Are you in so much pain, suffering, and angry… that you feel that there can’t possibly be a loving God?
The question of suffering versus a loving God is a long debate, often ending up being a heated argument; this conversation has been running for thousands of years; where raw feelings are touched, where we can be in such a hard place that we wonder why me? Why are my loved ones suffering? How could a loving God possibly allow such devastation…
All of this can either cause us to search for the heart of God, or build a wall up so high as we protect ourselves from what we may think will cause further pain, turning our back on Him.
If I or those I love are suffering, does that mean there isn’t a God?
My heart cries out to the world, to those who are suffering and wondering if there is a loving God.
As a Christian who loves her Lord very much, I am called to share the great hope I have in Jesus. God asks me to always be prepared to share what He has done in my life.
‘If someone asks you about your christian hope,
always be ready to explain it.
But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
Keep your conscience clear.’
1 Peter 3:15-16
I will share with you my friend, how my life has been changed so much that there are no words to fully describe what Jesus has done for me, not by anything I have done, but all because of the amazing gifts of love, grace and mercy from my Heavenly Father.
My Lord met me in a place of complete brokenness, from past hurts that would constantly rear their ugly heads to keep me locked up in chains of pain every day; where I questioned my worth, and at one point I wondered if it would be easier if I had not been born at all. As I went through each and every difficult situation I would add another link to the chain that would keep me in my prison.
When I was growing up. my church had an enormous crucifix at the front that I saw every Sunday. I would stare at it from the choir seats, thinking about this statue of a person who looked to be in a great pain, with a crown of thorns on his head and wonder why it was there. I would hear about this Jesus who went to the cross and came back to life, but to me it was a story that we would think about at particular times in the church calendar, such as Easter. If He was alive, how come He was still on the cross on the wall of my church?
I always believed that there was a God who created the world and who I would meet one day in heaven. I would learn about various stories such as Noah, Moses, and Joseph and his amazingly technicolor coat in Sunday school. All of these were interesting stories which came with fun songs that we would sing, and plays we could act in (yes I have been Mary and an Angel), but through it all, I wondered how it could apply to my life in that moment; as I tried to deal with awful daily physical, mental and emotional bullying, and my many questions over the great suffering of my gran who had Alzheimer’s’ disease… as well as many other things that sought to destroy who I was.
From childhood I had decided that in order to help my gran, to be of comfort to my family… I would be the best child I could be. If I could be the perfect child, everything would be ok…well that’s what I thought as a child trying to make sense of a world which often seemed like it was in chaos.
The problem was that in trying to be perfect, I dumped a whole world of responsibility on my head, far more than anyone could carry.
In the process of trying to be perfect the results came with great anxiety – if I didn’t manage something…what would be the outcome?
In striving to be perfect it didn’t make any difference to my gran who was lost in a world of torment as her memories crumbled around her.
In my focus of wanting to be the perfect student, I became the target of the bullies, as teachers would place me next to the trouble makers, hoping my behaviour would rub off on to them.
There were days when I would go to school and sob my heart out as I didn’t understand what was going on, then I would go home and sob about what happened at school. I was exhausted, lonely, and felt like I deserved everything I got.
If there is a God, why was I suffering?
I spent many years admiring the not so beautiful ground, as my eyes stared into a big, never ending, pit. The sun could be shining brightly, the birds singing and all I could hear were the words of’ ‘you are rubbish’, ‘you deserve to die’ ‘you are worth nothing’, ‘you deserve this pain’… I was carrying so much on my small shoulders with my own self judgement and past pain, I was like an ant trying to carry a tower block on it’s back, barely able to move from the great weight.
Yes I had many good things, amazing things! Unfortunately the noise and strength of the negative words drowned out the good, as the pain I was in managed to shout louder, and I let it, because I believed these lies.
At one point I went to a Christian counselling centre for about a month. I was given free board, food and counselling – how amazing was this! Such a wonderful gift for someone totally lost in pain and sadness.
This was the first time I had ever been anywhere for this length of time on my own. It was incredibly hard – gut wrenchingly hard.
