Okay, I know a lot of you already think I'm crazy, simply for holding onto this belief that my daughter, who was kidnapped over twenty years ago, is going to come home alive. But generally you are nice about it, so I guess that's okay. Others might think I'm crazy because I am a Christian, and I believe in God, and I not only talk to him, I listen to him. Well, I'm just going to tell you that whoever you are and whatever you believe (or don't), I love you and respect you, so I guess you will do the same for me.
Of course in this very stressful time I have continued to talk to God, and to try to listen to him. I am hesitant to share any of this, because if it turns out to be wrong, I don't want to impugn God's reputation! So let's just establish from the beginning: if this turns out to be all wrong, it's not God's fault. It's just proof that I am crazy -- that I am a mother who wants her child home badly enough that she sees her return in everything. But if it turns out to be true, well you are just going to have to give God some credit.
Every morning I spend some time reading the Bible. This morning after I finished my regular reading I just felt an impression that I should read something from the Psalms. So I flipped my Bible open, and it landed on Proverbs. I just kind of leafed back through the pages until I came to Psalms, and it opened to Psalm 107. It started out promising enough:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say this --
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south....
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
So that sounds hopeful, being redeemed, delivered from distress. But I continued, and I was amazed:
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through the bars of iron.
Anybody who has read much of anything I've written is probably familiar with Michaela's poem, which she wrote a week before she was kidnapped. She said she had written it about people who had been kidnapped and were being held captive. She referred to these people as being "behind the doors of steel." So here this psalm is referring to God setting people free from their captivity, and specifically referring to breaking down gates of bronze and cutting through the bars of iron -- so similar to what Michaela had referred to in her poem.
Later I was driving to the grocery store, and suddenly I remembered the Bible verse that I used to close a talk I gave at my church earlier this year. It was Psalm 27:13-14:
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord.
Be of good courage
And he shall strengthen your heart.
Wait, I say, on the Lord.
You know, I'd never really understood why I closed with that verse. Of all the verses I might have closed with, it seemed to lack a certain power, or a certain applicability. But it was just there, and I just closed with it without really understanding it. But this morning I was filled with the meaning ... "that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living"!!! I had looked forward to the day I would see my daughter again in the next life. I had hoped I would see her again in this life, but I had not really believed it, until now. Yet this was the verse that was pretty much just given to me to close with. I hadn't researched, hadn't searched for a proper ending, it had just come to me. And what it promises is not good things in the life after this one, but in the land of the living. It was funny, also, that the memory of this verse would just come to me this morning.
Those of you who might have followed my blogs on myspace through the years will also know that the Bible story of Jacob discovering that his son, Joseph, whom he had thought to be dead, was actually alive, had been driven home to me on a couple of occasions. I know that when you read the Bible, it's proper to pray for God to speak to you through it, but I honestly don't do that very often. On one occasion I did, and I prayed it pretty fervently. My Bible reading that day had been Genesis 45-46, where Jacob (whose name is also Israel) learns that his son is still alive. I'd finished reading and had put the Bible away before it suddenly struck me what I'd prayed, and what I'd read, and I said, "Could you be trying to tell me something, God?" Unbelievably enough, the exact same thing happened the next time I was reading in that part of the Bible. And I know you might think I should have known what I was about to read, but I swear to you I was totally unaware of it. Perhaps on a most subconscious level I knew, but even so, if my subconscious is picking up on that, that's something in itself.
A number of years ago, Pastor David Silvey, who used to be at my church in San Leandro, Faith Fellowship, and is now at The House church in Mountain House, California, delivered a message from God to me. He said, This is what I want you to do Sharon, I want you to rise up from the ashes. I want you to begin to praise Me. For that day is coming. I already see people walking up to your door, I even see you falling down, crying. "Your day of mourning is over" saith the Lord. "Your day of mourning is over". All those questions about your daughter are about to be answered.
This, like everything else, is something I have pondered without ever grasping the fact that its literal interpretation would mean that Michaela is alive and would be coming home. "Your day of mourning is over." God may be able to deliver some healing to the wounds of my daughter's loss in this world, but the mourning will never be over. There is only one thing that could end the mourning.
So many things have whispered to me that Michaela is still alive, and yet I have not heard them. I have wondered, guessed, but for so long I have bought into the probabilities that a child missing for so long is not likely to come home. I have hoped, I have wondered, but I have not really believed. It is just too good to be true.
Am I repeating myself here? Perhaps I am. I apologize for that. But if you have got to this point in reading this blog, I just want to tell you thank you for sharing my hope with me.
And by the way, for those who aren't accustomed to listening for what God has to say, when you study the Bible of course you want to take the context of a verse into account. But God can well take them out of context in order to give you a message. The intervening verses in Psalm 107 between the sections I quoted refer to the imprisonment referred to as being a result of having rebelled against the words of God. I guarantee you that what happened to Michaela was not the result of punishment by God, not for her and not for me. If you have any questions about that, please read "My Journey Through Sorrow" on my website at www.missingmichaela.com.