Last week, our pastor gave a great sermon about being angry with God, and how to resolve that anger. Here is the link.
He asked: “What happens when your life falls apart?” For many of us, our lives have fallen apart because of the sinful way our abusers have treated us. Often, DV victims become angry at God. After all, if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, he could have prevented our abuse, right? Yes, that’s true. So, it is easy to see why some victims become angry with this all-powerful God who did not stop the heartache and pain they’ve experienced.
When you go to church, (if you do), do you feel safe with the people there to express your pain, struggle and anger with God? If not, maybe you should check out a different church. Our pastor posits that God loves it when we wrestle with Him, just as a dad loves to wrestle with his small children. And the children love it too, because they are engaging physically with their dad.
Christians today often feel wrong about having doubts about God. Do you believe that having faith means you must always be certain about God, his goodness and plans for your life? That isn’t how the bible portrays faith. How do we know it is OK for us to struggle and wrestle with God? Many saints from the bible did just that:
Job had everything good about his life taken away, his children, property, servants, even his health. In Job 30:20 through 31:40, we see Job wrestling with God, asking WHY? I’ve been faithful to you, why are you being unfaithful to me?
The psalms are full of King David wrestling with God. David served King Saul faithfully, and in return, the king tried to kill him. Hey, that’s not right! In Psalms 10, 22, 55 and 74, we see David pouring out his anger and doubts to God. And David was called “A Man after God’s Own Heart.”
In Matthew 11:1 – 19, we see John the Baptist struggling to understand his doubts and pain with Jesus. He had served God faithfully, (living in the desert eating locusts, YUCK!), and how did God repay him? Did he receive favor with the people at that time? Well, yes for a bit, but how did he end up? He ended up in Herod’s prison, and ultimately with his head on a platter – literally! (Matthew 14:1 – 12). Yet, even though he doubted, Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet to ever live.
Even the apostle Paul, considered the best and most fruitful apostle to ever live wrestled with God. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 10, Paul says he asked God three times to take away the thorn in his flesh. Did God answer his fervent prayer? No, God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Finally, the best example of someone wrestling with God is Jesus himself. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded three times with God to take away the suffering Jesus was just about to experience. He was so pained that he even sweated blood (Luke 22:39 – 45).
As you can see, pouring out our pain, doubts, and even anger to God is OK. He is big enough to handle it. My pastor says that the only faith worth having is an honest faith. And honestly, don’t we all doubt God’s purpose in our lives at times? I doubted the goodness of God when I was in my abusive marriage. I thought, yes, God is good, but my life sucks! How can that be right? Why would God allow my “Christian” husband to treat me abusively year after year?
Did I lose my faith in God? No. He stood by me, and answered, “Your husband is sinning against you, but I still love you.” He showed me his love through his continued presence, and through my friends and family who stood by me during that awful time. Many of you have lost all your friends and family because of your abuser. Does that mean God doesn’t love you? No. When we experience pain, God means even more to us, because he is all we have.
Just before our pastor spoke last week, our worship band played Jason Gray’s song, “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In.” I love the lyrics, and believe this song is very helpful for those of us who have been abused.
Here are the lyrics:
I was halfway up the mountain when the rocks I held gave way
I came tumbling like an avalanche, to the bottom where I lay
And with the taste of blood and the twist of bone
My healing could begin,
The wound is where the light, the wound is where the light
The wound is where the light gets in
I stood there like a hostage with a knife held to my vein
Held captive by the poison that I took to numb the pain
‘Cause everybody wishes they were born with thicker skin, but
It’s tricky how the heart works
When the break-ups and the big jerks
Make us never want to hurt that way again
Maybe I’m naive but in every scar I see
A place where love is trying to break in
‘Cause the wound is where the light gets in
You can recognize a saint by the scars they don’t disguise
You can pick out a real sinner by the kindness in their eyes
So if you’re stumbling in the dark and bleeding at the shin
Just remember the wound is where the light gets in.