In I Kings 19:10 Elijah is whining that he is the only one left and everyone is out to kill him. Jonah was asked by God if he had a good excuse to feel depressed and want to die because his gourd had died. Job had a good reason to say, “why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?” Asaph in Psalms 73 says that God is good to others, “but as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped, and as for the wicked that did me in, they seem fat and happy.” It does make some sense to feel that living in this sin filled world I am a victim. The error lies in thinking that other people are not also victims, or that my victimization is much worse than theirs. It lies in the delusion that my consequences are unfairly harsh for the small thing that I did, or even in believing that I am innocent and actually deserve God’s love and peace and prosperity; or that, when my pain comes from others’ choices, then God owes me one or someone should and will and can pay for my restitution.
All people are victims. It is impossible to assess one person’s hurt to be greater than another’s. Many children are beaten, starved, or used sexually. I was just invisible. I seemed to have a great childhood. Yes I was ignored by my parents and siblings and left to raise myself in a missionary boarding school, but I was not beaten or starved and I was given a great education. Is that deprivation bigger or smaller than being beaten or starved? If grossly abused, I could eventually realize that no child deserves to be beaten or starved and hopefully work on it. I on the other hand still struggle with the feeling that I exist to be “perfect” and help everyone else and then I will be no one and nothing but if I fall short then I will be less than nothing. I think that we all are victims and unable to say that ours is worse or less than others. No matter what my past hurts God still calls me to repent and admit my sins and seek help in growing from the pain and loss.
I remember running a group in an all female inpatient psychiatric unit. 80% or more had been molested and abused as children. I would sit by the door for easy escape if needed and start with the verse in Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the father in the name of or Lord Jesus Christ”. Boy would they get mad. “Surely God does not want me to be grateful for what my earthly father did to me!”
Only when, in faithful obedience, they said” Lord I thank you for your good intentions in allowing this even though I can not see anything to be grateful for, still I thank you that you are bigger than even this and you long to heal me and to bring good from evil.”
Only then did they start to heal. As long as they thought that God owed them one for letting the victimization occur, they could not grow or heal.
The only way out is to not compare, to take my own reality and thank God for his intentions. Just as Joseph did in Exodus 50,”Yes you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” To relate to other hurting people and share our own healing process with them, to ask for and accept help in overcoming and be grateful for it and to give a helping hand to other fellow sufferers.
I remember a hurting abandoned wife who had let God heal her and help her grow and now she just wanted to put it all behind her. However God kept bringing other hurting people into her life and using her to help them. She finally accepted God’s way of turning an evil into a good.
If the devil destroys and God rebuilds then they are basically equal, but if the devil destroys and where sin abounds grace even more abounds and God brings so much good from the situation that the devil wishes he had never attacked; then God is clearly greater.
Lord help me to identify the consequences of living in this sin filled world and to be grateful for your good intentions in letting it happen and to cooperate with you in turning my suffering into growth and ministry and to bringing glory to yourself.