James 5:16 – So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. (GNB)

For the past several years, I have been a regular on an e-mail list. Liking the anonymity provided by the Internet, I created a screen name and revelled in the chance to interact with people without their being able to judge me on my age, gender, or appearance — only on my words.

I became good friends with one of the other members of the list. We had good talks about Christ, prayed for each other in hard times, and generally brightened each other's day. Sounds like a perfect relationship, right? It was — on her part. As for me, I had created a fake persona for myself: I didn't use my real name, and I led her to believe that certain details about myself and my life were other than they were, for fear of being dismissed as too young (as a teenager) or too emotional (as a girl) to be taken seriously. Thus, while she was giving me trust, truth, and friendship, I was being suspicious, lying, and only telling her truths about myself and my life if I was certain they wouldn't "blow my cover".

However, God won't let us get away with anything, no matter what we think about it. He began to work at my conscience, helping me to realize — through His Spirit working through my heart and the advice of a friend — that I was acting very much contrary to His will. The next test came: now I knew that I had sinned, yet I told myself that I didn't have the strength or the courage to confess to my friend and ask her forgiveness. I reasoned that God would not ask me to do something that I couldn't. You know the words: the sinner thinks his ways are right.

I struggled for several months against my conscience, out of fear that my friend would be angry with me, and I would lose her friendship. That was what would happen, I was quite certain. It is one of the hardest things in the world to trust that God has a plan for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future, as it says in Jeremiah 29:11. I could not believe that He would make this turn out all right.

Then, one morning in church, I realized that confessing to my friend was something I could do. Well, not me, exactly — I realized that God would make it all right, and that He would give me the strength and courage that I didn't have.

To make a long story short, I confessed my deception to my friend, telling her my real name, age, gender, and revealing that I had lied to her. She forgave me, with no qualms. Our friendship was even strengthened. All because God, in His indescribable grace, had beaten down my defences and excuses, and given me more strength and courage than I had believed possible. For all things are possible through Him, even the impossible.

Prayer: Lord God, for all the struggles we are trying to deal with, please give us Your strength, Your faith, Your guidance and Your courage, so that through Your grace, Your will may be done in our lives. We give You our greatest problem, that which weighs on our hearts and minds daily, and pray that You will make it all right. For You know the plans You have for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Your will be done in our lives, always. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Nicole Matson
Suffolk, Virginia, USA

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