December 4, 2012 by Stacy McDonald

Pain and Suffering…Past and Present

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Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. – Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford

A while back, I did a study using Martha Peace’s book, Damsels in Distress. The last chapter focused on responding biblically to trials. It was a good chapter, and I found myself examining the various trials I’ve experienced in my life and whether or not I’ve always responded to them in a godly way. To my shame, I determined that I am often a great big failure at trials; but, thankfully God uses them in my life anyway. With God, nothing is wasted.

And that’s the point. Mrs. Peace reveals how trials may initially bring out the worst in us: anger, bitterness, fear, laziness, self-focus, etc. And isn’t that the truth? Our first reaction to stress or tribulation may expose hidden sin that needs to be purged, as the “worst in us” is revealed. Yet, as Mrs. Peace points out, God uses conflict and trials to expose and show us our sin, prune it off, and grow in us the precious fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).

“But thankfully, this ‘worst’ is pruned off as God convicts us of our sin and helps us turn from sin to righteousness. The pain from God’s pruning will fade as the fruit of righteousness flowers for all to see.” – Martha Peace

Often, trials expose in us a wrong understanding or view of God. Many times the “why?” we ask God, in regards to the purpose or meaning of our pain, is actually a sinful demand of Him for an explanation. We may give God a great big list of “all the things” we’ve done for Him, and ask, “This is what I get in return?”

This exposes in us a spirit of unthankfulness and a wrong view of God. It proves that we are under the impression that God owes us something; when, in fact, we owe Him everything. Forgetting His goodness and mercy, forgetting His sovereignty, forgetting His love for us, forgetting to be grateful to Him for everything He’s done for us, we are blinded and consumed by our pain. We want answers…and we want them now.

However, if we are fully persuaded of His goodness, if we trust His sovereignty, if we know His love, and give Him thanks in all things, including the suffering He brings, then we will walk through suffering praising His name, comforted by His peace, and growing in grace. We will welcome His painful pruning and embrace His healing touch – bearing precious fruit in the end. A proper view of God and His nature matters…a lot.

God is mighty and sovereign. Read Job chapters 38-30 when you’re tempted to question God:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?…Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.” (Job 38:4-7, 40:2)

When I consider God’s sovereignty, I find myself answering with Job:

“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.” (Job 40:4)

Another thing this study made me realize is that God uses all of our trials for our good and His glory – even the trials we experienced before we became Christians. After all, before we knew Him, He knew us very well. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

The following image is a picture of the type of back brace I wore as a child. I was required to wear this contraption 24 hours a day to slow down the progression of scoliosis in my back. At the end of the seven years, with an 82 degree s-curve, I underwent back surgery to fuse my spine. After that, I wore a body cast for nine months…and then I was “free.” Or so I thought.

I recall all sorts of irreverent thoughts I had during those 7 years, and shudder. Some I even spoke aloud to God in bed at night: “Why are You punishing me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Why did You make me – just so that I would be miserable?” “How can You be truly good when You make me suffer like this?” “Please, please, please, just let me die.” I remember these thoughts and the emotions that went with them vividly.

Though I suffered during my “brace years” from physical pain, emotional trauma, humiliation, and fear, nothing compared to the pain brought about by my own sin, and by my misunderstanding of God and His nature. You see, I hated what others could see, my physical deformity and the brace that made it so obvious to others. But secretly, I knew it was even worse than that. I knew how ugly I was on the inside. I knew my secret, wicked thoughts and desires. I knew I was no good – inside or out.

My utter separation from God left me angry, terrified, isolated, broken, and despairing. Yet God used my “poor self image” and my “unresolved anger” to bring me closer to seeing my sin and my deep, deep need for Jesus. Even after I was able to shed my back brace, and body cast, the twisted ugliness inside remained. I was still miserable, bitter, insecure, fearful, and filled with shame. My sin remained. But, in the midst of it, God was working.

