Contributor to “Share YOUR Story” page | I came to personally know and actively serve the Lord as a child while still in grade school. But as an adult, even though I had become a strong Christian and leader in my church, a combination of people’s failures and actions, and hard circumstances of life, caused my Faith, trust, and belief in God to be rocked to the core. And then something snapped. I can still remember clearly when it happened. It literally felt like something snapped in me—like a spring that had been wound too tight suddenly letting go.
In addition to my faith being rocked, I had been feeling horribly hurt, betrayed and let down by God and those who claimed the name, “Christian,” and had just received word of my father’s death when it happened. I broke; immediately spiraling out of control into critical depression and hopelessness. Later I came to understand I had a major breakdown so severe it seriously impacted me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually—unable to function enough to care for my family. I experienced what it meant to be a “basket case”; I had also arrived at a life-changing crossroad.
I knew instinctively I could no longer continue on the path I was on. My hurt and pain with all things “God” went massively deep. So I was confronted with a critical choice: do I turn one way and grudgingly recommit myself to follow Christ in spite of how I felt about him and his people? Or do I turn in the opposite direction, calling it quits on God and the Church? Why not just walk away from it all, and escape the pain by putting them all behind me and just live life the best I could—wherever it took me?
Thankfully though, even though I was giving up on God, he wasn’t giving up on me.
In trying to choose which way to go, I found myself being confronted with some critical basic questions: “Did I still believe God exists?” I dug deep to be honest with myself before realizing the answer was a solid, “Yes.” Then I sensed the important question, “Then do you believe God can lie?” Again I dug deep to answer the question and soon realized I truly did believe He either could not or would not lie!
With those answers I instinctively knew the problem was with me, not God. I then took myself back to “Square One” in the Christian faith and walk. Of course I now realize it was God helping me work through all the trauma. But I didn’t know it then. I desperately needed to start over to discover who God REALLY is and what HE has promised and shown us about Himself and following Him—not cling to what I had mistakenly grown to believe, expect or imagine Him (or life) to be. I had been living with unreal expectations but didn’t know it.
Yet I still remained very angry with God and my resentment of Him was unwavering, for I felt he had deeply violated my trust. I was in turmoil. I no longer wanted to put my faith in a God I could no longer trust. Yet I also knew what the alternative meant if I did not—and I most definitely did not want that either!
One day I had reached my spiritual crisis point. I in essence yielded and cried, “Uncle” with God. And literally—through gritted teeth—told Him, “OK. (Meaning, “You win…!”) I will serve you—but only because you’re bigger than I am!” But that’s all I believe He was waiting for. God knew my heart. He knew I wasn’t being disrespectful; I was being brutally honest with myself AND Him. And that was enough for our merciful heavenly Father, for according to His Word, “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” I had just taken my first baby step of wisdom on what was to be a long road to spiritual healing, which ended up being marked in years, not weeks or months, to get there. But God faithfully in his mercy continued to work on me, guiding me to eventual wholeness.
Some time after this, while still in my healing process, I was listening to Dr. Dobson on one of his radio broadcasts, when he described the emotional trauma a person often experiences when they’ve been sexually violated—how they will often (wrongfully or rightfully) direct their anger toward the one they believe could have stopped or prevented the attack, but did not. He then went on to say, “They then have to confront those feelings of betrayal and distrust if they are to fully recover from the assault.”
His words struck like a bolt of lightening; that was exactly how I had been feeling about God! And it showed me what I had to do next. I had been directing my anger toward my Heavenly Father for I had trusted him to always protect me, but He had failed me in my greatest hour of need, and had allowed me to be “violated” by Satan—or so I had been wrongfully thinking and feeling.
That bolt of sudden realization was like an explosion that blew apart what had been keeping me in what I can only describe as a “limbo” state! Yes, my crossroads experience had got me functioning again, but only enough to help me be able to go through the motions of living, while remaining dead on the inside. Like an empty shell. But now I was at last feeling life returning. No, it wasn’t immediate. Instead it was a steady process that took a few more years. But for the first time in almost two years, I felt the joy of life beginning to trickle in to my spirit again. It was like being infused with a new kind of life too, which continues to grow even now,
“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” became full of new meaning for me that memorable day. And I marvel at where this “new life in Christ” continues to take me. I emphasize “new” for even though I was a genuine Christian, producing spiritual fruit in my life, I truly believe our loving God knew the skewed understanding I had of him, myself, and others, were so deeply embedded in me, he knew where it was leading and that it wouldn’t be good! He then had no choice. Out of love he had to take some pretty drastic measures to rid me of them. He also knew I needed to be severely pruned; not just “pruned back a little”, but be completely “cut down” to ground level, leaving nothing but a useless looking stump. Yes. I knew I was growing again, but this time growing in a healthy way, and not getting tangled up—if I could help it—in misconceptions and unreal expectations.
There is no denying that type of “pruning” seemed brutal and unnecessary at the time. But even during it I somehow had a new developing trust in him, and had just the tiniest bit of faith (he’s told us that’s all we need) that told me he was allowing it all for my future good, not to destroy me eternally. That bit of faith and knowledge is what helped carry me through it all.
Even now though, like us all, I still struggle in various ways from time to time. For life (and, yes, people too) can truly be the pits at sometimes! And we may not always understand God’s way of doing things, nor why he allows certain things to happen; but I’m truly thankful I’ve learned we can truly trust and know that through the ever-changing challenges and blessings of life, HE knows what He’s doing by allowing each of those things in our life too. I find it comforting that we can know it’s serving a divine purpose for our good. And THAT will never change.
Be assured, Jeremiah 29:11-13 is true…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I know that’s so for I’ve finally been able to anchor my life on the one who declares it’s so.
My hope and prayer is you will be able to Trust him too and do the same.