Tag Archives: anger at God

A Bed in Hell

Snow geese in flight at dawn, Bosque del Apache, NM, Author John Fowler, Source flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Rather than providing consolation, Scripture can feel like torture to abuse victims.  We hear promises of hope and protection as lies…or “proof” of our unworthiness.  After all, God’s promises were not kept in our case, were they? So it can seem to us.

Worse still, we may fear deep down that the fate “assigned” us was deliberately cruel because of our lack of worth.  This is torment, placing the blame for our pain squarely at God’s door.

But listen to verses 7-11 of Psalm 139:

“…Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me…”

This is what it means to be a child of God.  We are not spared suffering, but remain the focus of His care and attention at all times.

Our wounds grieve God. More than that, His hands and feet were pierced for our sakes.  We forget this when lost in our own sorrow.

Abuse victims have known the bed in hell.  For us, depression may be the form darkness takes.  Yet in the throes of that illness, we are not forsaken.  God seeks us out despite our anger, despite our despair, despite even our atheism.

Originally posted 11/17/13

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Greater than We Know

I’d like to tell you the story of two women. It is a true story, not a fairytale. Both these women faced hardship and loss. However, they responded differently which is the lesson for us at the heart of their story.

Naomi was an Israelite woman who moved with her husband and two sons to nearby Moab, during a time of famine. Naomi’s husband soon died. The young men married Moabite women with pagan beliefs. Ruth was one of these.

To Naomi’s sorrow, after about ten years her sons, also, died. Hearing that the famine at home had ended, Naomi decided to return. She urged her daughters-in-law to remain in Moab, and rebuild their lives.

But Ruth had grown especially close to Naomi, and was determined to follow her back. Ruth’s beautiful words have come down to us, over the centuries:

But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’ ” (Ruth 1: 16-17).

Naomi was an embittered woman, angry with God for what she had been through.

Ruth, on the other hand, is remembered as a woman of faith and integrity. Without complaint, Ruth went to work in the fields to sustain herself and Naomi on their return, in the process, winning the love and admiration of a man who would become her new husband.

We are not promised that Prince Charming will ride in on a white horse. Tragedies will befall us in this broken world. Our dreams will at times be dashed, and our hearts broken. But we can rest assured our lives will have purpose, even when we do not see that purpose.

Abuse can be devastating, its scars lifelong. But the violation is not the sum total of our lives. With God, there is always hope. Sometimes, in fact, God’s plans for us may be greater than we know.

Ruth could easily have become bitter when her first husband died. She could have doubted God’s plans for her life. When she chose to remain with her mother-in-law, Ruth had no idea that she would remarry…or that she would become the great-grandmother of kings, and enter the lineage of Christ [1] [2].

Yet she did.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29: 11).


[1] Ruth is documented in Scripture as having been the great-grandmother of King David, and the great-great-grandmother of King Solomon (Ruth 4: 13, 17, 21). She is expressly included in the geneology of Christ (Matt. 1: 5).

[2] Though scholars continue to debate its significance, archaeological evidence for King David appears to have been unearthed at Tel Dan, in northern Israel, on a stone stela dating to the 9th Century BC.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Religion, Violence Against Women

The Book of Job

For years, I was an atheist, unwilling to believe in or do homage to a God who would allow suffering by the innocent.

My view was a direct result of the abuse I had endured, and the suffering of all kinds I saw around me. I could not reconcile a good and just God with the many injustices in the world.  Faith was a fool’s game.

The Bible’s Book of Job, in particular, revealed the merciless nature of God. So I thought. A devout man is caused to lose his property, his children, and his health. All to demonstrate that his faith in God is not a response to good fortune alone.

I saw the God who would allow this as sadistic. I viewed the Book of Job as an obscenity, and rejected the propositions it put forward. For a long while, I preferred to rage.

When I found the law as a profession, it felt as if a sword had been placed into my hand.

But the Book of Job is a profound study in suffering. It makes the point that God is God. We are merely His creation, dearly though He loves us.

In the end, I came to recognize that we cannot substitute our sense of justice for God’s. We do not have His perspective. We cannot see the end from the beginning.

Christians do not always know why suffering takes place. Ours is a broken world, not the paradise we might wish.

Christians do, however, know the true character of God. He truly is holy, good, just, and merciful. He and only He is the God who suffered as we suffer, even dying for our sakes. Amid the severest of trials, He somehow sustains us. And we have His promise that He will use all things somehow for good.

That promise cannot be applied simplistically. No Christian would contend that good can come to a child from sexual molestation, torture, or neglect. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

A Bed in Hell

“Iron Maiden”, ancient instrument of torture, Palacio de los Olvidados, Granada, Author Dorieo Wikimedia Commons (license CC BY-SA 4.0)

Rather than providing consolation, Scripture can feel like torture to abuse victims.  We hear promises of hope and protection as lies…or “proof” of our unworthiness.  After all, God’s promises were not kept in our case, were they? So it can seem to us.

Worse still, we may fear deep down that the fate “assigned” us was deliberately cruel because of our lack of worth.  This is torment, placing the blame for our pain squarely at God’s door.

But listen to verses 7-11 of Psalm 139:

“…Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me…”

This is what it means to be a child of God.  We are not spared suffering, but remain the focus of His care and attention at all times.

Our wounds grieve God.  More than that, His hands and feet were pierced for our sakes.  We forget this when lost in our own sorrow.

Abuse victims have known the bed in hell.  For us, depression may be the form darkness takes.  Yet in the throes of that illness, we are not forsaken.  God seeks us out despite our anger, despite our despair, despite even our atheism.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

3 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Religion, Sexual Abuse