Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: QUESTION (S) (05/30/19)
- TITLE: How Long?
By Lori Othouse
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The question screamed through her mind as it had a thousand times before.
“You know how wrong this is. You know how much I’m hurting. How long will you let this go on?”
The situation was ongoing for over ten years now. It was the kind of abuse that no one saw. The kind that she was ashamed to admit. The kind she was afraid no one would believe. It was sometimes hard to believe herself – the screaming, the insults, the anger, the sarcasm, the blaming. There were good days and good moods, but things could change at any moment. Having learned to not let her guard down, she constantly tiptoed on egg shells, trying to keep some semblance of peace.
That was at home. In public, it was the complete opposite. All the right things were said and done. She smiled and laughed, answered “good” to every “How are you?” and seemed entirely happy. But she felt like a phony, like she was leading a double life. She had become very good at playing the part, too good, and she now longed for even a fraction of the happiness that she portrayed to others.
It was the aftermath of another meltdown. On Sunday, of all days. There was so little left in her to try to fight back and she had let the anger flow over and through her, battering her heart as it went. The words were so hard to forgive and impossible to forget. It was starting to affect her children now, too, burning her soul with a whole new level of pain.
Clutching her tear-stained Bible, she cried out for what seemed like the millionth time. She had stopped asking “why?” a long time ago and now only wanted to know, “how long?” Would she ever be pardoned from this life sentence?
The answer came in the form of more questions as a still, small voice began to speak.
“My precious one, don’t you know by now how much I love you? Do you not remember the times I’ve given you all that you need? The times I’ve provided and protected?
Yes, I know you’re hurting. And because you’re my child, when you hurt…I hurt. I long for you to be happy and content and at peace. But all of those things are not found in your circumstances. They are found in Me.
The world you live in is badly broken. It is unpredictable and changing. But I am not. The comfort you desire is fleeting, at best, when you seek it from those around you.
The free will that I’ve given My creation allows some to make bad choices, do wrong things and hurt others. Even those that say they love Me. Know that they will, indeed, reap what they sow. But their actions don't change who I am or how much I love and care for you. I am always here. I will never, ever leave you.
And, remember, My ways are higher than yours. I work in ways that you cannot see or understand. Don’t become fixated on what you think is the answer. There is so much more and I will show you…if you trust Me. I never asked you to do this by yourself and I never will. Why do you try? How long will you carry this burden, before giving it to Me and trusting Me to work it out for your good?
How long, child? How long?”
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