SHAKEN FAITH A Journey Back to God and Faith By Jean Tracy
Any number of things can cause a believer to question God and every thing they have believed in. Whether it is losing a spouse or a child or facing a devastating illness or being the victim of a crime, the result is often the question “Why God?” I faced one of those faith shaking events and God taught me some great lessons in my difficult journey back to faith. Let me tell you my story….
January 2008… life is good. I had been a Christian for over 20 years and God had always been there for me during those years. I was raised in a Christian environment and I had been taught that God is faithful and God proved that to me time and time again. From the time when I was in college when my relationship with Jesus became personal to me, through my years as a single adult, after I got married and moved far from home and even through my husband’s deployment to Iraq with the Navy, God was always faithful to guide and protect me and lead me in my walk with Him. I’d had the benefit of being involved in good, Christ filled, Bible believing churches with faith filled mentors, friends and teachers. Then in January of 2008, one event, one night, turned my world upside down when our house was broken into while my husband was on a business trip and I was robbed and I was raped at knife point. After over 20 years of trusting that God is faithful, in one night everything changed. God didn’t protect me. My faith was shaken to the core. For the first time in my life I felt that I could not trust God. My heart and head said. “God is not faithful”. I didn’t know if I would ever trust God again.
WARNING: THE NEXT SECTION MARKED BY ** MAY BE DIFFICULT FOR SOME TO READ
** We live on the back half of a five acre lot just outside of town surrounded by agricultural fields. Other than my in-laws who live on the front half of our property, our closest neighbors are the horses next door and the migrant workers housing across the street from our driveway entrance. My husband was on a three day business trip in mid-January. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground and ice and snow on the roof. He left on Monday morning and was due to come back on Wednesday afternoon. My husband had been in the Navy Reserves since before we were married and was in Iraq most of 2006, so I had no reservations about staying alone in my house and no reason to be afraid. It was Tuesday night and I was looking forward to my husband coming home the next day. I went to bed at about 10pm and was sound asleep when I was awakened at about one o’clock in the morning by a crashing sound. I laid in bed trying to figure out what the sound was, hoping it was just the ice and snow falling off of the roof onto the metal railing of our balcony when I heard a second and third smaller crashing sound. By the time I realized that something out of the ordinary going on I saw the light come on in the stairwell and saw a man standing in the hallway outside my bedroom door. My husband kept a loaded pistol under his side of the bed, but it and the phone were out of my reach by the time I saw the man in the hallway. My first instinct was to hide, so I got up out of bed while the man’s back was turned and ran into the closet closest to the bed. The man quickly turned around and came into the bedroom, turned on the light and found me in the closet. He asked for money in a heavy Spanish accent, it quickly became evident that he didn’t speak much English. I only know a few words of Spanish, but I was able to get the point across that the money was in the kitchen. As he grabbed me by the arm to take me downstairs, I noticed he was bleeding. I remembered from some self protection seminar I had been to at some point in the past that if you can get your attacker to see you as a real person, you might not get hurt as badly, so I tried to get him to let me bandage his hand that was bleeding. He wasn’t interested, only asked for money again. He led me down to the kitchen where I gave him all the money I had in house. ($32 was all I had in the house). He asked for more, I said one of the few Spanish phrases I know “no mas” which means “no more”. He then grabbed a knife out of the kitchen sink and came towards me and backed me into a corner in the kitchen next to the sink and started reaching towards my panties. When I resisted and started crying and said no he grabbed a butter knife out of the sink and reached for me again. I started backing away, trying to push him away and said no, please no repeatedly. He got frustrated and slapped me across the face three times, almost knocking to the floor. At this point I knew if I did not give in I would get badly hurt. He led me to a lounge chair in the living room where he removed my clothing and started raping me. Now, as I said earlier, I live somewhat out in the country. The people that own the field behind our house had been burning some trash earlier in the week and there was still some smoke in the air. The man had broken a window at the back of the house