Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Path of Pain and Forgiveness

I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting this past year about my life, and I believe that I have come to peace with painful events of the past. Today I stumbled upon a poem by Amy Carmichael which explains my journey during the past 29 years pretty accurately.

I have come to the conclusion that the illness I suffered in college was planned by the Lord and that the subsequent events that followed this illness were all supposed to happen. It all went down according to the plan. This idea was first presented to me by a Christian psychologist that I went to see about 15 years ago. I thought that sounded impossible to be true and so I rejected her words. Consequently I wrestled with pain and unforgiveness for several more years. I reasoned that something so wrong and terrible couldn't possibly be part of God's plan for me. However, I have come full circle. By saying that it was all a mistake and that it wasn't supposed to happen implies that it somehow slipped by God, that He was asleep on the job, or that He really isn't in control of the world. If He is in control, but I still think that it was all terrible, then I am forced to believe that God is actually quite cruel.

No. I believe that God is good and that He is in control. I believe that we are given trials to develop our faith and character. It sounds so cliche...but I see its truth in my life. I believe there are certain paths that we are destined for....but I also believe that the Lord gives us choices along that path. I don't profess to have it all figured out. There is a certain mystery to it all. This is where true faith develops. I'll never totally understand the answer to, "Why did that need to happen?" Accepting that I won't understand it during this lifetime and deciding that it is okay that I don't understand has helped.

The other "aha moment" that brought about this change was learning to see my mother as human. One who makes mistakes. I recognize that she carried a tremendous amount of pain in her heart about things that happened in her life too. She was also someone who was good. She was a godly woman who was mostly a blessing to me. I was far more blessed by her than the opposite....but Satan wants to cloud my memory regarding her. I am also a human who make mistakes. God's grace is sufficient enough to cover my own sin. He has forgiven me and He has forgiven her. For me to not forgive her (or anyone else) is to have the arrogance to believe that I know better than God does. That is just more sin on my part.

This past winter, I went to Prayer Central at my church. It is a room that you can go to after any of the services to ask for prayer. I went there to ask for prayer regarding my unforgiveness towards my mother. I didn't tell them my entire story, but I told them that I felt very angry towards my mother because 28 years earlier, she had hurt me very deeply. It took me several years to put all of the pieces together in order to figure out what happened all those years ago. So I went to Prayer Central and told the woman there that I needed help getting past this. It seemed to me that this was the last ugly black talon that Satan had my heart pierced with. This woman prayed for me. She prayed that the Lord would help me get to the point of acceptance...that I would look back on my life and see this as something that just simply happened, and that I would no longer have the bondage of anger that came with it. I thought to myself, "Yes, Lord. This is what I see it as something that simply happened...without all of the anger about it."

I believe that I have finally reached this point. I am not fool enough to believe that the enemy won't attack again, but he has lost this battle. I shared this, because I know there are many people who have hurts and anger over things that happened to them that were not entirely fair. I hope I can encourage at least one other person to find acceptance for what happened to them and to be able to forgive those who wronged them.


Ruthie said...

yes. God is in control and His ways are higher than our ways.

It helps me to remember that God is working with a flawed and fallen world. The miracle of grace is that He brings good out of brokenness, beauty out of ashes.

The world is flawed, fallen, broken... because God gave us freedom and we chose to rebel. He did not abandon us even then. He even knew in advance that it would happen, and He used it as an opportunity to display the beauty of His all-surpassing grace.

We can't really understand more than a glimmer of all this, but we can understand enough to trust Him, and that is what we need to do.

Priscilla said...

"He even knew in advance that it would happen...." Ruthie, this exact thing has been on my mind quite a bit. It is amazing....and so is His grace for us!