(this post was begun in December of 2010, I did not want to post but I think it will claify a little more of my growing up years. especially in light of the post just before this one. I pray that it will help someone else go through suffering and see the presence of God in it.)
I know that many will not understand what I'm about to say. I won't stereotype but this involves suffering and sometimes doctrine helps but it helps in the way in which a surgery helps a broken bone, it still hurts right after surgery but it still hurts. Some people don't get that, they just don't get people who suffer or go through suffering. I'm not saying that I get people, especially in suffering, mostly I don't, but I understand how it causes reactions in me that might lead me down a different path.
Sometimes I don't like thinking, it hurts but it is necessary. 2010 was a year of thinking and thinking beyond the means that I have used to cope with fear and depression that sometimes consumes me. Yes, I get fearful and it is sinful, it is a basic mistrust of God and his goodness. One of the main bylines of this year that I shared with my wife was, "you do what you believe". So I can say that, "I'm better than I deserve" but do I walk that way? Do I complain when it starts coming at me hard and heavy? What is my reaction to adversity? Does it "open the ear" as it says in Job 36:15 or does it shut me down?
Why do I ask these things? Well it is simple since I was about 7 years old I walked in abject fear. You say well that is just ridiculous, you're suppose to walk in faith. I would say, "Yes, you're right", but this is where doctrine comes in as the surgery but the bone is still healing. Do you ever feel that way? Do you have something that you struggle with, "how could a good God allow that to happen?", maybe you thought of something right away, something inside you curled up or your stomach churned. I'm with you but this year was different, God would not allow me to keep questioning.
When I was 7 y/o my sister was sexually assaulted by seven guys, I was in the room. No they did not assault me, that was by God's grace but I watched it all and I still saw the pain on my sister's face as she tried to resist her attackers. It was sinful, mean, hateful, anti-Christ, nothing that I saw was good. We went home, both crying, I was crying for her and myself, not to make me out to be someone who is servant minded all the time, it was an uncontrollable heave from my soul, I was losing something.
It was a Sunday, just like any other Sunday at Redeemer Church, I'm now 42 y/o and singing songs to my Redeemer. I started to cry and could not stop, I saw the pain and hurt, my sister's face seared onto my memory. I ran out the back door, hoping to run away from the thoughts, I didn't want to deal with it, I wanted it gone. I was angry at God. Why did I have to be in the room? Why could I not defend someone that I loved so much? I put on a great show but behind the scenes my soul was a mess. Friends consoled me and I love them for that but God, the Holy Spirit was just reminding me that, no matter what this life brings He'll be there. That is what the Gospel is about, a God who is present. It is what we just celebrated, Immanuel - God with us!
My thoughts are not all the way healed, it just doesn't happen like that. I'll still have the issues of living up to my calling as a leader. Not only do I have the natural, "I don't measure up" thoughts but I also have the messages that the enemy of my soul wants to leave there, "you can't protect anyone", "a real man would've been able to do something, anything but you didn't". God is steadfast in his love for us, you can never doubt that when you look at where we have been and where we are now.
****what spurred this is I pulled up Google street view and went back to the place, the scene of the crime so to say and it is painful to take steps, tracing the roads that we walked back down to our home. I didn't know it then but I would never be the same again. By God's grace I am where I am and he has blessed me beyond measure with a family of 1 beautiful wife and 4 beautiful kids. Would I ever want them to experience this? Perish the thought. But would I be the dad that I am today? Most likely not, what happens to us shapes our lives in ways that, if we went back, would only make it something that we could wrap our tiny, insignificant brains around. God is vast and may our hearts rejoice in him in all things.
Your boasting friend,