to get in. The smoke from the field behind the house had come in through the window and set of the smoke alarm. The alarm went off while he was raping me in the living room. When the smoke alarm went off he appeared to get frightened, he led me by the arm through the house, retracing his steps turning off the lights in the rooms and hallways he had been in. When we got upstairs again he laid me on the bed and began again, but the alarm was still on and he was still seemed frightened of it. He grabbed me by the arm again and it appeared he was going to take me outside. Now, it was January and there was snow on the ground and I had no clothes on, so that thought really scared me. I showed him the smoke alarm on the ceiling as he took me down the stairs again and he seemed to understand that that is where the noise was coming from and seemed to calm down a bit. He then took me back to the living room and later to the kitchen and repeatedly raped, periodically reminding that he still had the knife. He kept speaking to me in Spanish, I am glad I did not understand what he was saying. When he was finished he led me back upstairs and then I heard him leave through the front door. When I heard the door close I sat down beside the bed, took the gun out and called my mother and father-in-law who live in front of us. My father-in-law came over with his rifle while I waited for the police to come. The next part of the story is a bit of a blur as my in-laws and the police took over. They took me to the hospital where they did the required exam and evidence gathering. I am fortunate in the fact that it was winter time and the police were able to track the rapist’s tracks through the snow. By the time I got back from the hospital several hours later. The police had the man in custody. He was staying in the migrant worker’s housing across the street from my driveway. At this point my in-laws took over until my husband came back in town. I am very fortunate that they lived so close and were available to help me. They let us stay with them until I was able to go to my house again. They called my boss at work. They also called the house insurance company and arranged for a cleaning company to clean the house. (Remember, the man cut his hand when he broke the window and his blood was spread all over my house, on the walls, the carpet, the furniture… so much of my house was ruined). My husband was not home and he knew nothing of what had happened. He was due to arrive home at a time when I normally would be at work. The last thing I wanted was for him to walk into the house and see blood everywhere. With my not being at home, I can only imagine how scared he would be at that. Fortunately, the cleaning company had all the blood cleaned up before he came home. **
I don’t remember the first few days after it happened. I do know that my husband was very supportive and did not leave my side for the first 4-5 days. The only thing I remember is wanting to get back to normal as soon as possible. We told very few people. Initially, I did not even tell my parents. They live several states away and I knew how difficult it would be for them, and I didn’t want them to worry. Eventually they did find out, along with the rest of my family also. I went back to work 6 days later.
I didn’t know what to expect as far as the emotions and issues I would be facing. I wanted a quick fix, an outline of what to expect and how to fix the issues and problems, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Everyone is different. There are the basic emotions that almost every rape victim will deal with, but there is no timeline or easy fix. A lot of my issues (such as the anger) didn’t surface until several months later. I think the human brain compartmentalizes issues. Your brain puts up walls around certain issues and emotions until you are more able to deal with them. As you deal with one issue or emotion or as you get a little stronger emotionally then the walls will come down around another issue that you must deal with also and it can take months or even years in some cases to deal with all the issues and emotions that a rape causes.
Everyone told me how great I was doing, but I think at first I was just going through the motions. I had trouble sleeping. My doctor had given me some anxiety and sleeping pills that I had to take for the first few months. We stayed at my husband’s parent’s house for a month before I was able to go home again. Every noise at night scared me… the cat would jump up on the bed and I would start shaking uncontrollably. I would have nightmares. I was scared to be alone. I couldn’t lie down in bed facing the door because I would see him in my mind standing in the hallway when I looked at the door. There were times when I would wake up scared in the night and I would have to sit up and hug a pillow or a teddy bear and rock myself back to sleep again. I was fuzzy and unfocused at work. A man walked in the store that I work in who was about the same size and build as my rapist and I could not breathe.
