One day on a sidewalk, soon after my first major life crisis, someone said something to me that literally made the hair on the back of my neck bristle in anger. She wasn’t directing her comments at me or my situation, but simply sharing what she was learning and what God was doing in her life. This was someone I respected and liked, but I remember thinking that what she said simply could not be correct. I thought she knew what my circumstances were like, how deeply I had been hurt, and if so, she certainly should have taken the time to console me, give me words of comfort, maybe even feel sorry for me. And perhaps she did. But I didn’t hear it. I only heard this one phrase:
“I don’t have any rights to myself any longer, God has all the rights to me.”
No rights?? I had rights! I had the right to be angry. I had the right to be sad. I had the right to want revenge. I had the right to strike back. I didn’t deserve what happened to me and they deserved to pay!
Being the good Christian girl that I was, I didn’t say what I was thinking, I simply continued to smile and listen, all the while calculating the fastest possible way to get away from her without just making a run for it in the opposite direction. I did not want to hear any more. It struck a nerve so deeply in me I couldn’t bear it.
So I left the words behind and took my anger and my pain on with me. For years. Time does not heal all wounds. I remember seeing the one who hurt me years later and the anger rose up just like the wounds had been struck the day before. How could I forgive an action that altered my life, changed my world? This person asked for my forgiveness and I wouldn’t give it. There, take that!
And I should say, I tried to leave those words behind. I couldn’t get them out of my head. It wasn’t something I thought about every day, but the Spirit of God would bring it back around at the most unexpected times.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 very plainly says “…You are not your own. You were bought with a price – purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own…”.
To live in the truth of this scripture means we must believe in His love for us. A love that is so vast, immeasurable, and unlimited that it is enough when the floods and the fire come. To believe that He is so much bigger than my understanding. God didn’t plan this pain for me, the bible says His plans for me are good. Satan is the enemy of our souls, the one who works to steal, kill, and destroy. However, God did plan to never leave me or forsake me. Remember that secret place? He also says it’s a hiding place. A refuge. A fortress. I cannot fix the broken parts of my life, but He can. Surrendered to Him, peace and rest can be found. When the pain is still new and so very raw, surrender may happen every hour, every few minutes. And peace comes again and again.
Jesus was moved with compassion towards the hurting, the sick, the grieving. He bore the depths of this pain for us on the cross so that it wouldn’t destroy us. Our pain, our tears matter to God. Psalm 56:8 says “…You put my tears into Your bottle”. And while greatly moved with love for those in need, His words were not words that fed the bruised ego, or agreed with the opportunity to complain. He spoke only words of faith – believe.
Nothing has taught me more about the heart of Father God than loving my children. I remember when I had to take my little ones to the doctor for their shots. We all knew what was coming and that it was going to hurt. I always held them on my lap and said “Look at me. Keep looking at me. It will be all right.” My part? I couldn’t make it not hurt, but I could comfort them and let them know I wasn’t leaving. I knew on the other side of the pain they would be stronger.
God is saying to those whose hearts are broken, “Look at Me. Keep looking at Me. Let go, let Me have this pain. I can heal this. I am your Comforter, your Consolation, your Healer. I will never leave you. I will be your strength. You are greatly loved. Just believe.“