I think I must have spent most of that time crying, mourning at what I had lost, terrified for the future … in the great wisdom of the couple I saw there for prayer ministry and counselling, they didn’t spend much time with me apart from in the sessions.
I hated it. I wanted, needed a hug, I was desperate.
Now as I look back at how Jesus has touched my life, I praise God for the couple’s faithfulness, as God took everything away that I depended on. It was an amazing time of blessings, as God showed me the way through the desert and wilderness (Isa 35:1-2).
He wanted my attention, all of it.
He knew there was absolutely nothing in this world that could fix my broken heart. I could no longer put the TV on and radio to stop myself from thinking. In the raw silence, God spoke to me in such a powerful way! I was stumbling and He picked me up and placed fresh hope in me. (Job 4:4)
In my brokenness He showed me that –
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.’
God wanted a relationship with me as He does with you.
This God, who created the world and all it’s beauty, this same God who used and is using broken men and women powerfully (as we read in the Bible and in historical and present-day testimonies from around the world) to direct our attention from our situations onto His great love for us; as he chose those who made terrible mistakes, who were/are weak, who put up walls against God and said no to Him… in His word of truth we can truly see as the scales are removed from our eyes, and we look right into the arms of grace.
He took the hopeless, condemned, hurting, forgotten and showed them their true worth in His sight.
I am so utterly amazed and thankful for what God has done for me. He has taken someone who was kicked, punched and who believed every negative word said against her, and has spoken to me with words of love – everlasting love, and teaching me daily what is right, honourable and pure in His sight (Phil 4:8), as He challenges me to walk the path set out before me that was planned before I was even born, free from condemnation and fear (Rom 8:1)!!
Yes! I was planned! (Ps 139:16)
Yes! I was created in the image of my Heavenly Father! (Gen 1:27)
Yes! He chose to pour not only His love, mercy and grace over me, but also healed me from within!
But guess what? This amazing gift isn’t just for me, it’s also available for you!
As I wept at the foot of the cross, I looked up for the first time ever and saw that Jesus was no longer there on the cross, as He defeated death and rose again for us.
He did not desert me, He was always there! (Isa 41:13) I didn’t see Him in my pain of the past, because I was looking in the wrong place for Him.
Jesus took my sin and pain to the cross, through His act of perfect love, He heard my cry of desperation and replaced it with Hope!
‘In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
He saved me from my troubles.’
God doesn’t promise us an easy life, free from troubles (2 Cor 4:17). He calls us to be in relationship with Him, to give our lives fully to Him, as He will guide and guard our paths (Ps 32:8, Prov 2:8) , comfort us (2 Thess 2:16), and surround us with His love.
We may not understand everything.
We may not understand why such awful things happen in this world, but if we place our trust in Him and His faithfulness, He will equip us and give us the strength we need (Phil 4:13), and joy for the journey.
On my journey I have met with Jesus not only now in the present, but also when I didn’t know Him personally, as I saw Him next to me holding my hand (Isa 41:13) in my painful moments as He heals me. I know that my eyes were so focused on the pain that I forgot to look for Him, but it’s never too late to know true joy in Him.
I may still be in great daily pain with arthritis and chronic pain, but all is well with my soul (Prov 18:14) As I lean on my Jesus, as He carries me in the storms of life, and I pray that in my difficulties I may shine brightly for my Lord, crying out into this world of darkness, that there is a great hope!
‘We put our hope in the Lord,
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts will rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us,
Lord, for our hope is in you alone.’
Psalm 33: 20-22
Thank you Jesus
If you are in pain and feel like no one understands – I have been there as many others have.
Through my journey I have discovered an amazing God with life giving truth that speaks into a heart of confusion, pain, anxiety … I am gradually learning who I am in God’s sight, because I have felt His glorious presence when I invited Him into my life.
I invite you to think about it today.
Jesus is waiting to show you how much He loves you, He wants to carry your burdens, He paid a great price for you!
‘My heart has heard you say, “come and talk with me” ‘
I am here if you need a friend.