(This is the seventh part in a series. Click the links to read the rest of the series: One – Going Back to the Beginning, Two – Stuck Between Two Horses, Three – The Wrong God, Four – Stepping Stones and a Crossroads, Five – Of Simmering, Resting, and Labels, and Six – He Is Not a Tame Lion.)
Ann Voskamp, of A Holy Experience, just started a series she calls “Letters to the Wounded.” When I read this, it was as if she was writing directly to me.
We say we just want evidence, we just want just one iota of tangible, undeniable proof, but maybe proof of His existence would satisfy us little, be little more than cold comfort and maybe this is what He really knows.
Maybe more than scientific, conclusive evidence of the reality of a Greater Being moving the strings behind the vaporous veil of the universe, maybe the dark depths of us really long for the filling of a wounded, weeping God who doesn’t write answers in the stars but writes His ardency in our scars.
With His scars.
She invited her readers to share their stories with her, and so I did. Please visit her blog to read the first post in a series I know will be a healing balm in many wounded hearts.
Thank you for sharing some of your story and some of your struggle to find hope through doubt and questions and pain. It gives me comfort knowing that someone through whom God speaks so profoundly has wrestled, and indeed still does.
My story is like the others. But yet I feel compelled to share anyway.
Life moved along with few bumps and bruises here and there, for twenty-three years. Then, one week after my twenty-fourth birthday, the fire, out of nowhere, began blasting with staggering intensity. A medically-fragile child, who miraculously (the doctors said so) survived cardiac arrest, a blood infection, and two open-heart surgeries within six months, that baby came home with feeding tube, oxygen, and dozens of medications.
She grew, but the girl inside the body struggled to show us who she was and battled with limbs that flailed and tongue that wouldn’t swallow and voice that couldn’t enunciate. Day after bone-wearying day, night after sleepless night, we cared for her needs, and the siblings who came after. Then, 21 months ago, Jesus slipped into her room in the gray dawn of a Sunday and quietly took her with him. In the months that followed, in the midst of mourning, came another death… this one of our church.
It all exposed my faith, built on sand. And that faith finally crashed down.
I took it down, actually. I was tired of bouncing from one repair to the next through the house. Somehow I had built a faith on a god who didn’t exist – a god who protected his people from some things, who had a line he would not cross with his people, whose promises of safety and protection were literal and physical.
I discovered, by finding myself and my family across it, that the line I wanted was a daydream, that God would use anything, allow anything, indeed had approved all manner of pain, even unto death. I’ve been angry, hurt, disillusioned, and lost over this.
My faith was wrecked, yet even in the anger and despair, deep down I knew that it wasn’t God who was flawed, it was me.
These three years, I have been rebuilding. Seeking solid ground for my foundation. Trying to put the truth in place. But I keep crashing into a wall. How can God be good and allow so much pain, in my family, in my daughter’s body, in ministry in the church, in our lives? How can he use pain, plan for it, do it?
He keeps reminding me that yes, he will go to any length. There are no lines he will not cross. And He himself has gone across the lines we wish for ourselves, he himself went to the death… for us.
God the Son died for us.
This I know. But if ever my eyes waver from Jesus, when my ears begin to listen to other voices, the whispered doubts and fears creep back, pouring their lies into my ear. They feed my fear that God will hurt me more. They remind me that I have counted the cost, and it is unimaginably high. That I cannot pay it.
I begin to see that to beat back the lies of the Devil takes vigilance. It is a war, not a battle won in a day. The doubts will come again and again, and I must be ready.
But I am not. I am weak and fearful. I haven’t learned yet how to live and work from grace, with the strength of the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for being willing to share the wisdom God has given you, the lessons he has taught you about these things. It seems that this is one way he turns evil against itself — using our healed-up but still-visible scars to help others whose wounds are still gaping open.
Thank you, dear sister.