No one’s life is absent of hardships, setbacks, disappointments or tragedies. Sad things happen to us all. But as one writer put it, “Physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the curse.” Henry Nouwen
One of the character traits that I appreciate about God is how he gives us choices. Never does he force, coerce or manipulate us to do anything. Rather he waits for us to come to our senses.
There are consequences that go along with any choice we make. Whether in the secular, physical or spiritual realm, consequences are simple principles that go with life. Whether we choose to believe God or not, the choice, along with its effect, is ours.
For instance, for a very long time, I pushed back against believing in God’s love for me. As a result, my life was mostly miserable. The only pseudo comfort the world offered me was that time would heal.
But, young as I was, I detected the false hope of those words. Time is not something that can heal. It takes more than just a concept, philosophy, or an idea to repair a heartache. It takes something much bigger.
My battle began with my Dad’s suicide. After his death, there was the ache, accompanied by the void and the confusion that followed in the wake of his death. In short, I accused God because I thought he could and should have stopped my dad’s death. Since I found fault with God, there was no way I could go to him for any comfort or consolation.
But the blame did not immediately fall onto God’s shoulders. First, I accused my mother, then the veteran’s hospital where he’d gone for help with his ailments; depression and alcoholism. But, charging them with my father’s death did nothing to alleviate my pain. It only made it heavier.
I vividly remember the night I chose to set the blame all on God. He seemed to be the perfect one to indict because he did not argue the case I brought against him.
If you can picture a child beating their fists against the chest of their parent and the parent not fighting back, you will get a glimpse of my battle with God. Like the loving, patient parent that God is, God did not fight back. He simply held me until my anger subsided. Then and only then could I accept God’s love for me.
It was a long battle, about ten years. But God never let go of me nor did he ever slap any sense into me. He just waited until I surrendered. And then I wondered why I’d resisted for so long.
Why bother considering our options? When physical, mental, or emotional pain arrives we can choose to rely on ourselves, the world or God. I choose God.