EChurch@Wartburg – 2.24.13

Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

Midnight Sun at Nordkapp, Norway

Here Is Our Order of Worship

If you are new to E Church, please click on this link for an explanation

A Prayer for Lent link
Loving Father, 
all the fancy words 
in the world, 
expressed in eloquent prose, 
decorated with emotion, 
spoken with conviction, 
cannot compete with a heartfelt 
when all other words fail. 
There are times 
when we are all too aware 
of our limitations, 
conscious of sin, 
and the distance it creates between us.
Sometimes 'sorry' 
is all the heart can bear to say aloud. 
It is only you 
who can read and understand 
the language of our hearts, 
only you who can translate our 'sorry' 
into the prayer we would have prayed,
if we had the words within us.
Then you forgive,
and having forgiven 
surround us in an embrace of love,
drawing us close to your heart,
as it was always meant to be. 
Thank you, Loving Father,
that you listen to hearts, 
as well as voices
Thank you.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:9-10 (NASB Bible Gateway)

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

Another Prayer for Lent link
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
and a generosity of service
that gives without counting cost.
A life overflowing with Grace
poured out from the One
who gave everything,
that we might show
the power of love
to a broken world,
and share the truth
from a living Word.
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith,
and a yearning to share it.

As you go out, remind yourself of our shared faith.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.


EChurch@Wartburg – 2.24.13 — 51 Comments

  1. Okay. Maybe I should stay away, but…

    Wade, I am going to quote what you said:

    “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.”

    And you do go on to talk about the persecution the Hebrew church was experiencing.

    But these three sentences I quoted are essential to my underlying aversion to this teaching. If there is nothing in my life that happened that shouldn’t have happened, then the the abuse I suffered as a child was supposed to happen. For my good. I don’t see how that can be gotten around if these statements are true. And if the sexual abuse of a child is not a mistake – if it is something that was supposed to happen in order to instruct, then there is no safe place. Period.

  2. Jeanette,

    “If there is nothing in my life that happened that shouldn’t have happened, then the the abuse I suffered as a child was supposed to happen.”

    Jeanette, “should” is a moral word. Sexual abuse never should happen. Physical abuse never should happen. Murder never should happen. Putting someone to death by burning them at the stake never should happen. Beheading someone never should happen.

    Yet God’s people have suffered physical and sexual abuse throughout the centuries. God’s people have been murdered, burned at the stake, beheaded, and tortured. These things never should have happened.

    But if you are a woman that has experienced sexual abuse you were not abandoned by God. If have you endured the crime or sin of a man abusing you, you are not unimportant to God. If you were burned at the stake, beheaded, tortured or murdered, you were not abandoned by God.

    God will hold the person accountable who acted in a manner that he or she should not have acted, because the origin of the sin and the crime is man, not God. But that doesn’t mean God was taken by surprise by the immoral action. It doesn’t mean mean God didn’t know the immoral action was going to occur.

    What the Bible teaches is that God will work good out of evil. How He does it I can’t explain. That He does it I believe. Jeannette, I am not asking you to accept this principle. Nor am I attempting to convince you of this principle. I am simply presenting the Scriptural truth (Hebrews 12:1-14; Romans 8:28). Could I be wrong in what I am saying Scripture is teaching about God? Of course. Do I think I am wrong with what I believe Scripture is teaching about God? No.

    I respect you and affirm you in your belief that God does not know that evil will occur in your life and is powerless to prevent it. I just don’t believe it. I beliee He knows it will occur, punishes the evil-doer, but works the evil out for your ultimate good.

    The only safe place is an omnipotent, benevolent Father who loves you enough to die for you. I commend you to Him, and if what I am saying does not convince you of God’s incredible love and immutable power, then by all means, reject it.

  3. Wade, I’m not angry (just saying because it is hard to tell through computers).

    Here’s the thing. In the sermon, you said, “There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred.”

    In your answer to me, you said, “Sexual abuse never should happen.”

