God and Sexual Assault

Suffering

Is God your ultimate strength?

It has taken me awhile to listen to preachers and others talk about suffering and take them seriously. I could not see how they had been through as serious of suffering as I had. However, I have learned through the years that everyone has a story and most everyone has endured some type of suffering. We really can’t compare ours to anyone else, (suffering and trauma are just that) but we can learn how to make it during the time of suffering.

Let me preface this by saying before you can take the rest of this in, you will first need to come to a place between yourself and God where you are no longer mad and blaming God for what you have been through, that you can see what He is going to do with it. To come to a place where you are choosing to be a survivor.

Before you think I am being harsh, know that I spent years (close to a decade) angry at God and blaming Him and anyone for my circumstances. That anger is okay and good because it’s part of working though the grief of what you lost due to trauma, but if we live life stuck there, we are not living in the fullness of what God has for us.

With all that said, last week and today the preachers at my church talked about suffering. I am happy to report that I was able to listen without rolling my eyes and thinking, “They don’t know suffering.” While I didn’t fully agree with all that was said, (because the church does tend to generalize for the larger audience) I could pick out the main points that resonated and know that God has been so present and my ultimate strength in my own suffering.

Points such as, God uses our trials to refine our faith in Him. (1 Peter 1:6-7) He refines our faith so we can bring Jesus greater glory.

While in the fire we can focus on the hope we have: We have hope in the resurrection and our reward. That is, if we know Jesus as our savior, we have hope in the fact He already beat sin and death for us and our reward is the inheritance of heaven. (So often we tend to think we should have heaven on earth. This earth is broken and sinful and will not compare to the heaven that awaits in God’s glory.)

If you know Christ you have the promises of God even in sufferings:

Promises such as:

Isaiah 54:17 “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.”

Psalm 30:2 “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” (I have realized that this healing can be provided in many ways and is not always an exact moment, but God can heal through a process too.)

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Ultimately, I have learned that what Satan meant for evil will be for used for good and God’s glory. (See Romans 8:28) I also know, that when new trials come, as they will, I have learned how faithful God is and what to anchor to. I know only His strength will get me through.

That has been a lesson learned and one I still have to come back to. I have tried many things other than depending on God. I over ate, I starved, I cut myself, attempted suicide, medicated myself etc. I could go on, but my guess is you have tried a few things as well. We all have – it’s human nature, but I began praying for God to show me when I am doing other things instead of depending on Him. And He does – and I stop most of the time– well, unless I’m eating chocolate. 😊

Seriously, I encourage you to pray and ask God to open your eyes to what He has for you. Ask Him how He can take what you’ve endured (or are enduring) and use it for good. If you ask Him to open your eyes, He will do it. Lay out your heart to Him and I promise He will help you.

As always, God wove my day together by bringing this new song by Jordan Smith to me this morning and how it fits so well with suffering. (The only part I struggle with in the lyrics is that nothing will leave a mark…because I know my trauma left scars as yours did too.) The lyrics and the music are encouraging to me and I pray they are to you as well as you continue to face the battle of recovery from trauma.

Listen to: Battles by: Jordan Smith

© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.  

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