, school mates.....a complete compilation collected from earlier years. of pain and grief....She remembered them all as if they had occurred in recent days.
Why? Why?....were these terrible tentacles stored in her hope chest? This is too cruel, she was thinking.
The angel moved slowly towards her....and spoke in a quiet voice, "These are all horrible events you have been harboring in your heart for all these years....only to see and feel them rise from time to time in your daily activities. They have found a way to continually fill your life with reminders of personal pain for years." The angel continued, "These events have been placed in your hope chest as lifetime primers that have served as retainers in your life up to now. It is time to cast off these anchors from your life's voyage. These memories have held you back for too long".....
Suzie Q. stared at the angel. "Can I do that?' The angel nodded, "You must earnestly desire to do so....because only you ...can do it. The Holy Spirit will help, but only after you sincerely start the evictions."
Suzie Q. was getting excited now. Breathlessly she asked, "What must I do?'
The angel picked the parchments out of the chest and calmly replied, "First, you must forgive in your heart each one of these who have ever offended or violated you."
After a deep breath, Suzie Q. turned to her visitor and said, "Even if I wanted to, some of them are gone away....out of my life....years ago...and some of them are DEAD!"
The angel pressed on, "It does not matter if they know not of your forgiveness. What matters is....you do....and God does."
"What about payback? What about seeing them punished....or something?" Susie Q. was struggling.............
The angel continued in his calm, quiet tone, "We serve a fair and just Almighty God Who maintains justice for all....and renders punishment as deserved....and you will probably never see it served. I tell you this....rest assured, they will be punished in this life and/or the next life."
He went on, "Your part will be to refrain from thinking or dwelling on these dark corners of your life for evermore. Remember, the evil one will try to stir up these sad memories in your mind to tear you down. Rebuke him by calling on your in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Think joyful godly thoughts."
Everything became quiet........
Suzie Q. gritted her teeth, and said through them, "I want to do this...we can do this".....She took the parchments the angel handed her....and read each offender by name....out loud....forgiving them in the name of Christ Jesus...giving the parchments back to the angel as she competed each one, until all were resolved.
Again, everything was quiet....except for Suzie Q.'s breathing....she looked around her bedroom. The visiting angel was gone. The now-empty hope chest had been placed on her bed. She walked over to it. Wait....it wasn't empty. There's a large parchment in it. Even in the darkened room she could read it...a wonderful blessing...of forgiveness.
Tears of joy rained down Suzie Q.'s cheeks as she knew this was the seed blessing of uncountable numbers of blessings that would over-fill her hope chest from God......Amen
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15).