From the beginning I think the spiritual issues were what bothered me the deepest in my soul though. While I was being raped, I was praying the whole time that it would stop, that God would rescue me, but He didn’t. The rape continued on and on despite my prayers. My first instinct was to withdraw into myself. I could not pray or cry out to God like I normally would. I did not feel that I could trust God anymore. I took my name off of the “Prayer Chain” at church because I did not believe in prayer anymore. My thought was “God is going to do what He is going to do anyway, so why should I pray, He doesn’t answer.” I felt more alone than I had ever felt because I had closed myself off from the God who had been my lifeline and guide for over 20 years. I couldn’t understand how God could allow this to happen to one of His children. It was a month before I was able to step foot in church again. Even when we did go back to church I was withdrawn from it. I would cry during the song service. All the songs talked of God’s character, of His goodness and faithfulness and mercy, and I just didn’t believe those things at the time. A friend of mine sent me a verse in Deuteronomy, (Deuteronomy 33:27a - “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…”) and my Mom prayed Psalm 147:3 for me (Psalm 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”). While my head acknowledged the truth in those verses, my heart and soul could not believe them. I couldn’t find any book or resource on rape written from a Christian perspective that was able to help me deal with these spiritual questions. I talked to different counselors and had my pastor pray for me, but initially I was withdrawn from God. After about six months I was ready to listen to God again and begin accepting His Word and His healing because I did miss the close relationship I had with Jesus. I just couldn’t figure out how to get past my questions and doubts, and I was seeking answers to some very real and deep questions: How can I trust God when He didn’t answer my prayer when I needed Him most? Luke 11:9 says that if we ask, then it will be given to us. Well God, I called on you and you did not answer. Why didn’t I hear His voice or feel His presence in my darkest hour? Why did God allow this? Did this happen as a consequence of some sin that I had committed? Was this somehow a form of discipline that God was using to teach me something? Or, did this happen just because there is evil in the world? If it happened just because there is evil in the world, then why does God not protect his children better from that evil?
Eventually I started reading through the New Testament and the pastor’s wife and I started a one-on-one bible study. What follows are some of the answers God gave me. Let me assure you, if you are dealing with some similar questions that if you honestly seek God and search His Word He will answer you. I didn’t know how to seek God after my rape so I sought help. For me the help I needed came through my pastor’s wife. For others this help comes through Christian counselors or trusted friends or family members or Christian mentors. Wherever you might seek help from, the key to finding strength and peace is spending time in The Word. Remember that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17) If you are going through something similar I encourage you to find someone to pray with you and for you and to lead you through God’s Word.
Jesus talks in the New Testament about His kingdom. The Jews of the time expected the Messiah to come back and set up a literal kingdom here on earth, to overthrow the government that was oppressing them and set up His own literal earthly kingdom. But Jesus spoke of His kingdom being in the spiritual realm. Paul says we are to be in the world but not of it. I have come to believe that a lot of the scriptures I had claimed in the past were claimed in the wrong spirit. For example, Luke 11:9 says, “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” But read on to Luke 11:13 (which is the conclusion to the train of thought that Jesus was on when he spoke verse 9). It says, “…how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”. It seems to me that taken in context, God is promising to give his Holy Spirit to those who ask, seek and knock in verse 9, and with the Holy Spirit comes God’s answers in God’s way and also comfort and peace Also, Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe”. I had always believed that meant literal, physical safety. Obviously I was wrong in that interpretation. The bible says in many places that His people will encounter trouble. Read Matthew 10. Stephen and most of Jesus’ disciples were killed. Paul encountered many, many difficulties along his journey. Even in Psalm 23, God did not promise to keep His children out of the valley of death, only to be with them through it. Isaiah 43:2 also says “WHEN you pass through the waters they will not overtake you… WHEN you walk the fire you will not be burned”. Those are WHEN’s not IF’s. The New Testament tells how all God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus. It tells how Jesus is our everything. In Jesus we have eternal safety and security. Our hope is Heaven and our future is eternal life. I think that this is the safety to which Proverbs 18:10 refers.
In my studying and seeking I had to come to a point where I gave my desire for vengeance and my anger to God. I had to lay it at the altar and trust my Christ with my healing and to give justice to my rapist. Hebrews 10:30 says, “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people’” Habakkuk 2: 16-17 tells what will happen to those who have taken advantage of Israel and others in order to satisfy their own sensual desires. It says, “You are filled with disgrace rather than honor. Now you yourself drink and expose you own nakedness. The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory. For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and the devastation of its beasts by which you terrified them.” When my desire for justice (and frustration with the justice system) surfaced, I prayed that God will lead my rapist to experience deep shame and disgrace for what he has done and for him to be overwhelmed in his soul with the weight of the violence he inflicted upon me.