Years later, after becoming a Christian, God began to show me the “work” He had begun in me even before I knew Him. He’s still faithfully doing that work. The suffering I experienced those many years ago was not in vain. He is still using it for my good and His greater glory.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

How about you? Are you allowing the trials of life and the trauma of the past to rule your life? Or are you thanking God for your trials and trusting His goodness, His sovereignty, and His love for you, knowing that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose?” (Romans 8:28)

“All things” means all things. Know that God gives us trials because He loves us enough to mold us and conform us into His image. All the trials He sends our way are motivated by His love for us, and He provides rest, preservation, strength, and comfort along the way, even if we aren’t able to to see it at the time. Pray right now that God would prepare you ahead of time to endure trials to His glory. Ask Him to help you respond biblically to deep hurts and minor irritations alike. All to the glory of God!

Points to remember when going through a trial:

1. God is good. (Psalm 100)
2. God is sovereign (Job 38-30)
3. God loves His own (Heb. 12:6)
4. Thank God. (1 Thes. 5:18)
5. The trial is for your good: your discipline, pruning, molding, and shaping. (Rom. 8:28)
6. The purpose is for God’s ultimate glory. (John 11:4)
7. God is merciful toward us (Eph. 2:4)



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31 Responses to “Pain and Suffering…Past and Present”

  1. The Editrix says:

    My first thought when I saw this post was “What on earth is that hideous contraption?” Ugh! How horrible to be wearing that brace 24 hours a day for so many years. Thankyou for writing this post Stacy, and thankyou for sharing about trials from your own experiences.

    This is such a difficult topic – I’m afraid I don’t always respond in a God-honouring way when faced with a crisis, or even minor problems.

    Thanks again for sharing from your heart about this.

  2. Sherrin says:

    Thanks for sharing about your suffering and the way God has used it. I also have a back problem (due to a car accident). It is an encouragement to you me that you have been able to persevere through your trials and go on to bear and raise 10 children! This gives me hope that the various trials we endure in life need not stop us from doing God’s will.

    Do you have ongoing pain from your scoliosis?

    I have also found that trials bring out my sin. It is encouraging to be reminded that God uses even this ugliness to accomplish his purposes.

  3. Stacy McDonald says:

    Editrix – None of us can respond well when faced with a crisis – at least not on our own. As we grow to be more like Jesus, His glory will shine through, and we will respond with Christ-likeness. That’s why I think we should start praying ahead, so that when we’re faced with a trial, we won’t be “cramming” in prayer at the last minute! ;-)

    Sherrin – I do have back pain, but not too bad, except for a few episodes once or twice a year. I’ve learned to know my limits on what I’m able to do.

    God has been gracious throughout my pregnancies (I only gave birth to 6 of my 10 children) and I’ve only had a significant back issue during one pregnanncy.

  4. Beck's Bounty says:

    I have been pondering just this very thing lately in my quiet time … how differently we respond to trials as "mere humans", how those responses potentially change as we become Children of God, and even more so, how exactly we should respond to trials in a Godly manner.

    Thank you for recommending this book (now on my bookstore list), and for sharing your inspiring personal story.

    Grace & Peace.
    MomToCherubs
    http://www.becksbounty.blogspot.com

  5. Christine says:

    Stacy, thank you for posting this. God’s timing is perfect and I needed to hear this. I’ve been very discouraged for a long time about a couple of different things going on in my life right now. I’m ordering Mrs. Peace’s book right away! Our family has been through a great trial, and though we’re on the end of it, it seems like it’s worse now than before. I have been neglecting to Trust God’s love in this and also to thank God for this trial…I’ll be working on that! God bless you.

  6. Chief Cook and Bottle Washer says:

    Thank you, Stacy, for sharing these thoughts. I’ve slipped into a terrible attitude lately over some different issues and your writing is a bit of the medicine I need.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Intriguing post, Stacy; thank you for bravely sharing your pain.

    I’ve had recent trials that have shaped me wonderfully, but I’ve also learned what pain comes from God and what pain comes from Satan. Some things are sent or allowed by God for our good, whereas others are sick, vile and unmentionable things that come only from Satan’s filthy plotting; as Beth Moore pointed out, the clearest difference is shame, which Satan constantly works with. The wonderful news is that God is faithful to us through BOTH kinds of pain.