    These two sentences seem to contradict each other. That is my main point, I think. Either it should or should not have happened, but it can’t be both.
    I want to believe that God did not ‘orchestrate’ or ‘plan’ for the abuse, and most of the time, I do believe that. But the doctrine that there is nothing that happens that should not happen throws that out the window.

    And I still don’t know what to do with the conflict, but I think, for both our sakes, I would best stop trying to watch.

  4. Jeannette,

    One of the ways we both learn is through conversation and discussion about difficult things. Please feel free to stop watching if you desire, but I want you to know I will miss your astute observations and the discussion with you.

    Nobody has to agree with what is being said. When the Bereans heard Paul teach, they “searched the Scriptures for themselves” to see if what he was saying was from God. All teachers, including me, are fallible. I am listening to you and it will be my loss if you stop participating. But again, I affirm you in your decision, just gently reminding you that to speak on my behalf and say it would be best for me if you didn’t watch is crossing into my territory and speaking for me. I only can speak for myself, and I desire you to continue to participate. You don’t even have to watch, but your comments are always instructive.

    You write: “I want to believe that God did not ‘orchestrate’ or ‘plan’ for the abuse, but the doctrine that there is nothing that happens that should not happen throws that out the window.”

    sense you are struggling with thinking some people (including me) are believing something about God that is not true. He is NOT the author of evil. I’m not sure how I (or the Bible) can be any clearer. God is not the author or initiator of any evil. He is, however, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. Therefore, He can take any all evil that is planned, perpetrated, and performed by man and turn it around for good. If He can’t, He will prevent the evil from occurring as He prevented Abilimech from sinning against Sarah (Genesis 20:6).

    If your understanding of God’s love is limited by believing God’s all-knowing and all-powerful, then by all means, deny His ability to know and His ability to control. He is love, but my understanding of His power only enhances His love to me, and not for one moment diminishes it.

  5. I think we are talking about two different things here. Suffering for your faith in Christ and suffering because we live in a fallen world.

  6. I didn’t get through this one. Maybe something God will bring healing and understanding on in time. It is hard to think about suffering for our good.

  7. Wade, first – thank you for your graciousness.

    Second, you are right. I should not presume to decide what is best for you. I was reacting to religious authorities from my past and projecting what I expected from you based on that. That is not fair and I apologize.

    Now, to clarify, I think. I believe that God (father/Son/Holy Spirit as one) is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. I believe that if he were not, he would not be God. I believe the marking of time is part of the creation (see Gen. 1:14 and the covenant with Noah) and that God is outside of time and able to be everywhere and “everywhen” at once. This is hard to conceptualize, but…I believe that the idea that he is NOT these things is a much more terrifying prospect than if he is – if he’s not, he’s not really God….

    I believe in free will. I believe that love demands freedom. And I believe that from that freedom comes the ability to choose evil. If he prevented all evil choices, there would be no freedom and no freedom equals no love. I believe that the sacrifice God made as Jesus was the ultimate expression of love and freedom.

    I believe that he is outraged at the things that are done by those who choose evil. I do believe that he is more than able to work good out of evil.

    What I don’t have an explanation for is why he intervenes in one person’s circumstance and not another’s. Why did I survive and this little girl over here did not? I have been told it was because I was marked for something special. Well, that’s not really that comforting and also, the only way I will accept that I am special is under the premise that we are all special. So again, why did I survive?

    Some may find it odd that I don’t ask why it happened to me. I did, briefly, ask that question, but it really isn’t the issue to me. The issue is God’s role in it.

    During the time that I was ‘enduring’ it, it never entered my mind that God was orchestrating it, that he planned it or that he somehow needed it to happen. That concept was introduced to me only in the last few years and every one who has presented this concept to me has been a self-described Calvinist. And I really had to wrestle with that concept. My conclusion was one that got me labeled ‘unregenrate.’ I strongly believe that if God is a god who intentionally inflicts torment on his creation for some ‘higher’ purpose, then he is no better than Zeus or Ra or any of the other gods and does not deserve worship. I do not believe that is what he is like.

