Psalms 27: 10, For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
Getting deep down inside ourselves when life is painful isn’t easy. It’s even harder to open the broken parts of ourselves up to others. Sometimes we need to do it, though. This is one of those times.
I know pain. I know the pain of being rejected by my father–who denied I was his though there was no doubt that I was. The pain of living with his drunken outrages–outrages that had me on very strong “nerve medicine” by the time I was 18 months old; medicine that was designed to help me with the “blanking out” and “walking into walls” I was later told I had been doing. Medicine also designed to calm me down when I’d get hysterical at hearing his car pull into our driveway each evening. Medicine I had to stay on my entire childhood.
I know the fear that comes when you leave all and run in the middle of the night in an attempt to outrun the man who wants to kill your Mama and take you–even though he has no true love for you. The uncertainty and disquiet that comes from uprooting over and over and over during the very young years of your life. The utter relief and the broken heart that vie for emotional space when you hear your abuser has died.
The very confusing pain of living with an increasingly depressed and overwhelmed mother who eventually starts taking her pain and fears out on you. The caustic words that eat at your soul. The terror at the thought of setting her off. The struggles to please a Mother who absolutely refused to be pleased. Verbal abuse that eventually bled over into other kinds of abuse. Pain that went on and on and on, increasing throughout the years. Pain that didn’t stop when she finally passed.
The loneliness, confusion and pain far too deep for words that comes with an abusive marriage. The struggles to come to grips with the abuse and, finally, to confess to yourself that abuse has occurred. The never-ending ache that comes from watching your children hurt. The fear of confiding the abuse to others who just might throw it back in your face.
The near-despair that comes from watching some of your own precious children go down the wrong road in a vain effort to right the many wrongs heaped on them. The drowning kind of sorrow that accompanies their rebellion, the deep heart brokenness that accompanies the cruelty of their words and accusations.
The emotional firestorm that erupts from hearing words of censure from supposed Christians who have no clue what you are enduring, don’t give a whit for you but still feel the need to condemn and vilify because “somebody said”. Or simply because you and your family don’t fit their ideals.
I know it all and more.
If I stopped here, thought about it all long enough, and wallowed in the pain, I’d be nearly as bad as those who did the abusing. I could do that. I’ve known those who have. Usually they end up pouring their pain out on the next generation. And on it goes. Endlessly.
I could stop and wallow except for one thing: God’s grace won’t let me. It’s not that I’m better than those who do. It’s that God’s in control.
It took me a long, long time to trust Him enough to even begin to understand that He is a good God, He is in control, He does a plan…even through all the pain.
That’s what I want you, my readers, to know. God is in charge. Moreover, He is good. He’s not like your abuser. He won’t lie, break or wound you. He isn’t like the preachers who preach one thing from the pulpit but live quite another way everywhere else. He’s not like the “good Christian folks” who refuse to listen, refuse to try to understand but love to gossip and condemn. God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t abuse, misuse or demand things we aren’t capable of performing.
God is a good God.
God is a very good God.
It bears repeating. Over and over and over. God is a wonderfully good God Who can be trusted–even if you have never known, or have rarely known, people worthy of your trust. Once you know really Him, you will find Him far, far easier to trust than any person.
Go to the pages of Scripture. Read how Jesus related to those wounded, broken ones He met along the way. Observe how tender He was, how kind. Go to the pages of the Old Testament and read about God’s provision for His people. Look up the story of the Red Sea: I love that story. I’ve lived that story, had my own Red Sea story, many, many times. Each time God came through. Each time He delivered. Each time He proved Himself worthy of my trust.
The really great thing in all of this is that none of it depends on me. God doesn’t accept me because I’m good or because I’ve achieved something. Abuse victims are just like everyone else in this: we’re all sinners worthy of hell. Enduring abuse here doesn’t give anyone a free pass to Heaven. The reason God accepts me is because He, through the blood of His Son, Jesus, has saved me from Himself.
God saved me from God: from His wrath, from His condemnation, from His justice. From the Hell I so deserved. He can do it for you, too.
I am of the Reformed faith and I firmly believe God is in control. In all ways. In everything. I also know from the pages of Scripture that, when we come to Him in true repentance, confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness, He never turns us away. He’s a really great God. A good God. A loving God.
A loving God: that’s everything to those of us who have rarely known human love. Because He’s a loving God, a good God, we can know for certain that He will take us in when we come to Him in our brokenness and pain. And He will never let us go.