    The trials God used for me had to do with anxiety, a terrible acid-like sort. I don’t believe God made me anxious, but He used the feeling of isolation it gave me to teach me how to lean on Him alone. Usually, when I fell into one of my worst anxious states, upon hearing something upsetting, I’d turn a tearful face to God and plead, “That’s not so, is it Lord?” And God would cut through my fog of fear with comfort and reassurance, whether in a silent message or physical proof that no, things were not as bad as I thought. Then the day came when I found an awful conundrum, and God offered no physical proof or respite like He usually did. I was beside myself; why didn’t He answer? He told me, then, that His answer on the topic I was obsessing over was the same answer as always; this time, however, He simply wasn’t offering any proof other than His own word. I would just have to trust Him. And you know what? I did.

    In a strange way, I look back on those nights of anxiety with almost fondness. Because, whether I was relying on God alone or waiting fearfully for an answer from another person, there was no one else but God who truly understood my struggle and was there in the late-night hours. The comfort He gave me, like warm water over a cold body, was heavenly. I’m stronger now than I was before, because I’ve learned what it means to trust Him alone.

    Thank you Stacy for this great post. And that gorgeous photograph at the top! I’ve got to save it..

    Thank you again for not getting lost in the political stuff, btw. So many bloggers have, and it’s such a relief to come here and speak of Godly matters rather than stressing over human ones.

  8. A Dusty Frame says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been living a trial for the last several years.
    God has been so faithful to teach me soooo much!
    But sometimes I get discouraged and tired. I have been feeling like this lately and your post was a great reminder to me to once again remember it’s not at all about me.
    Lizzie

  9. Jennifer says:

    Christine, If I may I’d love to recommend a few other books that majorly helped me. They are “Steadfast Heart” by Elyse Fitzpatrick, “Self Talk Soul Talk” by Jennifer Rothschild, “God’s Precious Love” by Joni Erickson Tada, and “Secure in the Everlasting Arms” by Elisabeth Elliot. These books are simply amazing and changed my life. If you don’t believe in Calvinism, you may have to take a couple with a grain of salt, but other than that they’re pretty much perfect.

  10. Stacy McDonald says:

    Jennifer, you said:

    “but I’ve also learned what pain comes from God and what pain comes from Satan. Some things are sent or allowed by God for our good, whereas others are sick, vile and unmentionable things that come only from Satan’s filthy plotting…”

    God is in control of all things. He is NOT the author of sin, but Satan does not have any power over us that God does not grant him. And if He grants it, it is for our good and His ultimate glory – all things are orchestrated by God. God is all powerful; Satan is not.

    Sometimes we give Satan too much credit. He is a defeated foe. The shame you speak of is a painful, human response to sin (whether real or imagined). The anxiety you refer to is a product of not fully trusting God (I’ve dealt with that myself many, many times!). It is, in fact, fear.

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” (Philippians 4:6, NKJV)

    It would be a very scary thing to think that God was not in control of even the tragedies in our lives. If He sat on the side lines wringing His hands, wishing He could have stopped our trials or tragedies, and was helpless to do anything but comfort us afterward, it would mean that God wasn’t… well…God.

  11. The Editrix says:

    Stacy – good thoughts about asking God to prepare our hearts ahead of time before we face a major crisis in our lives. When life is relatively easy and pleasant, it’s so easy for me to become complacent in a lot of areas, particularly when it comes to my relationship with God!

    Thankyou for this timely reminder. . .

  12. Kathy, Jeff's Wife says:

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing this story.

    My trail is a prodigal child (boy-20yrs old). I buried a baby when she was 1 1/2 days old, but nothing has hurt as this current child’s rebellion, he left home at 18. Nothing has caused me to doubt God as this has, although I DO trust him.

    I think the biggest part of my trial, and maybe with all trails, is that I want to know everything will be OK in the end. I want to know he will not die in rebellion. I also know that makes me desire God’s position, because why would we need to walk by faith if we knew everything? ;o)

    This trial has most definitely brought out so much ugliness (sin) in me, for which I am constantly repenting and moving forward; striving to continue in prayer, being patient in tribulation, and rejoicing in hope!

