Again, a family I care about very much was hurt deeply through actions of others which appear entirely unfair. To top it off these actions were done by people who were in leadership of an christian organization. Recently a different friend began to question God due to seeing lives ended way too soon through careless actions of others via his medical profession. Our third friend is just ignoring God through a time of life hurts and changes. Now top that off with a young man hurting deeply as his fiancee’ left him 2 months before the wedding after years of dating. The thing all of these people have in common is that they all believe in God. They would tell you they are Christians. Now they are hurt, very hurt and wondering what is going on. I can relate.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 6 years old. I wasn’t a rebellious teen-ager and even my college years were not an experimenting time. I’ve followed Christ, not perfectly of course, but what I mean is I have never had a season of ignoring my faith and just doing whatever. So my life should be perfect right? After all God is a God of love and He came to give us life “abundantly”, see John 10:10. While it’s true that God is the God of love and He did come to give us life abundantly that does not equate to a “perfect” life. There is no “perfect” life. We live in a broken, very broken world. Broken-ness started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to eat of the forbidden fruit and won’t end until the Lord returns. See God loved Adam and Eve. He did not create them as robots programmed to love Him back and do exactly as He said. He created them as human beings with free will. He wanted them (and us ) to choose to love and obey Him. Free will is what makes us different from robots and animals. We are not programmed for life and we do not live by instinct. We make choices.
So when we humans make choices we make good choices and bad choices and for every choice there is a consequence. Let me say that again, every choice has a consequence. Some consequences are good and some are bad (hurtful), some are immediate and some don’t show up for a long time. My husband was abused (not by his family) as a child. He hid this fact for years, alot of years. It made him feel unworthy in relationships. He acted out on that unworthy feeling, but not until his young adult years. Again, he hid that fact thinking it only pertained to him and those directly involved. However, after we were married it effected our relationship, especially our physical relationship, only I didn’t know the cause. Through a series of very hurtful circumstances many of which seemed unfair, his story came out. I learned many things about my husband’s past that I had no idea of the day I married him. These things directly effected my life. Why? I had been a “good girl”. Didn’t I deserve a “good boy” for a husband or at least the truth before we were married so I could choose to marry him or not? God knew long before this all played out that my husband would be my husband. While God didn’t cause Mark to be abused and then Mark to act out as response to that abuse, He can use it. God has used it in both of our lives. I am a healthier, stronger person because of it.
I think of a story found in Genesis. It’s the story of Joseph. You’ve heard of him, Joseph and the coat of many colors or maybe you’ve heard it called “Joseph and the Technicolor DreamCoat”. Which was a great musical by the way. Joseph was his father’s favorite son but one of many sons. We all know that can cause a family problem. It did. Joseph’s brothers hated him because of his preferential treatment from their father, Jacob. One day an opportunity presented itself to them and they choose to trap Joseph and sell him to foreigners. They told their father that animals had killed Joseph. It worked for many years. Jacob thought Joseph was dead and they all lived “happily ever after” right? Well it was okay until a famine hit their land and eventually the brothers had no choice but to go to the leadership of a neighboring country for help. Guess what? That was where Joseph had ended up and in leadership no less. When the brothers appeared before Joseph to ask for grain Joseph recognized them but they did not recognize him until he told them who he was. The first negative consequence they experienced was fear. Joseph threatened to keep them until he saw their youngest brother Benjamin. Well the story goes on and you can read all about it in Genesis but the end result is Joseph saved his family from dying via the famine in their land and the brothers literally begging for Joseph’s forgiveness after the death of their father. They thought he would want to repay them for their evil acts against him. However, Joseph responds, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:19-21 NKJV God saw the big picture. Joseph’s brothers chose a selfish evil act, God redeemed that act through Joseph years later.
Years after my husbands abuse and poor decisions he was healed. Through his healing and asking for forgiveness we had a chance to learn first hand about redemption, forgiveness, truth and trust. We, as a couple and as individuals are stronger, more mature people because of all of this. God has given us opportunities to minister to other couples who are struggling. We can honestly say it is worth the work of digging to the bottom of your struggles and cutting off the root of them. It’s worth forgiveness and building trust again. It’s worth the time, energy, tears and laughter with a reward of deeper love.
This “good girl” has had “bad” things happen but God who sees all and loves all has used them for not only my good but the good of others. I can say, it’s well worth the risk. Actually it’s not even taking a risk because the one I am trusting in is completely trustworthy. He never fails. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV
So I’m praying for my friends and family to trust our God who will not fail us. Our God who sees “the big picture.” Our God who loves us too much to let us stay right where we are for the rest of our lives but give us opportunities to learn to forgive and trust and try new things or meet new people. What about you? Are you stuck or are you trusting?