“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? ... No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Rom. 8: 35, 37)
“We will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Heb. 4:16)
“For you have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Pet. 2:24)
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Cor. 1:4)
“He was wounded and crushed for our sins; He was beaten that we might have peace; He was whipped, and we were healed!” (Isaiah 53:5)
“On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, p. 48) “Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars…” Henry V
“For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17)
“For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lam. 3:31)
“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom. 5:3-4 NIV)
Feeling Abandoned by God – Taking Control
It’s easier to understand suffering if it is a consequence of intentional sin. If you rob a bank, going to jail may be a natural consequence. If you commit adultry, divorce could be an outcome. But it is harder to understand suffering that we are asked to endure by God that is not seemingly a consequence of intentional sin.
If God is good, “Why was I physically or sexually abused?” “Why did my father abandon me?” “Why do I physically or emotionally hurt this way?” “Assuming God has the power to do so, why won’t God heal me from this illness?” “Why does my loved one have to suffer with this disease?” “Why did God allow the betrayal and broken relationship to enter my life?” “Where was my rescuer when I was crying out for help?” “Why is life so hard today and my suffering so seemingly harsh now that I am a Christian?” “Where is this so-called abundant life?” “God, how can I believe you are good in the midst of these circumstances?”
These and other questions haunt us. As our wounds are being inflicted, seemingly no one – including God – comes to our rescue. “Does God not care?” we wonder! As we look at our scars, often times we lose faith that God has our best interests at heart, and in our desperation we choose to take control of our lives. This is true of all of our stories. And fully letting go of control and surrendering to God seems impossible – and sometimes even foolish! Yet that is just what God is asking us to do. Is absolute surrender to a God – who often feels harsh, absent, and unfair even possible? Bitterness towards God and others often wells up in our spirit.
For many of us, the wounds we carry were inflicted by our fathers because they were weak substitutes for God the Father. Some of our fathers were silent and absent, never helping us chart a course for our lives and causing us to feel lost and confused. Some were physically abusive and demeaning, causing us to feel small and weak. Some were abusive to our mothers, causing us to feel angry and powerless to protect. Some of our wounds came from sexually abusive neighbors, coaches, or family members. Some came from playground torment or jokes, name calling and taunting. These wounds left some core questions and core messages in our hearts as young boys and, as a result, we often do not feel like we have what it takes to be a man. And “the father of lies” bombards us with statements similar to the following:
“I am supposed to handle this but I don’t know how – I am so weak and stupid.”
“There is no way I can teach my son how to become a man.”
“There is something terribly wrong with me.”
“I feel so fearful – so there is no way I could become a warrior for God …”
At some point, all of us have stories that made us feel abandoned by our parents, our friends, and by God. And this can lead us to believe we have only one option – to take control of our lives and try to make it on our own. We begin living a life where the only love we understand is conditional love based on our performance. We can become bitter and resentful. Our unforgiving spirit toward those who hurt us can dominate our lives and draw us away from God. Once we take control, it is a battle and takes great courage and perseverance to relinquish control back to God.
Wounds and Scars (185 KB)