    So that gets to the issue at hand, which is the quote from the sermon.

    “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.”

    When I hear “nothing happened that shouldn’t have,” I go to the events of my childhood and ask the question, “was this something that should have happened?” If the quote is correct, the answer is yes. And that sends me back down that path of wrestling. For me, this quoted statement belies the idea that the abuses should not have happened.

    Okay, that’s enough for now.

  8. “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.”

    I want to weigh in here on Wade’s statement but fear my confusion over what to believe will cloud any clarity that I could bring to the conversation. I am confused and it is not all by what Wade said, I am just confused… I listened yesterday and so much came up inside of me. I will try my best to keep this brief.

    In my walk with our Lord I spent a little time wrestling with God on why I was physically, verbally & sexually abused. However I spent a lot of time in prayer & in therapy wondering why He didn’t seem to be healing me, why I had more anger in me than love, why I had anxiety rather than peace, why shame was a constant companion.

    Some of that has changed now being I’m 30 years in Him, I came to Christ at 28 so I was in deep do do. I understand now that the root to my anxiety attacks was cemented inside when I was seven years old when my dad had left a handgun under the seat of our station wagon, my mom took the car, with a neighbor & her kids to watch a parade. My buddy found the gun, thinking it was a toy, put it to his brothers head shot & killed his twin. I was sitting next to the boy who died, and my Mom in shock asked me “why I didn’t tell her he had a gun.”

    The fallout of that was years of nightmares, and this awful feeling of guilt that I carried inside til I was in my 40s. I don’t want to be long winded with details on my diagnosis. And I now understand why I carried so much shame, abuse does so much damage… I had a season when I thought I had it all figured out, only to be crushed spiritually after attending a legalistic church for fourteen years.

    So, I am wrestling… I can’t put it to words like Jeannette, and I hope it doesn’t seem like I am piling on you Pastor Wade. I do like the word mystery-not everything on this side can be explained- Thank-you both for engaging in a difficult conversation, I hope I haven’t over stepped on any of the rules here.

  9. Jeannette,

    Thank you for your graciousness too. Amen to what you have written. I could not have written the first six paragraphs any better to describe what I believe.

    Then you come to the area in which you sense disagreement: “During the time that I was ‘enduring’ it, it never entered my mind that God was orchestrating it, that he planned it or that he somehow needed it to happen.”

    What you endured was evil. It was planned and performed by evil men. However, since God did not stop it, and since you are a child of God’s, then the Scripture teaches that He is able to take the evil you endure in life and orchestrated GOOD from it. If He can’t, then He prohibits the evil from occurring.

    Joseph’s brothers stripped him naked, threw him in a pit, and thought about killing him. They eventually sold him to a caravan going to Egypt. The abuse Joseph endured was real. It was evil. It was from family. It was abuse. God did not plan or promote the evil. He took the evil performed by men with free will and turned it into GOOD. In Genesis 50:20 when Joseph’s brothers show up in Egypt asking for food, they tremble in his presence when they discover it is Joseph. Joseph responds, “Do not be afraid. The evil you intended God meant for good to save us all alive.”

    Interesting, is it not, that God did not stop the abuse perpetrated against Joseph. He did not stop the brothers from stripping Joseph. He did not stop the brothers from throwing Joseph in a pit. He did not stop the brothers from selling him into Egyptian slavery. God could have stopped it. In Genesis 20 He stopped Abimilech from sinning against Sarah. Why did not God stop Joseph’s brothers from abusing Joseph, but He did stop Abimelech from abusing Sarah? It seems to me that if God can’t take evil and orchestrate good from it, then He stops it. That, to me, is a very, very good and loving God – not to mention powerful (as you believe).

