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2. Powerful Grace Lesson from Japan

Journey to Heart of the Father

Journey to the Heart of the Father

You’re here and excited about the journey ahead. You know where you’re going. You know what you’re going to do. And you know why you’re going. This is the greatest day of your life. You’ve planned and prepared for this moment, and now it’s going to happen!

For you this might be your wedding day, the birth of your first child, or graduation from college. Maybe you’re starting your first job or your dream job or retiring and finally getting to do what you always wanted to do. Whatever it is, you know the excitement and the anticipation.

For me this journey was going to Japan as a missionary. This was my calling and dream since junior high school. From an abusive childhood background to a self-destructive lifestyle…out of that mess the Lord saved and called me.

I was certainly not a very likely candidate for mission work and especially not for the difficult work environment of Japan (see my previous blog posts). As a single missionary I left my family behind and stepped foot into my exciting new life of service to the Japanese. Sounds great, huh?

The Journey of the Heart

My loving Lord had called me to Japan to share the good news of grace to the Japanese. That was the outward journey. He was also taking me on an inner journey of the heart. The Lord would use the outward circumstances to woo me, to cause me to hunger for Him, to bring me great satisfaction and joy in His presence.

In fact, what was happening on the missionary road whether joyful or painful was being used to help me along the inner journey of the heart. The love of my missionary family and Japanese friends, the struggles of language study and cultural adjustment, the rejection of some and conflicts with others–all the joys, the stress, the discouragement and loneliness were leading me on the deeper Journey to the Heart of the Father.

Ever wonder what God is up to in your life? Here’s one possibility:

Our Lord is guiding you to the Father’s heart where you will experience the depths of His love for you.

Nothing on this earth compares to this love. There is no greater joy than to know Him by experience. This is far greater than a mental assent to the facts of the Bible.

I’m talking here about encounter with the living God that turns your life right side up. Knowing Him will “ruin” you in a good way. You won’t be satisfied with those sinful pleasures that once captured your heart. You won’t be able to run with the same friends if they are leading you down a road away from the Father.

Lesson 2 — God Chose Me to Bring Me to His Heart of Love

So this is the second powerful grace lesson I learned in Japan and continue to experience and learn. The Trinity is about relationship with us. The Father sent the Son to die for us to give us life with Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to live in a love relationship with the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit pours this love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).

Why does it take so long to get it? To understand and experience this love? You may have understood God’s love when you first believed or even later down the road. But for those of us who have been wounded and deeply hurt–well, to believe and receive this life-changing love may seem impossible. Here’s why:

  • “Father” is not a heartwarming word to many of us due to past painful experience.
  • Trust in someone’s word, especially someone you can’t see with your eyes isn’t easy. Trust itself is near impossible for some of us.
  • Woundedness causes us to isolate and close our hearts off from the love we so desperately want and need.
  • We might be angry with God because He didn’t prevent or stop the pain and wounds.
  • Control is the only way we know how to survive. We will get what we want on our terms.
  • God is unpredictable and wild in His love toward us. That scares us. We can’t control Him.
  • Surrender to anyone feels like death. We are afraid to lose ourselves. We fear being hurt again.
  • We haven’t forgiven those who have hurt us so bitterness is choking out the love that could be ours.
  • What would you add to this list?

How to Experience This Love

If you have read this far, I know you want to experience this love. You know this is what you are seeking. Your pain is driving you to the comfort of His loving embrace. You know nothing else but His love will calm your anxiety and fear.

You may be asking, “What should I do then to experience the heart of God, His love for me?”

Let me ask you, “If you’re a parent, what does your child have to do to experience your love? Do they have to do anything?”

The Father says to you, “Come. Sit and rest. Enjoy my presence. I delight in you. I want to hear your voice. Just be with Me. Let Me love you. Open your heart to Me. Be aware of what I’m doing in your life to capture your heart and bring you to My heart of love. My grace will breakthrough your wounded heart. My love will overwhelm you and heal you. As you travel on this journey, look for My love. I will reveal Myself to you.”

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God” (2 Thessalonians 3:5a).

How would you answer this question: How can I experience the love of God?

3. Grace Heals a Heart

Heart Healing

Photo Credit: Photocreo via Canva

Have you been wounded by what’s been done to you?

Do you deeply regret what you have done to hurt someone else?

Either way can leave you feeling shame, handicapped and unable to move forward to live a meaningful life.

Grace can heal your heart.

The following true story is told from the perspective of the older Japanese sister.

“Hello, my name is Yumi. I am from the Tokyo area but my family transferred to Aomori because of my husband’s job. I like to laugh and talk with friends so I was able to make new friends after we moved to Aomori. I met other mothers at a play group for young children at the church.

One of the missionaries wanted me to study the Bible with her. We did a couple times but I didn’t feel I could measure up to what the missionary was like. She was a good mother and seemed to do everything right.

Over Winter Vacation my daughter Chieko studied the Bible with another missionary, Chris. Chieko had many questions and went to church on Sunday on her own even though she was only in 5th grade.

Chris came to my house with Chieko. We began to talk. She invited me to an English class movie. I decided to go.

I had no idea how that movie would affect me. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I couldn’t tell Chris why I was crying. I felt so awful and so ashamed because of what I had done. I couldn’t tell anyone.

Then Chris invited me to the women’s Bible class. I went a couple times, but I was still feeling really awful. I had a secret and I didn’t want anyone to know about it.

Then on February 14th I again went to the Bible class. Chris spoke about John 3 and being born again. The other missionary, Mr. Payne, was there, too. Chris asked if anyone wanted to believe. I did so they prayed for me. I have never been the same since. I felt God’s presence and knew that my sin was forgiven. My heart was filled with joy. I was forgiven!

Later I told Chris my story. The movie we saw was called “The Hiding Place.” A Dutch family hid Jews in their home during World War II. They were caught and all were put in a concentration camp run by the Nazis. All but one of the family died in the camp.

As I was watching this movie, the truth hit me. I was like the Nazis because I had killed my unborn baby. I had an abortion because having a baby then was not convenient. Oh, how I regretted that decision! I suffered and my heart was pained, but I couldn’t change what I had done. Then when I believed, I knew God forgave me. I’m free! I’m not bound up by that sin anymore.

I had other hurts in my heart, too. When Chris and I got together, I would cry and cry. Sometimes I didn’t even know where the pain or tears were coming from, but I cried my heart out. God in His grace was healing my heart. I am so grateful for His forgiveness and working in my heart. I am free!

Tomorrow my sister will tell you her story. This is going to amaze you!”

Do you have secrets and hurts in your heart that you need to grieve? Pour out your heart to the Lord. Then talk with someone you can trust. Grace will heal your heart. If you were sinned against or if you sinned, Jesus’ blood covers all.

Don’t let secrets or past sin rob you of the life that Jesus died to give you.

Don’t allow the crippling power of shame keep you from the healing community of your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16a).

Abba Father, walk my friend who is reading this into your amazing grace and love. Cause their heart to open to You. Heal their heart with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.