But God!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever
Psalm 136:1-3 ESV

The Lord is bringing to my remembrance something that happened in my life nearly 38 years ago. The year was 1982, and I was 32 years old at the time. It was at the beginning of the year. My children were 1, 3, 5 & 8 years old at the time. We had moved away from our home town 2 years prior to this, but that was a bad year, and now we were back, and had been back for a year.

Our pastor had preached a series of sermons on spiritual gifts a while ago. He had distributed to every church member (or every church attendee) – church, in the sense of a local body of fellowship – a form to fill out. On the form we were asked to list our spiritual gifts, and we were asked to express interest in particular areas of ministry within the church. And, the expectation was that we would then be contacted by the pastor or an elder to ask us to serve in one of those areas of ministry.

Much time had passed since I had filled out the form, and I was not contacted. It may had been 6 months to a year since I had filled out the form. So, I contacted the pastor. He came to our house. We had not ever really talked before, so he didn’t know me and I didn’t know him. But, he had formed impressions or opinions of me from observations he had made about me, based on his own thinking and reasoning, and based on himself.

He made no effort to try to get to know me or my heart. He had already decided who I was and what I was about, and so he just blurted out his opinions about me, which were very hurtful. And, then he asked me if I would say that I had been crucified with Christ. I said, “Yes.” And, he said, “I would say you haven’t!” And, that met me with a crushing blow!!

I took his opinions of me to heart, and I believed that they could conquer me, and so I just withdrew. I retreated. But, as I was reading the story of Jonah to my children one day, the Lord spoke to me and told me that I was Jonah, and that I was running from God, and that I needed to get back in there and fight this thing through.

And, you know what I said to him? I said, “But God, you don’t understand!”

Truly, in the depths of my heart I believed that, though with my mind I believed he was an all-powerful, all-knowing and Omni-present God. In my mind I believed he was completely sovereign over all things. But, in my heart I believed differently. I believed this man, this pastor, could defeat me, and that God could do nothing about it.

Why did I feel this way? Because I had been severely abused by my dad growing up, and God had not rescued me from that situation. He had not rescued me from other painful situations, either. So, I had formed this picture of God as someone who I knew loved me, and who cared for me, and who comforted me in my sorrow and pain, but who was somehow powerless to intervene in my circumstances.

With my mind I believed one thing about God, but in my heart of hearts, where I had been hurt, I believed something else. I believed man had power over me that God could do nothing about, and that came out through my mouth when I said, “But God, you don’t understand!”

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psalm 136:10-16 ESV

The Lord said that I was to go back to this pastor to fight this thing through, so I contacted the pastor again, though I was “shaking in my boots,” so to speak. And, he suggested that it was the elders who had an issue with me, so he sent the elders to my house to talk with me about it.

The elders had also formed their opinions of me based on their own personal prejudices and on their own preconceived notions about how God works, and based on their own selves and how their minds and their own flesh operated. They thought I was like them, but I wasn’t, and so they didn’t get me.

They kept trying to tell me that it was my attitude, but when I asked them for specifics, regarding what I was doing wrong, they didn’t know. They had nothing that they could pinpoint and say that I was doing anything wrong. They couldn’t even tell me what they thought was wrong with my attitude. So, again, I was left up in the air, up against men who disapproved of me, and who would not let me serve in the body of Christ in ministry, but who didn’t even know what it was about me that they disapproved of.

But, the Lord had told me to “fight this through,” so I contacted my best friend, who was the wife of one of the elders. I went over to her house and we talked for a long while. She was trying to pinpoint what the problem was, so we went back and forth on that for a while. And, then she said, “Hon, I know what it is.” I said, “What?” She said, “It’s a spirit of fear.”

I knew immediately as soon as she said that that she was correct. The Holy Spirit witnessed it in my heart. I asked her if we could pray for God to deliver me from that. So, we prayed, and I physically felt that oppressive spirit leave my presence. My countenance completely changed. My facial expressions went from ones of fear to faith to joy. God had delivered me!