    Interesting, when Joseph “endured” the abuse, God was with him. The caravan going to Egypt, the caravan to which he was sold as a slave, was carrying “the Balm from Gilead.” This is one of the names of Jesus. Balm from Gilead was sap from Gilead trees that was very valuable in Joseph’s day. It was a healing ointment used to bind up wounds and bring healing to burns and other hurts. This is what Jesus does for His people, so anybody who “endures” the evil of abuse, without Jesus stopping it, will find that Jesus is near as the Balm of Gilead. I say again, Jesus in no form or fashion has anything to do with the abuse. It is evil, and God is not the Author of evil. But if He doesn’t have a plan of how He is going to bring good out of evil, then He will stop it. That’s how powerful God is.

    Finally, my sister’s daughter was sexually abused. Her father has been in prison for over a decade. My niece is a physical invalid. She has been in a wheelchair her entire life. She is a child of God, adopted into His family. She has “endured” much more than I have ever endured in my life. Anytime I speak with anyone about abuse, I have my niece in mind.

    God loves her. God protects her. God is always orchestrating every event in her life for her ultimate good. Her physical condition is not an accident that caught God unawares. Her sexual abuse is evil (it did not originate from God), but it did not catch God by surprise. I agree with you. HE ABHORS IT. But He is able to work it GOOD from it, and He is her Balm in Gilead through the pain.

    Some of how God works all things for good will not be discovered until heaven, but until then, I believe the Scripture encourages her (and us) by affirming the very things you mention in your first six paragraphs above.

    I think the sentence that is causing you pain is ““nothing happened that shouldn’t have.” Of course my niece’s abuse “should not have happened” (that is why her father is in prison). My niece’s spinal deformities at booth should not have happened (we live in a fallen and cursed world where evil happens), but God is busy orchestrating all things for the good of His children, and if He can’t take evil and turn it into good, then He stops the evil.

    I will sure try to be clearer to not cause any confusion in what I’m saying. Thank you for your comments and your gracious spirit. I enjoy the discussion. I, of course, could be wrong in what I’m saying, but I am firmly convinced of the truth of God’s sovereignty, man’s free will, God’s ultimate victory, and good arising from all evil (including the just punishment of the evil doer) because God is on His throne.

    I enjoy the discussion.

  10. Gail,

    Thank you for your powerful testimony. I was both moved and encouraged by it. I hesitate to write any more because I am not attempting to convince anyone of any particular truth — and I am absolutely not trying to prove I’m right. I neither have to be right nor have people agree.

    I am simply wanting to help people who have been abused and I am absolutely convinced that there can be no peace in the pain until there is some comprehension of truth in the trial.

  11. Interesting that in the example of Joseph and his brothers that the “good” that came out of that situation benefited those who had committed the crime as well as Joseph. Not only did they benefit materially, (from famine) but they repented and received Joseph’s forgiveness.

  12. Wade, I think we mostly agree. The only thing I have trouble with is the idea that if God can’t bring good out of it, he won’t allow it to happen. I think of all the children that die every day from abuse or neglect and I can’t find the good….

  13. Death is an enemy. The last enemy. The good that comes from death is “an incorruptible inheritance.” A good (heaven) “that no eye hath seen nor any mind comprehended” as to the extent of its goodness. The Apostle Paul says heaven is “much, far better (literally, he uses a double superlative) than life itself (Philippians 1).

    In other words, when those of us living in the land of the dying come to an end of life and die, we will go to the land of the living and then REALLY live and shall never die. That’s a good thing.

    So, the good that comes from death is something infinitely better than any child of God can imagine, but the concept of this eternal life propelled those Christians who were burned at the stake (Fox’s Book of Martyrs) to sing hymns.

    That’s the good that comes from death.

  14. By the way Jeannette, I really enjoyed your dialogue with me. I am better because of it and thank you for the time to comment, wrestle through some very serious questions for me, and display a graciousness in disagreement. People are blessed to know you.

  15. @ Wade Burleson:

    Wade- I am very sad & sorry for what your precious niece had to suffer. Thank-you again for taking the time to engage… This would have never happened in my ex church.
    Your willingness to hash things out and not insist that you are right speaks volumes to me.

