Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taking Comfort in Betrayal and Dying to Self

There is so much that can be said on the subject of pain, betrayal, and wounds that come our way, especially from a fellow Christian. Sometimes, I allow old hurts to affect my relationship with God, because the twin sins of self-pity and unforgiveness get in the way. We know that true humility means no thought of self; all in our lives is to be only for God's glory....which is easy enough when things are going great.

Why do problems with a stubborn child sap my spiritual strength?

Why is it so hard to forgive wounds inflicted in childhood, from non-Christian and unrepentant parents?

Why is it that my husband has yelled at me more frequently since starting "The Exemplary Husband" Bible study than ever before?

Why do I feel guilty even trying to talk to God about these burdens?

God's main concern for us is that we be conformed more closely to the image of Christ, not that we experience temporal happiness or have an easy life. The joy He offers through obedience is so much more than that, but it is so incredibly difficult to see when we're in the valley and just want to cry "fix it!"

Sheila Walsh writes,

"We always feel more comfortable believing that pain comes only from the hand of an enemy. It makes sense because it's what we would expect from an enemy. When a friend, particularly another Christian, inflicts pain, we feel as if we have been stabbed in the back, and it has pierced our hearts. But to take it further than that, to suggest that God Himself, our loving Father, our first and last defense against the world, could be the One Who allowed it and will use it to make us the women that we want to be? That is hard for us to welcome, but I do believe that God loves us so much that He wants us to be free from feeling like victims in this world and offer all of our lives, the joy and the pain, to Him.

I don't mean to make light of your pain or the betrayal you have suffered, but if for a moment you could take your eyes off the one whom you believe put you in this place and receive it as an opportunity to let God work in the deepest place of your heart, it will free you. One thief continued to curse, but the man who saw Christ told him to be quiet. He understood the bigger picture.

The mark of a true crucifixion is that it is never mentioned again. Gene Edwards points out that after the Resurrection, Christ never referred to the cross or the pain again. There were no words of vengeance, no regret, or no cutting words - just life, forgiveness, and love. Crucifixion is God's invitation to resurrection, to a new life where the old is dead and buried.

After His resurrection, Jesus never said to Peter, "I told you that you'd denyt Me!"

He never said to the disciples, "So where were you while I was dying?"

Jesus never sought out the soldier who drove the sword into His side or Pilate or any of the players on the stage of His death.

Thy will be done!

Your heart may be broken and your hands nail pierced, but will you bow down and worship and say, "Father, I welcome this crucifixion so that I might share in your resurrection"?

-- Sheila Walsh, "The Heartache No One Sees", pp. 165; 167.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

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