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Editor's note: This is Part 3 in a Series on Overcoming Life's Hurts. Click here to read Part 1: This Wasn't Supposed to Happen: Realizing There's a Reason for Your Pain. Click here to read Part 2: I Wasn't Supposed to Hurt Like This: Reshaping Your Understanding of God.
Have you ever looked back on an incident in your life and wondered: Where was God, anyway? Didn’t He care? Why didn’t He come to my rescue? What kind of God would let me go through something like that?
Christina could've easily asked those questions. But instead, she is one who praises God is spite of the pain she grew up with and chooses to see His protection and provision, rather than His punishment.
Considered by others around her as one of life’s throw-aways from the time she was a young child, Christina saw more than most of us ever care to during her early years of life. Raised by her parents to make and manufacture drugs, she suffered physical abuse, lived her childhood on the run, and even remembers searching through dumpsters for food for her brothers and sisters. But even in the midst of the junk she grew up with, she knows God saw her little heart and was preparing for her a life – and a ministry.
God Saw Your Story
The Bible tells us there is nothing about us that God is not fully aware of. And He has our best at heart.
After nearly 30 years of ministering to women, I have found that an important step to healing and wholeness is to reject the lie that God didn't care about the hurt you experienced.
It may be easy for you to believe that God didn't care about you and that's why you've experienced pain in your life. But a closer examination of the Bible tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the events of our lives. In fact, in many situations in my life and in the lives of women I know, He is the One who has protected and comforted, in spite of the pain we have endured in life.
If you tend to believe God wasn't there, or didn't care about you, consider these truths from Psalms 139:
God intimately examines you, not to find your faults, but to know all about you (verse 1).
He knows where you hang out, what time you get up in the morning, and what you're thinking before the thought even comes your way. Not only are you noticed, you are constantly watched over (verse 2).
He places hedges around you to keep you safe. In other words, God hovers over you (verse 5).
He won't let you wander out of His sight. He is aware of everywhere you go. He sticks to you like glue. You can't lose Him (verses 7-12).
SEE ALSO: 7 Ways to Sense God's Presence
Yes, God was there with you, alright. He has never let you out of His sight.
So Where Was the Rescue?
So if God constantly monitors our whereabouts and has our ways memorized, why does He seem to stand by and allow hurts to run havoc in our lives at times? We know that God often has a purpose behind our pain and is shaping us into someone who can be a blessing in the lives of others. Now let me present another element to the question. What if God did rescue you in your situation but you didn’t realize it? What if the pain you experienced was actually part of your deliverance from what could have been a deeper or more devastating pain?
Christina doesn’t hold God responsible for what she grew up with. Rather, Christina looks back at certain situations and sees God’s protection over her, rather than His negligence.
When she was a young teenager caring for her siblings, she recalls a strange man coming into their house one afternoon. They often had strange people coming in to the home to buy drugs, but she knew something in particular was not right with him. She made eye contact with him and heard him ask her mother “how much?” Immediately sensing danger, Christina rushed her brothers and sisters into a closet in the back of the house and told them all “We need to pray.”
She started praying and pleading: “Please God, don’t let this happen.” She didn’t know what was coming, but had an overwhelming sense of dread and an urge to pray for God’s protection over herself.
As she and her little brothers and sisters prayed and called out to Jesus for help, she sensed a peace and a confidence and, in her childlike faith, walked back out into the room where her mother and the strange man were waiting. As soon as Christina made eye contact with the man again, he bolted out of the house and never returned.
“I know now that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world,” Christina said, quoting 1 John 4:4 and referring to God’s presence in her that apparently caused the man who had intended to do her harm to run. “I wasn’t mature in my faith. No one had taught me the Word or discipled me since that prayer I prayed at Vacation Bible School. But I knew God’s presence was with me and I could cry out to Him for help.”
After the man fled, the intensity of the moment was confusing and upsetting and Christina started to cry. “I was confused. I was shaking. I didn’t know exactly what had happened. I went into the bedroom to check on my siblings and they were all asleep -- all five of them. And then I came back into the other room and my mom and stepdad were asleep too.
“It was as if God had put His hand over the entire home and hushed it…lulled everyone to sleep.
“The bottom line is God was in control,” she said. Instead of pointing a finger at God and saying “You could’ve prevented this!” she now praises Him for protecting her from so much more that could’ve happened.
God promised in His Word that He will never leave us or desert us (Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 139:7-11), So He was there for you, too. Maybe you just don’t remember the sudden turn of events in which something worse could’ve happened, but didn’t. Maybe you don’t recall or even realize the rescues. The bottom line is God cared. He knew what He was doing in allowing whatever happened in your life. And He’s here now to redeem your hurts into something greater than you have imagined.
Think about something painful that has happened in your life and something good that you now have because of it. And you may find yourself saying, "Aha, God was there. He does care. And He is still working His plan in my life."
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of eleven books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold), Women on the Edge, and When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, from which this article is adapted. She and her family live in the San Diego, CA area where her husband is a pastor. For more on her ministry and for free resources to help strengthen your soul, see her website or contact her at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Publication date: August 30, 2012