  16. Wade, thank you. The concept that you are better for the dialogue startles me. Not at all the response I am used to. For you to say that people are blessed to know me is difficult to wrap my mind around. Thank you. Your responses have challenged my perceptions of pastors.

  17. @ Gail:



    I am so sorry for you and both the young men you describe, and for your dear mother. What a horrible memory etched in your mind in your seventh year.

    Your Mom in shock asked you: 

    “Why didn’t you tell me he had a gun…”

    You realize that your mother was just in shock, as you probably were. Remember she was the responsible  ‘Adult’ in the equation. This must have been a defining moment for her. It happened on her ‘watch’. More than likely that was too much for her at the time, and your sensibilities were just collateral damage. 

    Responsible at age seven for gun notification? 

    Tarnations, How can dat b?

    Heck it could have been a Candy Licorice gun, for all you knew. 

    (I bet you -poop beyond your control, has been a source of consternation, ever since that very day.)

    Trusting God, in the light of these type of situations, must be very tough.

    I feel for ya.


    Sorry bad stuff happened.



  18. Sopwith- Yes, I know my Mom was in shock- I can only imagine how I would have responded if I was in her place. So, I have mercy for my Mom. My little heart only heard WHY Gail… it is complicated for sure. I appreciate that you heard & responded, thank-you. xo

  19. @ Gail:
    Thank you and you’re welcome? I’m glad my questions help. They have been rough ones to wrestle with. I don’t have the answers yet. 🙂 But I am more confident with the questions than I used to be.

    When I first started with this question, though, 5 years ago, it messed with me and I spent some time in a dark place….looking at the possibility that God was not trustworthy….I believe, now, he is. But I am still uncomfortable with the idea that maybe, he’s not as we define it.

    A lot of it goes back to definitions of love. People can tell me all day long what love is, but my experience is that love is fickle and demanding and expects quid pro quo, which isn’t really love, I know….but my experience with ‘love’ is that it is cold and comfortless….so wrapping my mind around it being something else is taking work and time and new experiences….

  20. Jeannette- You have articulated my struggle… For that I am grateful because I am confused & short of words.

    So thank-you from my heart… “My experience of Love is fickle cold & heartless” Yes, I relate.

    But I still long for love to be more… it is a long way home for sure. Thank-You for your courage to discuss & ask & seek. Your questions & struggle reflect mine.

  21. Gail, I understand.

    A dear friend who understands me better than I can explain, was praying for me a while back and told me that the love of God was going to penetrate the defensive barriers that were constructed to protect from the pain. Then she said something that encourages me that God really does understand. She said that his love would not penetrate like arrows but rather like melting butter, seeping into all the cracks. I believe that is happening – slowly, but surely.

  22. I will always believe that what happened to me was a mistake. In other words, sins of the abusers. I will always believe that those things never should have happened, but they did, outside of the will of God, because the abusers chose to abuse out of their own free will. God had nothing to do with any of it, and at no point did any of it become a part of any plan of his, especially not for the purpose of instruction. I believe that after the fact, God can bring good from abuse, even though in my case, a major part of my life has been destroyed and I will never completely heal in this life.

    Please forgive and pass over this comment of mine… I did not watch the teaching video this week or last, and at this point would not dare. Some things I read here tonight have horrified me for hours. The conclusion I came to is that I have to be annoying and comment for my own peace of mind, in order to prevent another brand new spiritual crisis in my own life. Thanks for letting me do that…

  23. Oasis, there was s nothing in your comment that should be overlooked or needs forgiveness. I understand what you’re saying perfectly. I doubt I will eer completely heal in this life, either.

    I’m sorry one of what has been in said has horrified you. I agree that watching the teaching might b a bad idea. It is pretty triggerring for me, obviously. Your comments are welcome and add o the discussion. Thank you. There really are no magic words. {{{Hug}}}

  24. Wade

    That is the ultimate hope. Life after death. Without that promise, all the evil and horrible things that happen in this world have no resolution. It is the only hope that I have when I read stories like Jessica Lunsford who was raped and killed as a little girl. I believe that the life to come has something for her and that she did not die in vain.

