Monday, January 15, 2007

Hurt & Hope

When I anwsered the phone I knew it was going to be a long conversation. He said, "Don, I have to tell my wife the worst news I've ever had to say. I have been unfaithful. Do you think we have a chance?"

Then an e-mail from someone else, "How can I ever trust God again. My best years were stolen from me by a man who lied to me. Can I ever recover from this betrayal?"

Then a personal conversation, "My dad left my ,mom when I was growing up and my mom was so needy she had nothing to give. Now I'm married and I feel like a shell of a man. Can I ever recover from my childhood?

Over the last several weeks I have had a dozen or so tough conversations with people looking for answers. Many of these conversations were the result of deep hurt in their life from other people.

Adultery, abuse, dishonesty and rejection just to name a few. Husbands hurt their wives and wives hurt husbands, parents hurt their children and children hurt their parents. People hurt people.

The toughest question I 've been asked, and asked myself, is, "Why did this happen to me?" The truth is there usually isn't a good answer to that question and frequently there is no answer at all.

I believe in a loving, benevolent, all powerful God, who could prevent all pain, abuse and hurt, but he doesn't, atleast not here on earth. I don't know why, but He doesn't. Instead, He chooses to join us in our pain.

I have been thinking about Job's comment in the Bible, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him . . ." (Job 13:15). Job handled hurt, and false accusataions from friends, and a wife that deserted him, and the loss of his health, and the death of his children and the complete loss of his business. This man knew a little something about pain.

He knew God could have prevented all this loss, and instead God not only allowed it, He incited it. What's up with that?

Somehow Job knew that through the middle of the pain, God was his source of hope. Satan hoped that the pain he inflicted would cause Job to curse God and turn, but instead Job chose to draw closer to God as his source of hope.

There are so many questions that remain unaswered. Job must have had them too, but somehow, in the middle of the deepest pain of his life, He was able to turn to God and declare, even if He takes my life, I will still keep my hope in Him. WOW! Where does that kind of faith come from.

I wish I had a clever formula to share with you about how to overcome hurt, but I don't. I could tell you to tie a knot and hang on when you reach the end of your rope, but we all know platitudes have no sustaining power.

I guess the greatest power point in the story of Job is that it is possible to find hope in the middle of hurt. Just knowing hope is possible gives hope. The fact that Job was willing to declare that even if God took his life, there was no other place to go for hope, talks about how deep Job's relationship with God was.

I guess it all boils to down to a choice. Job could have chosen hurt and given in to bitterness and the poison it brings, but instead he chose hope. At the end of the story, Job is blessed and everything he lost is returned to him and he lives to be an old man. Remarkably, God never answers the "why" question about Job's loss and pain. He doesn't have too. He is God,

At this point, Job now knows and understands why he went through what he went through. Job has no more questions. It all makes sense to him now. Job now lives in a world without pain and loss. Someday you will too. Someday you will have all the answers that elude you now, and so will I.

Until then, we have the opportunity to respond or react to hurt and pain in our lives. What is it about properly responding to hurt, and looking to God for hope, that prepares us for God's blessings in the future?


Anonymous cheryl zorko said...

I've felt like I've been a "Job" at times but in reality haven't even come close. I'm so thankful for HOPE. God has been faithful and always will be. Good word. Thanks for sharing.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous John Taylor said...

Don; One of the best dialogues I have heard/read on this subject. Bad things do happen to both good and not so good people. Very nicely done. I am recommneding that others read this.

John T.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous LC said...

Being the example spoken of in the article is not the esteemed place in literature that I pictured myself. In fact if you had told me that I was going to be unfaithful to my wife I would have said: "Absolutely no way !". I love this woman with all my heart and the thought has never crossed my mind. It still amazes and scares me when I recall the subtle and seemingly innocent events that led to the "crossing". I choose the word crossing because that is really what it was. I was at a point where I had to make a conscious decision to move to a place I had never been. I began the walk across the bridge slowly, justifying each small step along the way until before I realized it I was on the other side still rationalizing, justifying, and not wanting to look back because the place where I was provided a refuge (I thought) from the problems and reality of life.

What is the most amazing thing about this transgression is the fact that my wife has totally forgiven me. I can't describe the feeling resulting from that. MAT 6:14. I keep thinking, if she can forgive me this readily how much quicker can my heavenly father forgive me.
Truly- Thanks be to a glorious and just God who by all earthly accounts cannot be understood even in His most loving ways. We cannot comprehend what awaits us but we can surely get excited about it !

6:22 AM  

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