This week our preacher talked about the lies we believe – how satan is the accuser of both God and man. While he preached, he reminded me of myself – how quick I am to get angry, how I always believe the conspiracy theory in my head and how I always feel the need to defend myself. I asked God: “What lies am I believing? Where do they come from?” It wasn’t long before I had my answer: I can’t trust God to watch out for me and whenever I am alone, bad things happen.
This came as no surprise. My life has been full of bad experiences, and over and over I have heard myself say, “Whenever I am alone, bad things happen!” It became almost prophetic. In fact, it has gotten to the point where somewhere deep inside of me assumes it will happen. Years ago, I had a hard time going out alone. I was afraid to walk a block by myself or go to the mall alone. I have gotten past those fears, but some still remain. Being alone does not literally mean “alone.” It means being without protection. That can be in a group. That can even mean in church. Or with a group of Christian women. If I am there without my husband, I feel especially vulnerable. The problem is that my husband is not always by my side. He might go talk to someone else, and then, it happens. That panic. I back myself up against a wall and wait. I hope that he will return quickly. And the longer I have to wait, the more upset I get with him. He is doing nothing wrong, but I somehow expect him to understand and never leave me. The problem is – he is not God. God is the only One who promises to never leave me. But can I trust Him?
What about all of those times that I have been hurt? Where was God then? When I step back and look over the events of my life – there is pain, but mostly as a direct consequence of my own actions. I put my hand in the flame – and funny – I got burned! How is that God’s fault? In fact, if I am honest, I should have gotten burned a lot more! I should have lost a hand – I should be dead. But I am not. And that was God’s mercy alone. But what about that main event? The one that changed my life? Where was God then, satan taunts. It has been 28 years. Twenty eight years! And yet the horror of that night still plagues me.
I was with a group of people. People I knew to see and say hello, but didn’t really know. You know…. kind of like church on Sunday morning. There was nothing that would have indicated that I was in any danger. Nothing that would stand out a any kind of warning sign. But as the crowd disbursed, I found myself alone. Well, not alone actually… but alone with people I really didn’t know.
My efforts to defend myself were fruitless. I was powerless against his strength. Did God abandon me? Was He powerless to help me?
No, actually. I was assaulted, but it could have been much, much worse. Was God absent? No. When I closed my eyes and called on Him, He was there. He held me so close. He whispered in my ear that He was with me. He didn’t let me feel the horror. And as I was being strangled – was I afraid? No. The Lord laid there beside me and filled me with peace. He assured me that if this was the end I would be with Him and surrounded me with His love. I did not fear death.
But all of the pain afterward – that must be God’s fault! Well, no. God didn’t tell me to find healing in drugs and alcohol and unhealthy relationships. No, in fact, I did all of that on my own. The pain that came after was a result of my own actions. But the moment that I cried out to Him, the moment that I called His name – Jesus – He was there! Finally, I was ready to let Him bring healing. And He did! How quickly He removed me from all of that bondage! As I release the pieces to Him, He restores, He heals. Now it is time to release the lies that I have held onto for all these years. To finally believe the truth that I have known all along: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut 31:8).
Do I need to forgive God? No. He has not wronged me. He has never left me… and never will.