  25. Gail

    There are no rules regarding pain here. Our only hope is that, through this community, you will feel safe, loved and accepted. What a horrific thing for you to have witnessed.And then what a horrific young life filled with abuse. I bet you felt alone and I am so sorry. Please know that I am praying for you. Also, your story has meaning and will help others as we struggle with pain and suffering in this world. You are a face that humanizes abuse and it should deeply move all of us to seek out those who were, and are, hurt.

  26. Gail,

    Amen to what Dee said to you.


    Amen to your comment about heaven. In addition, the God of Scripture is LOVE, but that does not preclude or negate His infinite righteousness. The final judgment is a time when He makes all things write. The abuser is condemned. The criminal is punished. The lawbreaker is held accountable. “It is mine to avenge, I will repay” says the Lord. I realize this does not make the pain of abuse any easier, but what it does do is conform heaven is a place of healing for the child of God who has been abused, and a place of judgment for sinner who broke the law of God and abused.

  27. Wade

    Thank you for your comment. I, too, believe in ultimate justice so that the guy who gets off the hook in this life will not get off the hook in the next. That is why I believe in some sort of hell (not sure of what it looks like, though) but I must confess it is difficult at times. There must be a place of Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc to face the enormity of the crimes. 

  28. Oasis

    Please keep commenting. You are welcome here. Sometimes I look around this sick world and become overwhelmed by the amount of abuse and pain. And when it becomes personal, it is so much harder. When I look at my sweet pug, Petunia, and imagine the horrors of her first 4 years of like, I can barely function. She has been my tutor in the subject of abuse. 

    It took us 1 1/2 years before she would sit in a room with humans.  As many years have progressed, she has become a happy and loving dog but there are some wounds that will never go away. She hates to leave the house and the yard, even for a short walk. She feels safe at the house. This AM, she had an incident that was a trigger for her. For some reason, my husband caught her in the act of having an accident in the house. which is exceedingly rare because we have a dog door so the pugs come in and out at will.  My husband said “no” in a slightly louder than usual voice. He picked her up and put her outside for just a minute to remind her (she could come in whenever she wanted) and left for work. 

    I had been in the shower. I got out and heard this pitiful crying. Petunia was sitting at the bottom of the stairs and was afraid to come up to me because that is where she had the accident. She thought we were still mad at her (we weren’t in the least). With a towel wrapped around me, I ran downstairs, picked her up, brought her upstaors and hugged her for a minute. 

    I expect her to have a hard time with any negative moment for the rest of her life. I understand it and I love her and I give her lots of hugs and pats. We all walk with the limp of our pain. 


  29. I am overwhelmed by the exchanges here. The love for hurting, truly hurting, people leaves me speechless. God bless you, Gail, Jeanette, Oasis, & Tammy. There are many of us here who will pray for you. Please keep holding on to God’s hand, he loves you soooooooo much. I know it is confusing how God works, I have stopped trying to reason it out. I just try to accept that he loves me and and I pray, and beg Him, to shower his love on me and let me feel it. Sometimes, I even just pray to Jesus and picture Him since I sometimes have a picture in my mind of a judgmental God left over from my IFB days.

    Just keep holding onto God.

  30. Elsewhere on the blog, a post referred to seeing a dad kneel down and wrap up a little child in his arms so that the child essentially disappeared in his daddy’s lap. That has really touched me. Now, when I am hurting, I pray that God would help me to experience his love and protection and I imagine myself sitting in his lap, encircled by his love. It is a great comfort.

  31. 56 yrs – I’m a mess after reading your comment. I didn’t read that comment on the blog. THAT – the hiding in the lap of Jesus is probably the most difficult thing for me to “feel” because of my abusive childhood – the idea that Father God loves me like that is so difficult to fathom. I have to do a whole lot of talking to myself, reminding myself of scripture that tells of His love in order for it to sink in. It’s a constant emotional battle of can I allow this God to love me when 2 dads failed me so badly? Is there a God who can love me? I am so envious of people who can climb up in Father daddy’s lap so naturally when I have to fight the emotional war inside that says “He doesn’t want you in his lap to begin with.” THIS is the battle that abused must face – sometimes on a daily basis. Those old messages are so loud.

