How many prayers have you prayed that have either gone unanswered or been responded to with a no? How many loved ones have you lost? How many hardships have you suffered, how many losses have you endured?
How many times have you asked why? How many times have you watched others be blessed with what you’ve begged God for? How many times have you felt that because of all the above you were being punished for something?
If we have any age on us at all, we’ve all been in those spots. We tend to think because we’re told no, denied, abandoned, jobless, homeless, or without, we’re being punished. Maybe we’re just not loved…or loved less…than our neighbors and friends.
This reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden when they had partaken of the forbidden fruit they hid from God. Adam offered the timeless excuse…”we hid because we’re naked” (paraphrased). God’s very wise, parent-like response makes me smile every time I read it: “Who told you, you were naked?”! (Genesis 3:10-11). See, they had ALWAYS been without clothes, uncovered because they were in paradise – that was their normal then all of a sudden, everything (because of disobedience) changed. They saw themselves as they really were.
Isn’t that the crux of our problem? We know how we’ve lived, what we’ve done…we are well aware of what we deserve! OR we think we’ve been so good (perhaps we have been) that we don’t deserve any bad. For a time after my son got older and God healed him from a devastating brain injury, I thought I had survived the hardest thing in my life, I had taken my “turn” and that a life of peaches and cream was on my horizon. How arrogant of me!
The things I’ve been through – at my own hand and at other’s – continue to show me that being in a tough, impossible, extremely painful place is a place of privilege and NOT punishment. Through those times, I have been privileged to see more of God and cultivate a personal, foundational relationship with Him. Was it fun? NO. A lot of times it still isn’t. Would I choose to learn this way? Are you kidding? Apparently I have to grow and learn the hard way.
If you’re going through something devastating – don’t fall for the lie. Yes some things we go through are consequences to our behavior but some things aren’t. Believe God hasn’t left you and He’s not mad at you. Believe He’s chosen you to allow you a place of privilege – a place where you can choose to get closer to Him. (Romans 8:28!)
Genesis 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.”