    Thank you again,
    Kathy
    http://TeachingGoodThings.com

  13. Kelly says:

    I so needed this to ponder right now…thank you for your post…I will be reading and re-reading it over the course of the next few days for sure.
    In Christ,
    Kelly

  14. Molly Underwood says:

    wonderful thoughts Stacy.

    Merciful God- blessed people are we!

  15. Jennifer says:

    “all things are orchestrated by God”

    I don’t believe that, and I never will. I guess I should explain, Stacy, that I’m the most anti-Calvinist person you’ll ever meet. I’ve never understood why some people would prefer to think that God does evil things than suppose that He couldn’t stop them; I certainly wouldn’t! I’d feel less safe with a God who occasionally breaks His own rules then a God who couldn’t stop certain things. Now, I’m not saying I DO believe God couldn’t stop them; I’m just saying I don’t believe He orchestrated them and, unlike some, I don’t equate that with meaning He’s helpless. So, why did they happen? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care; I don’t need all the answers, and I’d rather be clueless as to why a tragedy happened than claim that God did it because I can’t think of any other reason. I know Satan’s filth is not from God, and what filth has been in my own life from him, you can’t imagine and I’ll never repeat. I’d destroy my own brain, rake off my own skin, before I ever credited God with that filth. It’s not giving Satan too much credit to say that he thinks up things God never would. He’s been the defeated foe for centuries, which is why he still vengefully attacks those who are saved and who are not.

    I hope I haven’t offended; please forgive me if I have! I speak strongly from the bruises I still carry.

  16. Amanda says:

    Thank you for sharing, I am going to order this book! We are going through some pretty difficult trials right now, and I must admit sometimes I find myself unhappy with the way I respond to them. Outside I seem fine, but my heart has questioned “why us, why me?”. Thankfully the Lord has reminded me of other trials we have been through, and what we took from them.

    When our second child was a baby she was very sick. She spent two months in the hospital, and went through a dangerous surgery at two weeks, and again at seven months. We were told she might not live past the age of three. I remember when we were rushing her to the hospital for the second time asking God for strength to face whatever was ahead. It was a hard three years, but we learned so much from it. We learned to trust God in everything, and to be truly thankful for all that He gives us, we also learned that we can’t rely on our own strength for anything. When Abigail celebrated her third birthday we were so overjoyed that she had made it, and she would be fine. Her doctors called her a miracle. Three days after her birthday we discovered that I was pregnant again. After Kaitlin was born she was diagnosed with down syndrome, and unfortunately my first thought was “haven’t we been through enough Lord?”, but the Lord reminded me the lessons I had learned through our trials before. I repented for questioning, looked at my sweet baby girl and thanked God for her.

    And now, here we are, going through more trials. We have been praying for another child for three years now, finances aren’t the best, and other trials are in our lives that we must face. Sometimes when it is too much for me to handle, I ask God for forgiveness and strength. I know I can’t do it alone.

    Blessings,
    Amanda

  17. Jennifer says:

    Good heavens, I just re-read part of your post and saw not only that awful contraption again, but that you had a body cast for so long. Poor Stacy!

    What a beautiful life you have now, though :) God is indeed great.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That was beautiful, Stacy, thank you. The trials I have experienced are pretty minimal compared to many others I know, but this really spoke to me.

    I know a family who has lost 2 of their 3 children to cancer (different types) in the last 12 years. Their 7-year-old went home to Jesus just last month. Still, though they miss their children terribly, they give glory to God, that he is sovereign. They are truly my inspiration.

    As are you — that back brace must have been awful!

    You have a beautiful family. That grandbaby is precious. :0)

    God bless your family, Lisa

  19. James McDonald says:

    Jennifer,

    I pray I don’t offend you by what I am going to share. That is not my purpose. But I do encourage you to look through these sections of Scripture. What you will find is that God is not surprised by Satan at all. And you will find that God does not break His own rules. The Bible, the Word of the Lord, speaks much better on these things then I could. So, let’s let the Word speak…

    Deuteronomy 28:59: Then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses.

    Deuteronomy 28:61: Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.

    Joshua 24:20: If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.

