Once you’ve seen that God is over every parental (and general) suffering in your life, how do you get past that? How do you reconcile His goodness with all the times that He allowed a lightning jab to your kidneys? For me, the answer was two-fold: choice and a new perspective.
At the end of every heartbroken encounter with God, I had to choose to accept what He’d allowed and to believe that He was good – or NOT. Always, I have the choice. And always, I must make it to go any further. Do I believe that God is good even though all evidence says otherwise right now? Will I let go of the hurt He allowed and accept the parents and the life He gave me? To say no is to get off the train.
And here’s the thing: I DID say no. Often. This one choice would torment me for days while I accused God and told Him that I wasn’t budging this time. I was mad as hell, and for a short time, that anger felt pretty good. But it never lasted, and fighting God is exhausting because, well, you’re fighting GOD. So eventually I’d end up on my face saying, “I give up! You win. You are God and You are good and You don’t have to tell me why You did what You did.” Funny thing about God, when He has your total surrender, He begins to show you things that you never saw before. Maybe that’s one of the rewards of surrender, I don’t know.
The things that the Lord showed me tended to shift my views – my very memories – of circumstances and events. Here’s an example. I was working through some hurt and resentment I had toward my dad, and I went to talk to Martha about it. I was feeling especially sorry for myself over this one. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling any other way than I did about it; I was the victim of true injustice, people!
So I told Martha about it. She said that this was a legitimate wound and that the hurt was very real. Then she began to explain what children do with these hurts. They either receive them and let it break them, or they fight to survive. And there are only two sources a child can turn to: God or Satan. Either we let God defend us, or we try to defeat evil with even greater evil. It’s just what we do.
I knew which route I’d chosen, but I didn’t yet understand what that meant. Until Martha gently but firmly said, “You do know that you’re worse than your father, right?” Talk about a game-changer! No, I really didn’t. My whole world flipped upside down. Everything that I thought I knew about myself was absolutely wrong. That question is the most powerful example of God’s merciful correction that I’ve ever received, because it was a living Word that separated joints and marrow (Heb. 4:12).
I began to see myself in a whole new way, and this changed my perspective on my parents as well. Suddenly I couldn’t afford to constantly focus on my own hurt. The questions became, “What have I done? Who have I trampled? How have I hurt others?”
It was a blessing of reality to have my sufferings put into perspective so starkly. Forgiveness became a real need, and not some sort of “generous gift” bestowed on all the Big Bads who hurt me. God did what was necessary to create a crisis of faith in my own “superior” understanding of life and everything in it. And it was a crisis!
A terrifying question presented itself and simply wouldn’t leave me alone: “What if God is good AND RIGHT?” Ruh roh, Scooby!