I am privileged to bring to you a post by Dr. Beverly Rodgers, co-author of Becoming a Family That Heals (Focus on the Family, September, 2009).
Trusting God Can Be Hard for Those Who Have Been Abused
When I was twelve years old, I was saved in a little country church in the small Southern town where I grew up. I still remember sitting in the maple pews on those sultry summer days, with the entire congregation fanning their bulletins in rhythm to the impassioned preacher’s narrative.
I would stay late into the afternoon because I did not want to go home. It was safe there; safe from my mother’s mental illness and physical and emotional abuse. I never knew what would set her off. I could go unpunished for saying bad words to the neighbors and get beaten for spilling my milk. Living with a parent like this made the journey of faith harder for me.
Often I thought that if I could not trust my own mother, who was supposed to love me more than anyone on earth, how was I supposed to trust a Supreme Being that I cannot even see? Many times I doubted my Creator.
Many times I tried to do things in life my own way as a result. As I started studying Scripture, I learned that I was not alone. The children of Israel in Isaiah’s day had a similar problem.
Israel’s godly King Uzziah had died, leaving the people feeling abandoned and alone. This caused them to doubt God and His provision for them. They frequently lamented to God about their circumstances. Isaiah told his people, “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’”(Is. 45:9 NIV).
Well, if you were me years ago, the answer would have unfortunately been yes. I constantly argued with my Maker about the storms I experienced in life. But true to God’s character, He calls His children to repentance and He called me to His bosom as well. He said, “It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts . . . I will make [your] ways straight” (Isaiah 45:12-13 NIV).
I have read this passage many times in my years of walking with the Lord, mostly when I am having a tug-of-war over my life’s circumstances. I would tell God that I wanted things my way, and He would call me to repentance and tell me He was going to do things His way. I have learned over the years that it is fruitless, and even painful, to play tug-of-war with the Lord. He is the one who made the world and put the stars in place. Arguing with Him is futile. We all know that He will inevitably win, so the only way to be peaceful and healthy is to surrender to His plan. It is, after all, filled with His compassion and love even if we cannot see it at the time.
Perhaps you, like me, have suffered pain at the hands of those who were supposed to cherish you. Maybe you were wounded by the anger of a parent, the betrayal of a spouse, or a beloved child who made ungodly choices that caused you horrific hurt. You felt like you could not trust the Lord, so you went it alone and, in your flesh, tried to fix what only the Lord can repair. There is hope in surrender.
The Lord tells us that He can help us with our unhealthy behaviors. He reminds me regularly through His prophet Isaiah that he formed me in the womb to be His servant (Is. 49:5), and has called me by name (Is. 45:3). When I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. When I walk though the fire, I will not be burned (Is. 43:2).
Time and time again, I return to the Lord’s loving bosom and He is there to greet me with His unconditional love, which makes the journey of faith just a little softer and a little easier until I am with Him in Glory.
Thank you, Dr. Rodgers. May the Lord use your book to help hurting families.