What’s with all this Suffering?

I don’t think there is a human being alive that hasn’t questioned the reason we humans suffer. Many have given the very simplistic answer that, “Well, it’s just God’s will.” Others go into all sorts of long exasperating explanations that make no more sense than the simplistic answer.

Can any of us ever really understand why we humans suffer? I don’t think so! God is so far above us in all aspects that there are just some things that we will never fully understand until we are standing before Him and He’s explaining some of it to us. Personally I like the idea that I have all of eternity to question Him.

I am no different from someone else who questions why did my husband die in the prime of his life? Or why do children suffer abuse from the hands of those who are supposed to love them? Or why did so and so die after I prayed fervently healing over them? Why did this happen or that happen? We all have questions and there seems to be no satisfying answer coming. Yes, some will turn their suffering into bitterness and turn from God. Others, that truly are close to the Lord and more mature in their faith may find strength through their suffering. We all react to suffering in various ways.

Well, today I got an answer that has encouraged me and has helped me to better understand what all this suffering is about. It came from the Holy Spirit and I hope it can be an encouragement to you, the reader as well. It has certainly shed new light and has given me a new perspective on why we suffer.

We have to think about God’s glory. Isn’t that what all of this Christianity stuff is about? Doing, praising, worshipping, all for His glory? God’s glory is so far above anything we can even imagine! Our lives on this earth in no way can come close to His glory. There is absolutely nothing that we suffer that can come close in comparison to His glory. No matter what has been done to us, no matter what hurt we have suffered, no matter what physical, emotional, financial, or even spiritual pain we have gone through or will go through comes remotely near His phenomenal and awesome glory.

We are like a baby in the womb. That baby struggles to live. It fights for every breath, it kicks, stomps, and maybe even screams and cries. It fights for life and waits and struggles for the day it will be expelled from the present world it is in. We’re like that baby in the womb fighting the umbilical cord waiting to be expelled from this our temporary home. We struggle daily, we suffer in a variety of ways, and we fight, sometimes for just the next breath, to make it the end.

The day we take our last breath and leave this earth is our birth. All this time on earth is as though we are in the womb. Suddenly we take our last breath and are expelled from our temporary world into the full glory of the Lord. ALL of His glory is within us, around us, above us and beneath us. We are encapsulated in glory!

That is what all this suffering is about! It is our time of preparation for the day we will be born into the full glory of God. Our suffering is over. No more tears, no more sorrows. Only the full and complete awesome glory of our Almighty God is now our new home.  We have left the womb of suffering, heartaches, and sorrow and Jesus says, “Welcome home.”

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Can Light Penetrate a Black Heart?

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My child sized heart pumped fiercely as I ran away. Fear filled me. I felt like the devil himself was close behind breathing down my neck. “If he catches me I’ll never survive.” I scream out, “Jesus save me” but He didn’t appear at my door. (I thought He would come to my house and save me from the abuse.)

That’s when the devil got his foothold. The anger at God for rejecting my plea intertwined with the fear. The roots of disappointment and a lack of understanding was transformed into a bitterness that grew deeper. With each injustice, betrayal, hurtful word, and rejection another black spot replaced what God created. Hatred filled spaces unknown within a normal pulsating heart that was created to love. Instead of the red blood of Christ filling a beautiful, pumping pink organ, the enemies blackness was trying to fill it to the brim.

Life continued with struggles and the bitterness against man and God continued to grow. God’s light would try to penetrate my darkening heart but with snarled lips and vehement words God was rejected. “If there’s a God then why……..?” “Don’t talk to me about this so-called loving God!” was spewed out from a heart filled with pain, rejection, bitterness, and a hatred so deep it seemed no light could penetrate. God would step in but the door was quickly slammed shut.

God is a persistent God! He never gives up pursuing the lost. He didn’t give up then and He hasn’t now. He continued to chase me down and at my lowest point was standing there to pick me up. I accepted Him and He taught me much. With much love and patience He began healing the heart wounds from all the years of hurt and betrayal and gradually I learned who I am in Him. The blackening of my heart began turning grey. Some of the black spots of evil dissipated. But with a news report I learned it was still filled with hatred. The roots of hatred and bitterness still ran deep. I desperately needed surgery! The kind only Christ can do.

God’s light broke through the darkness within a dream. In the dream the flames within the cage roared about the body of man while ISIS stood watching with vile, wicked grins and slapping each other on the back for a job well done, I screamed out, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” It wasn’t the man being burned alive, it was me! Just before I awoke, I glared at the evil men and said, “If Mohammed was here I would spit in his face!” I awoke suddenly with my chest filled so full of hatred that I thought I was having a heart attack.

The hatred grew within me until I thought my chest would burst. I prayed in English, I prayed in tongues, I asked God what was happening to me. At one point I felt I wanted to jump out of bed and scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t because it would wake the whole subdivision. I couldn’t move. The chest pain continued until I thought my chest would explode right there in my bed. I prayed some more. I rebuked the devil to no avail.

Confusion swirled around in my head, “Was I feeling what Christ must feel?” I told the Lord I know He loves those people but, “Forgive me, I want them to suffer every scream, every cry for help, every pleading agonized breath and feel every pain that every person and every child felt, for all of eternity in hell!”