God lead me to realize that I needed to focus my thoughts on things above, that somehow I needed to look at events within the spiritual realm and from His point of view. Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”. One of the bible stories that I relate to most is the story of Joseph. What happened to him was the result of nothing more than pure meanness and jealousy. He was hated, betrayed, almost killed and sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was then wrongly imprisoned in a foreign country for over two years Through God’s plan though, he was able to gain the trust of the Pharaoh and eventually be used to help save Egypt, the surrounding countries and more specifically his own family from a worldwide famine. He was able to forgive his brothers and in the end was able to say to them “But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20) That verse became one of my lifelines. If Joseph could look at the events in his life from this perspective, so could I. This life is not about me and my comfort; it is about God and His kingdom and His glory.
From God’s point of view, there is a purpose in what happened to me also. Many people know Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” But we often forget to read verses 29-30 along with it. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image if His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; who He called, the He also justified; and who He justified, these He also glorified” While I might not like it, or understand it, God is using my rape to conform me to His image and wants to use it to bring more people to Him. That is the spiritual point of view.
I studied about God’s sovereignty, which basically means that God knows all and is in control of all, that He alone is God. Isaiah 14:24, 27, Daniel 4:35, Psalm 139:16, Job 12:9, and Matthew 10: 29-30 all speak of God knowing all things, being in control of all things. It seems that it should be a comfort to a Christian to hear and read about how God is in control, but at first these verses only seemed to confuse me more. God is in control, He allowed this to happen, He could have stopped this but didn’t. I cried out to God. “You knew this would happen to me before I even was formed in my mother’s womb? Why did You allow it? How come You didn’t stop it or warn me or prepare me somehow?” Once again, I needed to look at this from God’s point of view. He is God. Job questioned God’s choices too. God’s answer to him in Job chapters 38 through 41 is basically “I am God” and you can’t understand my ways, you just have to trust me. I, like Job, had to confess that I am not god and I don’t see things from his perspective. I don’t see the future and the whole story. Like Habakkuk in his book chapter 3, verses 17 – 19, I have to just say “Yet I rejoice in the Lord… The Lord God is my strength”. Isn’t that what faith is all about… trusting God even though we don’t understand? My favorite picture of faith is in the movie “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”, where Indy is following his father’s notes through a cave to get to the Holy Grail. He gets to a cliff and has to step out in faith over the cliff, into the ravine. The instant he takes one step into that ravine, a rock bridge “miraculously” appears underneath his feet. It seemed to me that God was on the other side of a big ravine after the rape and I couldn’t figure out how to get back to Him. I just needed to step out into that ravine and let the hands of Jesus, my Rock, be my bridge back to God. Kay Arthur in her Bible Study Book "Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen" defines faith as “believing all that He says whether you understand it or not, whether you can explain it or not.” I read a story once about a man and his wife who lost two of their babies to a genetic disorder and they said that those losses shook them to their core and that they had many questions. But, they made a conscious choice to praise God in the midst of the storm. That is faith… choosing each minute to believe God even when your flesh can’t understand, choosing to sing the praise songs, by faith believing the words are true, even when your mind and the world tell you it’s not true. That is when the peace of God that surpasses all understanding calms your heart and mind.
I couldn’t summarize this any better than Kay Arthur does in "Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen". “What will you do when life is difficult to understand? When doubt pounds on the door of your mind calling you a fool for not letting him in? When believing God seems insane? When human reasoning lays before you the rational choices of the majority of thinking men and women? Will you follow the logical choices of man, or will you seek your God in prayer, waiting to see what He will say? And when His answer comes, will you cling to His Word in faith? When things become difficult, even unbearable, will you change your mood with the tide of circumstances, or will you rejoice in the God of your salvation? In the trial of your faith, will you turn to the arm of flesh, or will you allow God to be your strength? Will you stumble in the darkness of your own reasoning and in the logic of the blind leading the blind, or will you let God help you walk above the difficulties of life? …Every difficulty is a test – a test to see whether you will believe God, a trial to drive you into His arms and His promises, where you find Him all-sufficient.”