    Ok -now I need to compose myself.

  32. “Is there a God who can love me?”

    Julie Anne, This is where I think the church has practiced malpractice. If we want to know what God is like we look to Jesus of Nazareth! HE is exactly what God is like. Oh my goodness how HE LOVES YOU!!!!

    You are a daughter of King Yeshua therefore you seek justice, give mercy, love and compassion to those you can.

    (Funny that the Pharisees did not think that is what God was like and wanted to kill him for daring to equate Himself with God by calling Him “His Father”)

  33. I get so overwhelmed when I think about the atrocities that happen to others. I only know God’s comfort relating to my own life. I pray for God’s peace for any one who does not know it yet. I have to admit that sometimes I doubt God’s ability to touch certain horrific pains in others just as I used to more than doubt God’s ability to touch mine. But he did, and only in the unique ways pertaining to the unique me, that doesn’t mean that I don’t flinch still around certain circumstances but the peace that passes understanding is there, for myself. I have hope for others but I don’t sense peace for others, maybe that is so that I will still do justice. I can’t explain why, but when I haven’t yet experienced personally that peace of God regarding a particularly painful event in my life, hearing anything to the tune of ‘everything happens for a reason’ is nauseating. I’m not really talking to anyone here, just sayn’, that’s all.

  34. Patti,

    That is pretty profound. I particularly like you are not talking to anybody, but just sharing your own perspective on the pain you have experienced. I touch on this very subject in next week’s message from Hebrews. Thanks for the comment.

  35. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

  36. I don’t think we can compare what Joseph went through to anybodys situation in how God works things out for the good. God had a plan to save the people from famine. This comparison is also bogus due to the fact that he was reunited with his brothers and that he was the kings right hand man(due to God’s plan). The reality for most is that life never ends up this way. There is no such thing as a fairy tale ending in this life and there are no questions answered as to how things have worked out for the good. At best, we can only speculate or assume how things have worked out for our good. But no real answers. So what I really see is that this scripture is over used and for me personaly, it doesn’t bring any comfort to me at all. My comfort comes from that this life is temporary and one day I will be in complete peace.

  37. Thank-you All for such gracious & kind words. It does my heart good. I am thankful for the loving kindness coming through all your different voices. I have been babysitting my 2 year old grand daughter since early morning otherwise I would have responded earlier… She brings such joy, takes my mind off myself, such a gift from our Lord.

  38. Anon 1 wrote:

    (Funny that the Pharisees did not think that is what God was like and wanted to kill him for daring to equate Himself with God by calling Him “His Father”)

    The rueful irony is that there is no shortage of Evangelical Pharisees even today who think they’ve got the Almighty all figured out in a box of connected dots.

  39. “So what I really see is that this scripture is over used and for me personaly, it doesn’t bring any comfort to me at all. My comfort comes from that this life is temporary and one day I will be in complete peace.”

    Stormy, For me, one piece I see missing a lot with examples like these is that Jesus Christ did actualy redeem us fully which means every believer can should live as redeemed on this earth now. Making where we are better because we are here. We do not act like it at all. We are to be full of justice, mercy love, compassion, help, etc, etc, here and now. But most Christians say, “I will pray for you” and wait around for God to change it. It will never be perfect but we are to be his representatives here. And one day, He is going to join it all up. (See Rev 21)

    How we live now is important as in our works flow because we are saved. It really took me a while to grasp this. So many have tried to make that an evil as if it is works salvation. It isn’t. WE cannot earn justification. That is a done deal.

    I am seeing so many people afraid to speak up about what they see in the church! That probably was the big thing for me…the fake peace, the silencing… in the face of so much evil and cruelty. There was more empathy for the abusers and really bad guys than there were for victims! All the abuser had to say was sorry or I repent and all rejoiced as if that is a done deal.

