I received this email yesterday and I found my heart not only cringing at the pain my sister has endured, but also overwhelmed with joy that even in such desperate circumstances she has come to discover that her Father had not abandoned her, but was with her as the redeemer in the midst of such ugly circumstances.
Our flesh wants to blame God for the painful things that happen to us, but Scripture is clear: God is not the cause of devastation in our world; sin is! He is engaged in that pain to bring redemption to all involved and lead us into his light and freedom. I’m so glad my sister has found her way into that light and writes of it to encourage others. The journey has truly taken hold of our hearts when we can see the hand of a loving God even a the most devastating moments of our lives.
I just got done listening to the Folly of Judging Motives for the second time. I realized I’ve been judging people and dehumanizing them all my life in order to protect myself. Father has some work to do.
That’s not what caused me to write to you, though. I was writing because something you said toward the end really struck me. You talked about people who have not known God as being loving in their lives and asked how they learn to “live loved”. I’d like to share some thoughts. I was so badly abused as a child that it’s a miracle I lived through it, much less that I can function in society. I was molested, raped, beaten, and forced to participate in an occultic religion that was very anti-God. My perception of God was not good. I thought He just sat on His throne watching, indifferent about the pain around me.
Jesus, however, I did not view the same way as God the Father. He actually held children in His lap, which was one of my favorite stories. Jesus captured my heart at 5-1/2 years old. I never thought things were God’s fault, per se, but He certainly could have intervened. I often felt that I wasn’t “good enough” for God, so I deserved whatever happened to me. I’m 45 now and would say it’s been within the last few years that I’ve been really learning that God loves me without conditions.
A number of things have helped me in my journey. I’ve asked God many times to help me see things in the past the way He does, or I’ve asked Him where He was in those ugly times. As I’ve walked the healing path, He’s been very faithful to me and has answered my questions in beautiful ways. I’ve been allowed to see that I wasn’t alone during those years even if it felt that way. When you find yourself crossing paths with someone in deep pain who’s looking for God’s love, encourage them to ask God to show Himself to them. Also let them know that a sister who understands their pain wants to encourage them not to give up, not to give in to the numbing cold of hopelessness. God will be faithful, and He will draw them to Him.
I wouldn’t trade anything I’ve been through for an “easier” life. My relationship with Him is so sweet and precious. There are times when I don’t feel like I can go any further, but He always gives me what I need. His blessings have far outweighed the pain and suffering I’ve been through. If He will do that for me, He will do that for them. No matter how dark the skies or intense the storm, there is a rainbow somewhere. Sometimes you find it easily and other times you have to look for a while, but it is there.
This is not an intellectual pursuit where the mind can rationalize reasons that God would “allow” such circumstances in our lives. I don’t think there are any rationalizations for that. This is the God-given revelation that he was there and working for our good even in the midst of the nightmare someone else was creating. The only place to find that is where our sister did, in a growing engagement with the Father of all love, who can win this place in your heart.
It may not be as important for you to sort that out in the events of your past, but it is what we need in the painful circumstances we each face today. He is bigger than our pain, and able to work through the tragic realities of our fallen culture to bring triumph out of tragedy, and even make his love known beyond someone else’s failings and selfishness. His work in us doesn’t excuse the actions of others to hurt us, but it does set us free who have been made their victims.