2 Timothy 4:16-17
“At my first defense no one appeared in my support; instead they all deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. 17 But the LORD stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed for all the gentiles to hear. And so I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”
“No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants–I will vindicate them,” says the LORD.”
“You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”
Today’s blog is one that brings me some pain to think upon. Even though I stand on the other side of great angst and suffering and have seen God’s amazing deliverance, reflecting on the horror of being dragged to court relentlessly is something I would rather not do. Guess there is still some need for healing there. But in my heart, I am driven by a passion that maybe these words today might offer up some hope to someone in a similar circumstance, or bring healing and confidence that God is indeed our Savior and will never fail us in our time of need. So may this blog be an offering to my God and a healing balm to those who need it.
The pain of being falsely accused and the terror of my children being harmed is still very real to me. The truth did not seem to matter and twisted words seared my soul. Disbelief that one who once was my partner would manipulate and cajole to get his way still is difficult to fathom. Betrayal by one who professed to be a believer. How? Why? Where was God in all of this? Right by my side. How could He allow even a moment of this horror into my life? Why would He allow the innocent to be condemned in place of the guilty? So many questions, terror on every side, and yet my soul still hoped in God. It seemed that the court system was in favor of the violator, but I knew God’s word was true and every man a liar. Perplexed and crushed, but not destroyed.
Joseph probably wondered how God was going to achieve the promise and prophesy etched in his mind, yet he, too, trusted in God’s sovereignty. At times when it seems all of life is against you and friends dissipate to avoid your drama, it feels like your life will be ruined forever. But God. He is using even the hideous things that we want to avoid to both bring Him glory and to transform our character. Why must such a painful tool be used? Sometimes we cannot be truly changed with gentle persuasion. A harsher tool can accomplish beautiful things despite the potential harm it seemingly brings. More importantly, Why is it painful?
No one would say it was a pleasurable experience to discover betrayal and then have the tables turned on you, but why? Because at the very heart of that experience is the death of what we knew. The death of comfort, too. Innocence is gone and replaced with disillusionment, heartache and shock. Not pleasurable feelings or emotions at all. Our very nature craves pleasure and peace. But can the soul be steadied and at rest when all around it is turbulence and pain? Yes. The amazing revelation that pleasure and comfort are not to be worshiped, not to be pursued as an end in and of themselves is liberation. The lesson is not that we want to become a masochist and crave discomfort, but that we learn to be content and wade out the storm in Christ. Bathing in His word and looking to Him for deliverance, we discover that our goal was never supposed to be the American dream or our definition of utopia, but obedience and glory for Christ through our lives.
Perhaps a painful trial delivered us from clinging to a person or a circumstance instead of to Christ, as our salvation. Or maybe it opened up our eyes to see the pain all around us that before we had thought of as things “that happened to other people”. Ironically, the hated scorn and stigma in our lives can become the very thing the LORD wants to use in our lives to bring others as well as ourselves closer to Him. It still hurts to recall the former suffering, but I can now see what beauty it has formed in my life and in others. Although God delivered me mightily, the hurt from the experience is a scar that reminds me what is really important – being completely absorbed in Christ in whatever path He has me to travel.
If you are suffering now, I know no words can remove that pain, except the word of God, and strength is given to those who run to the living God for shelter. Sometimes it is not until we have been shaken to the very core of your being that we can understand the purpose of its presence. If we worship Him only for the good things He gives, we miss some of the greatest moments of fellowship with Christ – identifying with Him in suffering. We cannot outrun the pain, but we can run to Him and His grace is sufficient for those found in Him. This is what real hope and deliverance are – not avoidance, but strength and grace to walk through whatever this life brings. My deliverance wasn’t when I finally had the victory in court, but rather when I was broken and desperate and had nothing else to hope in but Him. Amen.
Thank You, Lord, for the pain and the joys You have allowed into my life. You are truly good all the time and I worship You for your sovereignty and faithfulness! I love You, LORD!