  40. @ dee:

    Eternal separation from God (whatever that looks like) would do the job for me. I plan on eternal togetherness with God and all the saints. The saints being whomever God claims as one of His own.

  41. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Why did I survive and this little girl over here did not? I have been told it was because I was marked for something special. Well, that’s not really that comforting and also, the only way I will accept that I am special is under the premise that we are all special. So again, why did I survive?

    Jeanette, PLEASE know that you are not alone in asking the question of why did I survive?

    God forgive me, but that’s the question: why did I survive? What to do with this fact in the here and now, O Lord, when I feel so deeply that I should not have survived?

    I try to quiet the torment of this question by focusing on my unshakeable knowledge that Jesus went through the disappointments and traumas Himself, so He knows exactly where I stand. And I DO know that someday we’ll rest with Him and have knowledge of things we don’t have now.

    Thank you Debbie for Romans 8:38 – 39. Thank you to whomever noted that we are to live fully in this life, too. And thank you Pastor Wade for your teaching on God’s power, His love, His reign, His comfort and that He is the Balm of Gilead.

  42. @ Jeannette Altes:

    Aw, Jeannette, you’re so sweet. {{{Hug}}} back to ya!

    @ dee:

    Dee, your story about Petunia is so incredibly heartbreaking. Thank you so much for giving her a safe and loving home! That reminds me of a certain abused stray cat whose trust I was determined to win. It was my goal for her to someday feel safe in my arms. She was afraid to come near me at first, but eventually she began to creep toward me. Soon it was clear that she’d claimed me as her human. It was the greatest feeling in the world to be able to show her love and give her a sense of safety!

    @ Scooter’s Mom:

    Hey, thank you so much! I am going to pray the same thing…

    @ stormy:

    Comment of the year, in my book!

    @ Julie Anne:

    Julie Anne… I remember the night it suddenly hit me: God, as my father (and mother) has never hurt me. Not once has he even tried… After all of this time being in relationship with him, he “leaves me alone.” It still stuns me. Here I am, vulnerable to him, should he decide to harm me. To my amazement, the thought never seems to cross his mind…wow. Yet, I too, have trouble imagining myself sitting on his lap. That’s unsafe/uncomfortably close.

  43. @ Julie Anne:
    @ Oasis:
    Hmmm…sitting in his lap. Not an easy image to see. As I was reading these comments, I was reminded of the very first nightmare I remember having.

    I was 3 years old. It began with me alone watching TV – but the was an ‘uneasy’ feeling in the air. Then my mom was yelling about the TV. Then we were alone in a big white space with the TV showing white noise and my mother in a wooden rocker and me in her lap. She was angry and I was terrified.

    All these years and I’m still not sure the full meaning – but laps are not a comforting image for me…..

  44. @ Jeannette Altes: also, Julie Anne and Oasis
    I am sorry that traditional places of comfort are not safe for you. I’d like to offer you this image instead. Years ago, after breaking off my engagement, I had a dream that left me feeling so loved by God. The dream was of a shimmering, warm blue sea and I was amongst a crowd of people jumping off a grassy cliff top into the sea then swimming back to climb the cliff to jump off again and again. Usually, my dreams of the sea are quite menacing but this was welcoming and exciting like the ultimate summer holiday. I just knew that this sea represented God and that I could throw myself into Him and be safe.

  45. I have so appreciated this heartfelt exchange. I, too, thought Stormy’s comment was excellent.

    Stormy said:

    “My comfort comes from that this life is temporary and one day I will be in complete peace.”

    Here is a song dedication that I hope will bring peace and comfort to those who are struggling.

    No More Night

  46. Oasis

    I believe that you can tell a lot about a person when you learn they have successfully helped an abused animal. You can’t play mindgames with animals. Consistent affection and care almost always works but it can take a long, long time. So, I now know Oasis is a nice person! (I knew it before but I really know it now).