The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV
As a victim of spiritual abuse, I have learned so much in the past year about predators, their prey, and how our vulnerability to people whose motives are selfish can lead to much sin and despair. Sometimes when I think about how I was taken advantage of I get really angry. Sometimes I want to find my former pastor and scream at him for leading me down such a terrible path. I have no doubt God was angered over the injustice of a man He’d placed in a position to oversee His flock. I have no doubt that the grievous sins committed in His name will be made right. For God is a just God.
But God is also a merciful God. Thank God. And a loving heavenly Father who offered me good gifts that I turned away from, because I did not trust Him. His gifts could not be clearly seen. It was beyond my control when I would receive them, and I got impatient and afraid. I allowed shame to rule in my heart and doubted His everlasting love for me. I traded in the real treasure of my unseen hope for a fake glittering cubic zirconia set in a metal that would fade and rust over time. I ran away from His castle to wind up in the pig pen desiring the world’s empty pleasures.
I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse and I have many reasons for choosing the wrong path. I’d like to make them excuses freeing me from any blame, but I can’t. My mind was overwhelmed by confusion, dissociation, and PTSD at times. But sometimes I felt sane. But all of the time the biggest problem I had was that the hole in my heart was a large vacuum desperate to be filled with something more than the shame and guilt I felt about who I was. I longed to know that someone was proud of me, that someone loved and accepted everything about me…the good, the bad and the ugly, not just the things I was doing right. I longed to be free from my self contempt.
Scripture teaches over and over again about God’s love for us. How He loved us so much that He died a horrible death to save us. The Bible says it actually pleased God to harm His own Son, because He knew we’d be saved from ourselves, from our own self-sufficiency, and control. I knew these truths before I followed my pastor the wrong way.
The truth of the matter is, I didn’t trust that God’s way was best. I was angry with God for allowing the abuse to happen to me as a child, angry I didn’t have the life and family that every child longs to have, and angry that I felt little pleasure in my life. God had spoken to my heart a few times and assured me of the good work He was doing in my life, but I got tired of waiting. And I decided to do things my own way.
When I went to my former pastor for help, it was because I wanted to hear from God. I was tired of the chaos and the confusion I was feeling. I wanted assurance that God was going to do good in my life. He had every opportunity to point me to God, to pray with me, and not allow me to become dependent on him. But he chose not to do this. And I chose to take a bite of the poisonous fruit he offered.
But thank God for His sovereignty over every aspect of our lives. He’s truly been working in what the enemy meant for evil and bringing about good. Next month I have an opportunity to share with a group of seminary students my story. A story that hopefully others can learn from and be helped by. A story of redemption pointing to the goodness, grace and glory of a very wise heavenly Father Whose ways are beyond our understanding, but will will always bear the fruit of His goodness in our lives.
I wish I’d have waited on Him and done things His way. I wish I’d have trusted that when He says don’t go a certain way that it’s to keep us from pain, not to withhold good from us. But I didn’t.
But thank God for Jesus who covers all of our sins and declares us new and clean and whole and no longer put to shame. We are still His bride even when we’ve played the harlot in the pig pen of the world. He has cleaned us with His blood and dressed us in the finest linens and is not ashamed to call us His very own.
The end of the matter is trusting in God and His way is the only way to real goodness and hope. It’s everything that matters in this life and the next. He knows it and He doesn’t stop pursuing us until we know it, too.
His love never fails…
Your Love Never Fails