I also had many doubts about praying. If God is sovereign then why pray if God is going to do whatever he wants anyway? For a long time this was my belief. I finally came to believe that God is good and His plans are for my good, to conform me to His image, but I didn’t believe in praying. God eventually changed my heart in this challenge also. God says that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. (James 5:16). The Bible also says that not praying for others is a sin against God (I Samuel 12:23). It defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. In Romans 11:33-36 the Bible says that God’s ways are beyond our knowing or understanding and that “of Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things”. I remember one time while I was struggling to believe God again and to believe that He not only hears our prayers but will answer them too, that I cried out to God and said ”if You want me to believe you again, You are going to have to prove yourself to me”. God answered back almost immediately and said “I don’t have to prove anything to you. I’ve already given my all for you; you just need to trust Me anyway”. Once again He is God and I am not. It’s not all about me, it’s about God and how He is going to be glorified. He doesn’t owe us any evidence or proof... that is what faith is. We must have faith that He is wise and good and that He knows best. We need to pray with the mind of Christ (I Cor 2:16) and in the Spirit of God and in His Name (which means according to His character). When we pray in Jesus’ name it means that we pray a prayer that Jesus himself could honestly pray. When we do this we can have confidence that He hears us and will answer us (Matt 21:22) and that the answer we receive is according to His will, even if it is not what we wanted to hear.
Don’t get me wrong, these were not easy lessons to learn. It took a long time and many tears to give up my doubts and fears and to allow myself to trust Him again. I didn’t always live and walk by faith and I’m not always able to view things from God’s point of view. There were many days when I couldn't pray, when I didn’t trust God, when I focused on the events that transpired and not on God. It was very, very difficult and it is something that I think Satan will always use to try and bring me down. Don’t condemn yourself if you have gone through something similar and are still struggling.
One of the most lingering issues that I had to deal with was fear. For the first three years after it happened it was beyond terrifying for me to stay in my house by myself when my husband was gone on a trip. I had a hard time sleeping and every noise set off a panic attack. I had the church elders come over and pray over the house and me. I also searched the Word, and God showed me some verses to use in my arsenal during the times of spiritual battle when fear overtook me. Fear is not from God and when fear grips my mind and heart I have to refocus my thoughts on faith instead of the fear. I still hate staying at my house by myself at night, but God has delivered me from the deep, dark pit of fear that held me in its grip. I remember hearing Wendy Blight (author of “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner”) speak on a radio show about her victory over fear and realizing for the first time that God could deliver me from the fear altogether and not just help me to live with it and through it. God also showed me through Beth Moore’s “Daniel” bible study series that fear had become my bondage and that to me it had become bigger and stronger than God. I had been bowing down to it. Beth Moore said in that study, that when we think “He’s not coming through for me” that is the same as bowing down. As with Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego I need to stand up to the “god” of fear in faith, believing and claiming that “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…and He will deliver us.” (Daniel 3:17) God told me that when He gives me deliverance from my bondage to fear, after the bonds had been burned away by the trial, I would emerge on the other side and the smell of the fire will not be on me – there would be no bitterness, no whining, no reliving of the event and people will look at my life and say “I never would have known you went through that”. I had to continually claim deliverance and victory with certainty that since God has been faithful to heal me from every wound that was left that He would give victory in this area also. I can now honestly say that God has granted that victory. He taught me that even if my worst fear were to happen, even if the same thing were to happen again that God is still God, He is still good, He is still sovereign, He is still faithful and He will be with me and teach me and use me through everything. When Satan comes knocking and tries to bring the fear back, I have to remind myself that God is still in control no matter what happens. I find that during those times of temptation that singing praise songs and quoting scripture to myself helps to keep Satan from bring the issue back also. There are many times in the bible where we are commanded to “Fear Not”. (I heard someone say once that there are 365 “fear nots” in the bible, one for each day of the year.) I cannot keep that command (or any other command for that matter) in my own strength. I have to pray the resurrection power of God through Christ to give power to continually overcome the bondage that fear had over me.
