Wednesday, March 23, 2016

When God Wounds

When I was twenty-three years old and had been married for one year, my husband told me of his struggle with pornography.  I remember being in a state of shock for a few hours before jumping into a problem solving state. We can beat this together, I thought. We will get counseling. We will cut the cable. We will make it.

But when I suggested these ideas, they were not embraced. The cable stayed. The counseling lasted one session. Life went on. I prayed really hard that things would change. They didn't.

Years slipped by, I prayed harder and more often. Why wasn't my good and faithful God answering my prayers? My God, the Righteous and Holy God, Ruler of the Universe could breathe a word and all would be changed. I had faith. I had trusted. Why was He allowing this sin? Why was He hurting my heart? When would He step in and make things right with my world?

My prayer sessions grew in time and intensity. Our marriage looked good from a safe distance, but the emptiness, the loneliness, and the lack of trust were taking a heavy emotional toll. I began to tell God that I didn't know how much more I could take. I was breaking. Each hurt brought the question to my soul: Can I bear this again? I knew that very soon the answer would be no.

Into this dark and hopeless time a light broke. Kevin began to seek help. It turned out that Kevin's darkness and hopelessness were as heavy as my own. Healing began slowly, almost imperceptibly at times. God began to open our souls to see things we could not see before. Then came the leaps and bounds, the "aha" moments, the joy of actually relating to one another in real and meaningful ways. That time period gave way to a more steady, slow growth. Eventually, we were healed completely, never to need help again.... No, not really. But we did build a more stable, self-aware, loving, relationship that continues to heal.

But, what about that hurt? What about those wounds? Couldn't we have avoided this altogether?

God pointed Job out to Satan: "Have you considered my servant Job?"
Job 1:8 

Jesus said to Simon Peter,"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as
  wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail."
Luke 22:31

It seems God is in the business of allowing the enemy to sift us as wheat.

God knows what we are made of, but He is not done with the making of us. The painful process of sifting helps us to see things we couldn't see before. Our eyes are opened to weaknesses we were unaware of. Imagine Peter's shock at his own denial of Christ. Imagine my shock in realizing my husband held a more significant place than God in my life. That's what we call idolatry.

John of the Cross said the pains of life are the most tender and delicate touches of God's desire for us and that they open the deepest chambers of our hearts. When I was crying out to God in my hurt, those inner chambers were being opened to receive deeper mercy and grace.

Our souls are continually seeking to find rest in things, in people. The Father lovingly wounds us in those very spots where we find our security and hope. He is opening the pathways to our deepest longings. We thought we wanted wealth, recognition, power, and the praise of men. But now, as we are broken, we know there is only One thing. True rest comes when adversity helps us feel the failure of lesser things to fill our souls. We are restless until we find our rest in Him.

God chose the wounding for me; specifically for me. He knew my very need to be broken of finding my value, my security, my hope in Kevin. That scar reminds me that what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. We can't avoid hurt in this world, but our Savior knows how to take even the most heartbreaking pain and create something beautiful. He makes beautiful things out of the dust.

copyright 2016