Bringing your wounds to your Heavenly Father
We will have days, or even seasons, when the pain from our wounds is so intense that we will turn our anger on God and wrestle with his goodness. In the midst of our pain God seems anything but good. Perhaps we can relate to Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forest Gump, who felt that forces beyond his control had caused him to miss his fate. The men in his family line had died noble deaths on the battlefield. Lieutenant Dan had his legs blown off in a vicious battle where he could have died a noble death, but instead was rescued by Forest Gump and was forced to live – and to try to cope with life while disabled in a wheelchair. For a while Lieutenant Dan lost hope in his fate, his destiny, and tried to take control of his life by pursuing some relief through prostitutes and alcohol. The self-medication did not help. He did not experience peace until after he had allowed himself to contend with God at the top of the mast of the shrimp boat, screaming, “Bring it on, God!”
What are you aware of holding back from God – fury, sadness, confusion, disillusionment? God does not want us to “get over” our frustrations toward Him. Instead, he invites us to bring our honest frustrations to him. “Come now, let us argue this out,” says the Lord (Is 1:18). We are not fooling him by trying to hide our disappointments and frustration with life, or with him. He created us, and He designed us to have real relationship with Him. Not bringing our disappointment to Him would not be real. Afterall, He could have stopped the abuse, abandonment, silence, rejection, sickness, or physical and emotional pain we have experienced. And if Satan was the perpetrator of the evil towards us, then God could have intervened and protected us. God does not make excuses for His sovereignty or His choices that sometimes feel harsh: “I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.” (Isa. 45:7) And as stated by Solomon, “Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” (Eccl. 7:14) And consider the following: “So it will be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds He gave them.” (Isa. 30:26)
In the case of Job, God in His sovereignty allowed Satan to inflict the pain. After God permitted Satan to destroy Job’s family and property, God said to Satan, “[Job] has maintained his integrity, even though you persuaded me to harm him without cause.” (Job 2:3) God did not place the blame for Job’s “unfair” suffering onto Satan. If fact, God admitted that He harmed Job, because He could have forbidden Satan from harming Job. Wow! What do we do with the fact that God takes responsibility for all that is bad – all the hardships – but does not always heal the wounds in the manner that we desire?
Yet one is amazed by Job’s response immediately after this “unjust” assault occurred. What did he do? He worshiped God! That’s right – he fell to his knees and worshiped God: “The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21) This is very hard to understand, don’t you agree?
But consider this question: Do you think that today Job would trade his story, his glory, and his legacy with anyone else? No way! Job’s faithfulness, his struggles, and his legacy will echo throughout eternity! And the Bible teaches that God blessed Job immensely – gave him twice as much as before – even while still on earth.
And speaking of our definition of “unfair,” what about the price Jesus paid on the cross when He lived a life without sin? And after Jesus asked God to alleviate His suffering at Gethsemane – to “let this cup of suffering be taken away from me,” Jesus trusted in God’s ultimate goodness and cried out, “Yet I want your will, not mine.!” And even though Christ had to bear the sins of the world, do you think Jesus would make a different choice today? No way! God does not ask us to suffer just for the sake of watching us suffer – “For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lam. 3:31) And he does not ask for our sacrifice unless He plans to reward it with something better. Finally, God promises that He will give us grace to endure any burdens He asks us to bear.