II Timothy 1:7 says “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self control”
Philippians 4:8 says “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, thing about such things”
Isaiah 43:1-3a “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name, you are mine. When you pass through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Psalm 56: 3-4 “When I am afraid I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust: I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Isaiah 30:19 “O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of god, which surpassed all understanding, will guard your hears and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Forgiveness is also a tough issue I had to deal with. God gave me the realization that Jesus died for my rapist also. I am a sinner saved by grace, I am not perfect. Jesus died for me and him alike. I have to admit that I was VERY resistant to this thought at first. I was angry realizing that God could have mercy on him. In my eyes, he did and does not deserve mercy from anyone. I remember crying out to God about this issue and screaming to God that this man does not deserve Your forgiveness and God gently answered back and said “Neither do you” This is another one of those ways of needing to look at this in the spiritual realm. We are commanded to pray for our enemies in Matthew 5:22, 25, and 38-48. So, I do pray for the man who attacked me. I want him to be overwhelmed in his soul with the weight of the violence he inflicted on me, but when that weight becomes too much to bear, I want him to find Jesus waiting there for him Matthew 6:14-15 and Ephesians 4: 31-32 and Colossians 3:13 say that I need to forgive him. I can’t deny my anger or hold it inside, that just leads depression and despair. But I do need to confess it to God and let Jesus’ power and strength take over this issue. I knew from early on that my relationship with the Lord was not going to be totally restored until I forgave him. It took me long time to learn what forgiveness is and is not. Robert Jeffress says in his book “When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense” that when we forgive: 1. We acknowledge a wrong has occurred. 2. We recognize that the wrong has created an obligation for repayment. 3. We choose to release our offender from that obligation and to cover the loss ourselves. Forgiveness is NOT being able to look at him and say “its okay”, because what he did is not and never will be okay, and it does not mean that I have to just forget about what happened either. It is not letting him totally off the hook and allowing him a place in my life again. What I learned about forgiveness is that it is the process of letting go of the hold that he has on my life. When I don’t forgive him, he still is there in my mind and thoughts and life. Forgiveness to me was letting go of the bitterness and anger and the hold he still had on me and giving those feelings to God and letting go of my desire for justice and revenge and leaving those things to God as well. True forgiveness also cannot be given unless you have received the ultimate forgiveness that God has given through the sacrifice of His Son. As God granted me forgiveness and released me from my bondage to sin, so I must as a child of God in order to be obedient to His Word also grant forgiveness and have that bondage released also. These things (realizing Christ died for him too, praying for him and forgiving him) are not things that I can do in my own power, I have to continually confess my inability to do so and let the truth and power of Jesus deal with them in my heart. I have given up my own control of this issue more that once. For years I would give it to God and take it back almost on a daily basis. Satan wants me to harbor the bitterness and keep the control myself because when I have my eyes on wanting revenge and justice I am not looking at God and trusting God.
I may never have a true understanding of the ever present “Why?” this side of heaven. I still don’t know why God chooses to deliver some of His children from evil, but allows others to go through it. I just have to trust God and realize that He was with me that night. He kept me alive. I just have to wait for God’s plan to be played out and keep my eyes on Him. I think Jesus summed it up pretty well in John 16:33-“These things I have spoken to you that you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
I like this peom. “My life if but a weaving between my Lord and me, I cannot choose the colors He worketh steadily. Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride forget He sees the upper and I, the underside. Not ‘till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why. The dark threads are as needful in the weaver’s skillful hand as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.” -author unknown
God used this to take me back to the basics and show me that this life, my life, my faith is all about Him, trusting that because He loves me He always hold me in His hand. He always holds, loves and guides us through whatever we face in this life. Remember these principles, believe them, live them, keep His word and His love as your foundation, remember that this life is all about Him and then when the rain comes you will not fall because you are founded on the Rock. Remember that God IS faithful ALL the time. He will never abandon His children. No matter what road He takes you down, that road will result in His being glorified and our being conformed more into His image.
(Scripture references taken from New King James Version*)
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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