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:23-26 ESV

What came next was something I would never have anticipated. All of a sudden, memories of my childhood, which had been locked down inside of me, began to surface. For, you see, I was taught to forget the past, so I did, but I didn’t release it to God, I had just buried it down inside my heart. I didn’t know any different. It was what I had been taught about forgetting.

So, I called my best friend. I asked her what to do with these memories, which were quite painful. She didn’t know. She suggested I talk with the pastor. I told her I couldn’t do that because he hated me. So, she asked for permission to talk with him. I gave her permission. She called him. She told him about my past, about my upbringing, and about the fears that I had had. And I am most certain she told him about our prayer for deliverance.

So, he called me. The first thing he did was apologize to me. He said, “As your pastor, I am to be your spiritual father, but I haven’t been a very good one. I want to be now,” or something to that effect.

I just sobbed. I had not ever had a human father who loved me. God had now broken through this pastor’s heart, and he was reaching out to me in love. Praise God! This would never have happened, though, if I had not listened to God, and if I had stayed bound in my fears, and if I had not gotten back in there and “fought this thing through,” which was not easy, I guarantee you.

So, I asked the pastor what to do with these memories. He simply told me to give them over (to release them) to God. For, you see, I had buried them thinking I was doing right by “forgetting” them, but I hadn’t forgotten them, really, because they were buried in my heart, still impacting my life. But, God doesn’t want us to bury our hurts, for then they are not truly forgotten, and they can turn to bitterness or they can bind us in fear.

So, I let the memories surface, and one by one, as they came up, I felt them as though they had just happened to me. I then cried them out to God, and I released them to him, and I forgave my dad with every one of them. And, the Lord lifted those burdens from me, and he gave me newfound freedom in him that I had never experienced before. And, the Lord began a healing process in my heart to set me free from those damaged emotions.

And, that pastor, who had been my “enemy” now became my friend. And, instead of fighting against me, he began to help me to be an overcomer. And, I submitted to his leadership, and I did what he asked me to do.

And, one day he admitted to me that he and the elders had been wrong about me. I just wasn’t like them, and they didn’t understand me and my relationship with the Lord, and so they had judged me by themselves, but God delivered me because I listened to him, and I did what he said.

I would like to say that I never struggled with fear from that moment forward, but that would be a lie. But, what began that day opened the door for many more victories to come. And, what God was doing in my life was preparing me for a future ministry which he had planned for my life from before I was even born.

There were many more battles ahead, but the Lord brought me through every one of them. I just had to step out in faith and “fight them through” under his guidance, and He got the victory!

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

 

16 thoughts on “But God!

  1. Remember that comment I just sent to you recently about not assuming? Where it was me assuming about others? The Lord corrected me when I did that with you Sue. I just felt the hurt you must have felt what your Pastor originally said to you that you hadn’t been crucified with Christ. That would have felt like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. When I was about 10 years old my adopted mother dug out my adoption papers that I had never seen before and yelled at me, “Here you bastard, nobody wanted you!”. Ten years old, can you imagine. And I did what you did, I buried it deep inside. What scares me now is that sometimes I don’t remember to look for that in others, because there are lots of people that have been deeply hurt and healing is one thing but you never forget. I know now that God does love me and I also had to forgive my adopted mother and my birth mother that I met once. Forgiving my birth mother was easier than forgiving my adopted mother. But we do have to forgive and God does heal us and I am so very thankful for that. But sometimes I forget that I’m not the only one and there are some who still need to be healed and only God can do that. That man I spoke with the other day is going through the healing process of his own hurt and I missed that. We’re OK now because I asked him to forgive me and he did. Just like you forgave me. I’d hug you now if I could. You’re a blessing Sue. – Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, thank you. But, before I say what I am going to say next, I just want to state this: I am by no means perfect. As you know, I have had my share of failures in my life, but God forgave me, and he restored me, all glory to God. And, I am not knowingly sinning against God in any way now. I just wanted to say that first so that no one takes what I am going to say next in the wrong way.

