By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved.
Originally published in a slightly different version.
This man has violated our trust. I have to wonder, does God like that? If He is so just, why did He sit by and let this happen? I am hurt, my child is hurt, other families are hurt. And he gets a few years in prison for all this pain he has caused, which will never end for all of us whom he has hurt. How do we go on from here? Where is God’s justice?
In the first part of your answer, we looked at the truth of God’s justice. But, where does that leave you? Knowing the truth about God’s justice and patience does nothing to alleviate your very real pain. The answer for you is found in the truth of Who God is.
THIS NEXT STATEMENT IS CRITICAL!
The reason that your circumstances have caused you to even ask these questions is because, at the heart of the matter, you feel abandoned and betrayed by God.
There is no shame in acknowledging the truth of this. God knows it’s true! He’s not going to be shocked or dismayed or hurt by it! He’s not going to punish you for it, either. The biggest first step toward your healing is for you to realize this is true.
The reason I know this is true about you is because I have walked there, too. I’m not writing this out of judgment or because I read it in a book somewhere or heard it preached. I’m sharing this with you from experience. And the very first thing it was freeing to discover was that God wasn’t judging me, or rejecting me, or punishing me, or abandoning me. In fact, He cannot do any of those things because they are against His nature as a God of love, justice, patience, etc.!
There is a distance between you and God right now, but it isn’t one of God’s making. The distance between you and God is the distance of your own arms as you hold yourself away in fear of being hurt worse. And God isn’t judging you even for that! He’s patiently waiting with His arms open to show you the truth of just how tangibly and how vastly He loves you.
One thing that’s helpful to understand is what your pain really means. When we experience emotional pain, the very best thing we can do for ourselves is to run to God and ask Him to be the Great Physician for our hurting heart, open ourselves to whatever He wants to change and trust Him to bring healing.
So, how can you gain healing from this hurt? Well, the Word says that the truth will set you free. Of course, the truth of Christ’s sacrifice for us is what sets us free from eternal judgment. But this principle of Scripture extends further than just our eternal state. The key to freedom in any area is learning and walking in God’s truth about that area.
Since this is true, let’s look at the truth about how God’s heart toward you. The Word says that God IS love. Because this is a fundamental part of His character, He cannot act in any other way toward you.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Luke 11:10 – 13
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
For the sake of space, these are just three of many references in Scripture about the reality of God’s love. It’s easy to make the mistake of looking at these passages as distant and theoretical, but they are not. God’s love is just as literal and tangible as a mother’s love for her newborn baby. That’s truly the way God loves you. What sane mother can deliberately hurt her newborn baby? No more can God maliciously or thoughtless hurt you.
One thing that can stand in the way of our understanding of this is a misunderstanding of God’s discipline, too. We might say, “But, the Word also says God chastens his children and it is grievous.” (Hebrews12:5-11) However, even God’s chastening isn’t mean or vengeful. In fact, the pain of the circumstances is His discipline — not done “to” us, simply a natural byproduct of the situation. Discipline does not mean punishment! Discipline is simply training. It is that process through which we learn to be more careful not to touch the hot pan because we have experienced being burned.
Another critical characteristic of God that applies to your situation is the fact that God is a Redeemer. Not only does He redeem our eternal souls He redeems our lives, our circumstances, etc. This is a basic part of His character, not one separate function limited only to salvation.
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
The truth is that God has a redemptive plan for your circumstances. This is shown time and again in God’s Word. You are not the exception! You are dear to Him and He has a beautiful plan for you (Ecclesiastes 3:11a). He will work your circumstances together for good (Romans 8:28 ) if you love Him and seek His way of accomplishing it.
The Word is a treasure chest of examples of how God does this very thing. When we read the stories of the people in the Word we tend to see the end of the story first, so to speak, and forget that real people experienced these things over a period of time. These real people had real feelings about their experiences — they didn’t know what the end of the story was going to be. Consider these:
Job — he lost everything – his children, his wealth and his health. During all the time he sat in mourning he didn’t know that God was going to doubly bless him in the end. He only knew what had already happened. It looked like God had turned on him and deliberately hurt him.
Joseph — he was hurt and rejected by his family, separated from the father he loved, forced into a demeaning, painful life of slavery. When he did his best, he was again unjustly betrayed and sent to prison. And remember this wasn’t a prison like we know. This was a dark, stinking hole with no amenities. When he still did his best, he was forgotten. During all these years of the worst trials the only “hope” he had was a couple of childish dreams.
Esther — as an innocent Jewish virgin, she was forced into the harem of a pagan king. How could she reconcile such debasement? We don’t think of that perspective, but this was not an honor for Esther. Yet the Word says that this was God’s plan for her life for a very specific, and honorable, reason (Esther 4:14).
Abigail — was given to a violent man to be his wife (I Sam. 15:3). We only see a tiny piece of her story recorded in Scripture and we don’t realize that she lived with this violent and angry man for some time before the events that were actually recorded in the Word. What was it like for her for all that time? Ultimately, she was forced to defy her husband to save the lives of others. What do you think she felt when she went back to Nabal and confessed to him what she had done? She didn’t know that God was about to strike her husband dead. She bore the brunt of his anger again, perhaps she was beaten (and not for the first time) — it’s very likely.
In every life, God had a redemptive plan that these people could not see as they walked in painful places, often for years. God has a redemptive plan for your life, and for your child, as well. The only condition on that redemptive plan is that you seek Him and His way. If you hold Him at arms’ length and hide from Him in your hurt you cannot and will not know His healing.
So, how can you seek Him and His way and walk in His healing? I’m going to address this question in a third section — How to appropriate God’s healing.