Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surely God doesn't SEND Pain...!

Stacy McDonald

"You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?"
(Psalm 56:8)

He numbers my wanderings—He watches, records, and walks with me. He always has; even though it hasn’t always seemed like it. He even remembers the things He’s allowed me to forget. He has seen it all. So many times I thought I suffered alone; feeling like nobody cared—nobody understood. But, He was there – storing and counting my tears.

Now, if that was it—if all God did was stand beside me, watching my pain, it would seem a little cruel. It may be somewhat comforting, validating perhaps, to know He was there witnessing my hurts; but, it would be a hollow, scary kind of comfort. Who is this God who grieves with me, but is unable to stop my pain?

I was told that God watches with sadness as we suffer; but, that He has virtually nothing to do with it—no control. He grieves with us, but He can't do anything about the circumstances which caused our suffering. And I became afraid.

Are you afraid? Have you ever wondered: “If God really loves me, why doesn’t He do something?” “Why didn’t He keep this from happening” “Why doesn’t He take away the pain?” “Why can’t I get past this?”

"But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You. Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came around me all day long like water; they engulfed me altogether. Loved one and friend You have put far from me, and my acquaintances into darkness." (Psalm 88:13-18)

Why is it we’re rarely told that God orchestrates our lives according to His will? How can we find comfort in a god who sits wringing his hands in despair while we suffer—powerless to do anything?

"Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?" (Lamentations 3:37-38)

Yes, He is in control of our lives…even the painful parts. He knows us intimately—and He knows our suffering the same way. Yet, he allows the “woe and the well-being” to occur in our lives for our good and His ultimate glory. Coming to terms with that fact is comforting. God is in control. Knowing that our pain isn’t wasted provides healing, somehow—He uses it all.

"Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." (Lamentations 3:32-33)

Many of us have scars from our pasts—perhaps even deep festering wounds. Sometimes these wounds are hard to identify because we have stuffed them—hidden them…even from ourselves. Perhaps they have healed over, only on the surface. Occasionally, we’re stunned by sudden stinging signs of a deeper hurt—signs that appear and are briefly exposed by the bumps and bruises of everyday life. And we wonder.

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth…” (Isaiah 54:4)

When will I forget the shame? How can I face my forsakenness? What if someone sees the real hurt that fuels my fears? Even I can’t look.

If I slip and reveal too much, everyone will behold my disgrace. They will know my worthlessness—my ugliness. They will see how low and unwanted I have always been.

But if I can forget, maybe they can too. If I can hide myself, I can’t be rejected. If I can blind myself to who I really am, maybe I will go away—at least that part of me—the cowering girl with the haunted eyes.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me." (Psalm 27:10)

But I won’t go away. Closing my eyes to my wretchedness will not hide my wicked heart, or my twisted worthlessness—even from myself.


"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities." (Psalm 51:7-9)

In my “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” state I asked Jesus to cloth me in the white garments He offered—garments purchased with His own precious blood—garments that covered my wretchedness and gave me worth and value. In His mercy, He anointed my eyes and I was finally able to see (Rev. 3:17-18). He washed me clean and gave me a new name.

"You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you…." (Isaiah 62:4)

"For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God." (Isaiah 54:6)

So, why do I try to live in the land of the forsaken when I have been invited to the land of the cherished? (Eph. 5:29) Why do I close my healed eyes to what He has changed and walk in the torment and fears of the forsaken? Why do I hide in the comfort of familiar pain, cowering alone deep in my soul, when I have been called to be a city on a hill? (Matt 5:14) Sometimes pain is comfortable—it’s what we know.

"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
(Romans 7:21-24)

Yes! This is my battle! I know the truth; but, I struggle. I know I’m loved, and am no longer forsaken; but, too often, I don’t feel it, so I don’t walk in it. Oh “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Help me to walk in the truth of your love toward me simply because I know it’s true. Help me to see my life, and even my pain, as a sacrifice to you—to embrace my past as something that will be used to better glorify You.

"You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate..." (Isaiah 62:3-4)

Fear torments—fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of being hated, fear of being unwanted, unloved…even just tolerated. Those who have known deep rejection know how difficult it is to articulate the irrational fears that plague you—that chase you down in the dead of night—and sometimes in the day. There is One who knows better than any other—He knows it all.

Rejection was my foe. He stood over me with a gleaming dagger, mocking me—imminent victory gleaming in his eyes. My heart pounded. I closed my eyes and turned my head to the fate I knew I deserved. “I wouldn’t want me either,” I thought.

Yet, suddenly, with each beat of my heart, the footsteps of my Beloved pounded in my head. Could it be?

A voice charged with passion and authority thundered through the air, “She is Mine.” It is all He said.

From where I lay, I could see the nail marks in His feet.

I looked up and realized my foe was gone. All that remained of him was the dagger in my own hand.

Lord, save me from myself. You rescued me from Your own wrath and from the tormentors who had laid claim to my soul. Why then do I secretly struggle to live in victory over the very bondage I loathed—even when I see and know the truth? Why do I so often see myself with worldly eyes? “Oh God, I believe; help my unbelief!”

"But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?" (Galatians 4:9, ESV)

Lord, help us all to see ourselves the way You see us—to know and remember that You have orchestrated our steps. You have walked in and experienced our pain. You have loved us in our ugliness, and washed us clean. Remind us that regardless of who lets us down, You never will. Regardless of who may forget us, you will never forget.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Lord, You have my name engraved on the palm of Your hands; engrave that truth on my mind and heart.

Let my spirit be consumed with the fact that You will never leave me nor forsake me (Heb. 13:5). "In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 56:11)

Help me to walk in victory over that treacherous foe You have already defeated; help me to recall and use the testimony of Your mercy and grace in my life to overcome the lies of this world (Revelation 12:11).

The words burned through my mind with a healing heat, searing their meaning into my soul: “She is Mine.”


"I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me." (Song of Solomon 7:10)

MY NOTES: I've talked to many Christians who believe God "allows" things to happen, and I've always struggled with that definition because if God is sovereign over everything (which hopefully every Christian would agree with!) then how come some "things" (hurricanes, tornadoes, death, pain--you name it) he "allows." Does this mean he sees bad things coming, but can only wring his hands in consternation? Definitely not! I believe thinking that about God is a direct affront on his Majesty. OK or is it that he COULD stop them if he wanted, and just decides it's too much work, or it'll do them good anyway, or what?

I loved this article because it spoke of who God really IS. Everything else pales in comparison. Think about it this way: I think all true Christians would agree that if Jesus Christ had not died for our sins, there would be no way out of the Hell that was waiting for us, right? Right. Basically, none of us have gotten eternal life by our own works. Therefore, if WE DO NOT DESERVE ANYTHING BETTER THAN HELL-then isn't anything ABOVE AND BEYOND HELL A COMPLETE AND TOTAL GIFT? Grace... God doesn't owe us a single thing.

Just some food for thought. Please feel free to leave comments, but before you do, I ask you to pray and seek the Lord, and what is the real truth of this matter. God bless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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