      Many times in my life people have judged me wrongly. They assumed things about me that were not true, but they went with their assumptions and charged me as guilty and then sentenced me unjustly. But, the thing of it is, in my experience, these were not cases of times when I was sinning against God. They were times when I was obeying God or when I had just come out of a time of defeat and I was trying to get back on the right path. But, when I was sinning against God, they were happy with me. They left me alone. And these are church leaders I am mainly talking about, too. But, it is when I was listening to God, and I was following his lead that I got ground up, rejected, persecuted, etc. But that makes sense biblically.

      Yet, I have had people say to me, “So, what is the common denominator here?” What they meant, which they admitted, was that the common denominator was me. So, because I was being mistreated by so many different people, then their conclusion was that the problem must be me, not the other people. But that is not biblical at all. And, it is an unfair assessment.

      What I think a lot of Christians in America, in particular, fail to grasp is that Jesus meant what he said when he said we would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and that we would be hated as he was. And, who hated and persecuted him? His own people, his own family members, and the religious leaders in the temple of God, which today would be pastors and elders.

      What I finally came to realize is that Satan has been fighting against me from birth. He has tried every which way to try to get me to forsake my Lord and to give up. And, he did succeed, at times, a long time ago now. But, the Lord has used these situations in my life to actually make me stronger and more dedicated to his calling on my life, so they have been for my good. So, I praise the Lord!

      Now, getting back to you. I thank you that you did come around, not to my side, not to agree with me on every issue, but to not treat me any longer in the way you had been treating me, and that we then became friends, and that has been good. So, I praise the Lord for that. And, since that time I have watched you grow in this area, and so I want to commend you, not only on your honesty, but that you are allowing God to change you, and that is admirable, for not everyone changes. Not everyone admits when he or she is wrong. It goes against pride. So, thank you. I pray that the Lord continues his work of grace in both of our lives and that we continue growing in him, as God intended, until he takes us home.

      Blessings to you, friend.
      Sue

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, I have a question for you off this topic. If you have written anything on this subject, you can direct me to it. I want to know about the beliefs of the Anglican church, but what I am finding is mostly stuff about their history or more generic information such as they are a halfway point between Protestant and Catholic. I already read Wikipedia and GotQuestions. I saw that the Anglican Church has apostolic succession as part of their beliefs, and I know you have written about that subject much. I just don’t know much about the Anglican Church. And, is there a difference between the Anglican Church of America and the one in Canada or the UK?

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      • Hi Sue, the Anglican Church in the UK is known as the Church of England and there is a “High” version and a “Lower” version. The Higher version follows more of a Roman Catholic leaning while the Lower follows more of the Reformation leaning. In Canada most of the Anglican Churches follow the Lower leaning. In the States the Anglican Church is known as the Episcopalian Church and again, most are of the Lower leaning. They also are going the way of a lot of churches with same sex marriage and also women priests. In Canada they still use the “Common Prayer Book” which has a number of prayers, creeds and general sayings for weddings, funerals etc. I wasn’t aware about the apostolic succession aspect although that could be with regard to the Church of England of the High variety. The Church of England has quite a history with regard to the RC church and splitting from them etc. The fellow who was responsible for leading me to the Lord eventually became an Anglican priest but he is seriously considering leaving it now due to all the changes that are taking place. Hope that helps. Blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haven’t got a clue how that is decided, I do know there aren’t any Episcopalian churches here in Canada that I am aware of. I started calling myself a non-denominational a few years ago because of all the changing standards that I couldn’t get in line with.

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      • I just call myself a Christian. I don’t identify with any church denomination, either. I am just a follower of Jesus, his servant. That is all that matters.

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      • You’re right Sue, that is all that matters. Rick decided to follow my blog, please let him know I am I here for him if he needs me. I left him a note on his blog. God is amazing and I am humbled. Blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

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