My chest grew, the hatred increased. It was vile, it was ugly. I could barely breath. I could taste the wickedness of it. I prayed some more. I cried out for understanding and even threw out the fact that Jesus got mad and threw tables around the Temple. “I can’t ask You to forgive them because You will if they ask, but they won’t!” And, “I won’t pray their heart be changed! They are Satan’s incarnates! That’s like transforming Satan’s heart! It ain’t going to happen!” My thoughts whirled around like a balloon skittering around a room when suddenly released of its air. One minute I was thinking like Jesus might want me to and the next I was lashing out with hatred.

I don’t know how long I spewed the vile hatred I felt for what is going on in this world. The evil that surrounds us all. I confessed, I quoted a couple of scriptures, I did everything I could to try to rationalize and try to understand what was happening to me. Had I not been wide awake I would have thought I was in the middle of a horrible nightmare.

Suddenly a thought dropped into the midst of all the praying, all the arguing and expounding on why I should hate these people,“You have hurt people, too.” That shut my mouth for a moment but then of course my first response was, “I haven’t chopped off anyone’s head! I’ve burned no-one alive! I’m not robbing and stealing and raping!” Then the realization took hold, I have hurt people with my words, some deliberately and some not. I have rejected others, and above all, I rejected God and His Son for many years.

The pain in my chest began to slowly dissipate as that realization took hold. A calming began to replace the pain of hatred. It seemed as though my chest was deflating slowly and as that realization of my own sin penetrated my heart I realized that maybe, just maybe, it was my heart that needed to be changed.

There was no glowing translucent light filling the room. No angels appeared in white robes. No heavenly choir songs rang out from heaven. There was only a hushed silence as I whispered, “Is it my heart that needs changing, Lord?” The pain suddenly vanished! I was left limp and exhausted.

Many of us have prayed, “Search my heart O’Lord.” He takes that seriously and in my case He used the evil of ISIS on a T.V. newscast to reveal the depth of hatred in my heart and not only to expose it and make me aware of its depth but to taste the vile bitterness of it. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I was hating the sinner as well as the sin.

We’ve all suffered pain of some sort. We all have areas of hurt. There are no pure hearts in humanity and He’s still working on mine. By His grace I am saved, not perfect.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Ps. 139:23

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Dealing with Betrayal

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Betrayal can come in many and  various forms. It can be as simple, if you want to call it simple, as someone betraying your trust through telling another what you thought was told in confidence. There is the betrayal within marriages through adulterous behavior. Betrayal can come through domestic abuse. Maybe someone at your job betrayed you by lying to the boss. There’s many examples of how we are betrayed.

In my opinion (and many psychiatrists) the most damaging, deep, and most heartfelt betrayal is through a parent sexually abusing their child. From within the womb we are totally and completely dependent upon our mothers and fathers. Upon birth that dependence grows even more for the child. The child depends on the parents for nurturing, education, love for God, not to mention clothing, food, and housing. God instilled in us love. We are created to love and we do it naturally as a child. We love our parents regardless of anything they do.

Children are taught to hate, to distrust, to be suspicious and to take the blame. They were not born with that negativity. We’ve all seen cases where a child is horribly abused and yet they will protect the parent. It isn’t always that the parent/abuser has threatened them to keep quiet, it’s because of that God-given love instilled within us toward those who God chose to be our parents.

I was asked recently if after having been sexually abused if having my Dad admit to the abuse, if that was emotionally more difficult than the actual abuse. My answer was no, not for me. For me it was confirmation that the abuse really did take place. It stopped all the mind wrestling of whether it happened or not and put an end to the lies that were being told about it didn’t happen. But not everyone can answer that way. It is always very difficult to admit we have been betrayed. Especially if that betrayal was from someone we love.

Sexual abuse/incest is the most damaging of all abuse to a child. It attacks the body, soul, mind, and spirit of the child. The issues that are left from it are so vast it can take years to heal from the devastation. Most abusers will not admit their guilt. Many mothers will blame the victim or deny it happened or choose the husband over the child. Hopefully with disclosure becoming more prevalent that will change.

Who of us want to have to admit to ourselves that those who were given to us by God could do such a thing? Who wants to admit that the man we chose to love for the rest of our lives would sneak around behind our back in an adulterous affair? Or that our best friend would reveal a deep secret we shared, with someone else?

Betrayal will leave deep wounds. Whether they are bleeding wounds that we ignore, or ones that we continue to pick at is our choice. In the case of sexual abuse it may take years to heal those deep wounds. In Psalm 27:10 The Lord says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Betrayal through abuse , by a parent, is forsaking the child! They have forsaken their God-given responsibility to care for, in a Christ-like manner, for the child that was placed in their care. Mothers and fathers that do nothing to protect the child, a co-conspirator, has emotionally, and in some cases physically, abandoned the child. Christ is there to receive you!

With any betrayal it is hard to “wrap our minds around” what was done. There is hurt, anger, denial, and eventually acceptance. We have a big choice to make. Do we forgive or do we continue to bleed? It can be mind-boggling to think that our own parents could betray us in such a way but if we do not release that hurt, through forgiveness, the betrayal will be like a gunny sack filled with rocks on our back.

With any form of betrayal do we choose to live with a heart filled with hate and bitterness toward those who have betrayed us or do we turn to Christ and give Him our pain? By holding onto the pain, not forgiving, we are bringing God’s judgment against us.  (Matt.5:22) We are hindering our prayers, (Matt.5:23) we’re causing a root of bitterness to take hold, (Heb.12:14-15) we’re allowing demonic strongholds to take hold, (Eph.4:26), and halting our healing (James 5:16).

Freedom from the heart wounds inflicted by an act/s of betrayal is obtained through our ability to seek Christ’s forgiveness and to offer our forgiveness to others.

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