“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
Lord, you did it again.
You rescued us. You helped us. You were good to us again.
We cursed you and yet you blessed us. We bit your hand but you fed us still. We blasphemed you even as you intervened on our behalf…and yet you intervened still.
Lord, we do not deserve you. Your love is too great for us. It’s greater than we know. We ask for grace, then reject it when you give it. No Lord, we do not deserve you.
Your knowledge is far beyond ours, and yet we judge you as though we knew you. Your understanding is limitless, and yet we curse you as though you were foolish. You rescue us from enemies we can’t even see yet we blame you for our troubles still.
Oh Lord, we are a foolish people. We are arrogant, prideful, entitled, judgmental, and ignorant. We say we trust you and then we curse the gifts you give.
And yet, you love us still. You bless us still. You help us still. You rescue us still. We didn’t deserve this rescue. We don’t deserve this love. But I am so grateful, Lord. So grateful.
You are so good and we are so faithless. Let us repent and seek your face. Let us drop our prideful hearts, give up our haughty spirits, and submit again to your sovereign love. Let us thank you for our gifts. Please open our eyes in the places we cannot see them. Let us give praise for your intervention, and rejoice that you are not a man but a God who’s love does not depend on our faith. Your love depends on your faithfulness, which is perfect beyond measure. May we never doubt it again.
Life finally seems to be making more sense. That may sound rather anti-climactic, but for me it’s incredibly refreshing. As someone who thrives off structure and logical reasoning, the last few years have been anything but comfortable. In fact, they’ve been almost purely maddening. For things to finally start making sense is more of a relief than most people realize.
While I don’t believe our God is one of chaos or confusion, I do believe he allows our lives to be confusing and chaotic. Realities of evil, sin, and their consequences mean that life will inevitably be both confusing and chaotic… and sometimes worse. Sometimes it becomes downright excruciating and destructive. My life has been lived mostly in the latter and yet my deepest pains have not come from evil actions against me but rather from not being able to make sense of them. It’s impossible to move past things you can’t even make sense of, so understanding has always been my unrelenting pursuit.
Throughout my life, I’ve learned that all manner of evil can be endured with patience if we’re able to see the end game. If we know the purpose of a particular pain before we experience it, the pain is much easier to endure. For example, if I have asked God for patience and all of a sudden my life becomes annoyingly complicated, I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that God is growing my character and internal strength. I then ease into the discomfort and find myself working with God instead of resisting him, and life almost magically becomes easier.
On the other hand, there are some sufferings so tragic, so deep, and so damaging that they’re as senseless as they are painful. And this has been my greatest struggle – enduring pain that is not only excruciating but also seemingly senseless. What purpose is there in being repeatedly victimized in such a way that your wounds never heal but only compound into something not even recognizable? What is the purpose in abuse by parents, friends, or people who claim to love you? What is the purpose in being raped? What is the purpose in being lied to and manipulated and coerced? Those are hard questions to answer when you’re in the thick of things. But with time and space have come perspective, and with perspective comes a great deal of peace. It may be over 30 years coming, but important answers are finally arriving.
In the same way that we are blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others, I also believe that we are allowed to endure great trials in order to help others through the same. God would not have allowed me to survive the assaults on my life and very soul if he didn’t want me to help others survive as well. And I firmly believe that one day, the balances will shift in the right direction. That survivors from all walks of life will find their voice, speak out against the abuses they have endured, and enact positive change that shines a bright light into the deep darkness of pain that has threatened to overtake so many lives.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” I pray that no matter what darkness you find yourself in, you’re able to gravitate towards the light. And as you find yourself moving more and more into the light, you will become a light for others as well.