    1 Kings 9:9: Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them.’

    1 Kings 14:10: Therefore behold! I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free; I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as one takes away refuse until it is all gone.

    1 Kings 21:21: Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free.

    1 Kings 22:23: Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.

    2 Kings 21:12: Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle.’

    Proverbs 16:4: The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

    Isaiah 10:23: For the Lord God of hosts will make a determined end in the midst of all the land.

    Isaiah 45:7: I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.

    Jeremiah 11:11: Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them.’

    Jeremiah 11:23: And there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.

    Jeremiah 23:12: “Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,” says the Lord.

    Jeremiah 25:29: For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’

    Jeremiah 29:4: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon…

    Jeremiah 42:17: So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them.

    Jeremiah 49:8: Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will punish him.

    Daniel 9:14: Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.

    Amos 3:6: If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

    Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

    Acts 2:22-24: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

    Acts 4:27-28: “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

    Pretty compelling. The Lord is in control. He is our sovereign King. Nothing is outside His control. And, even when we can’t see it, all things bring Him glory.

    Grace and peace,

  20. Stacy McDonald says:

    Jennier,

    Yes, I do realize that you are not Reformed. :-) Though, I must say, I can’t imagine going through life thinking God is not in complete control of His universe. How scary. To think that He couldn’t harness Satan – that He couldn’t keep evil from touching me.

    If you think that God is only in control of the good things that happen, do you think that Satan overpowers God so that he can create havoc whenever he wants?

    Please know that God is not the author of sin, the creator of evil, yet Satan is powerless to touch us without God’s express permission. If He allows Satan to touch us, it is because it is part of His plan – for our sanctification and for His ultimate glory.

    ““Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” (Job 5:17-18, NKJV)

    ” Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1, NKJV)

    “‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39, NKJV)

    “So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”” (Job 2:4-6, NKJV)

    God governs all things for His good purposes. He loves us. And while I don’t know why we must suffer at the hands of the wicked at times, I trust God and I know that He is in control of it all and will use it for our good and His glory. It is for His good purposes that we suffer – it is not in vain.

  21. Jennifer says:

    James, thank you for your careful wording. Never fear, you couldn’t possibly offend me more than Calvinists already have. The passages you quoted are indeed compelling, but convincing of Calvinism? Not a chance. The passages you used were taken out of context and spoke almost entirely of specific cases in the OT, and of PUNISHMENT. It’s dangerous to tell people they’re suffering because God is punishing them.

    And Stacy: you are kind, sweet and patient. But I said I don’t believe God causes evil, and I meant it. Either He does, or He does not, there’s no in-between.

    “If He allows Satan to touch us, it is because it is part of His plan – for our sanctification and for His ultimate glory.”

    James and Stacy: When Satan strikes me with filth so disgusting you can’t imagine it, that’s for my good? I see. When women have their clitorises chopped off in some demonic country, that’s for their good? When children are kidnapped and raped for years on end, you’d rather believe that God wanted that than suppose Satan authorized it? When Satan fills my mind with images of children being abused and calls me a filthy person, to the point where I consider suicide, that’s for God’s glory? Or is that punishment for something I’ve done? I don’t find the answers you’ve offered me to be satisfactory or comforting at all. Better to let me be.

  22. Stacy McDonald says:

    “I think the biggest part of my trial, and maybe with all trails, is that I want to know everything will be OK in the end.”

    Kathy, I think I’m like you. I want to know that too. Yet, God hasn’t given us the option of knowing the future. He asks us to trust Him. That is so hard – especially for those of us who like to “manage” and plan everything.

    Still, He does promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) So, in a sense, everything will be “ok” in the end. We just need to trust God with whatever “the end” will be.

  23. Jennifer says:

    James and Stacy, I wanted to say thank you for your caring posts. Even though I disagree with Reformed Christianity, I really appreciate that you tried to help me. Thank you :)

  24. teecha says:

    Hi Stacy. I am struggling right now and was hoping for some advice/encouragement. I became a Christian in my early 20′s. Before that my life was full of sin and rebellion and very poor choices. For the past couple of days thoughts have been popping into my mind of things I did that are so vile that I almost have to vomit. I don’t know how to stop them. I try to quote scripture, sing hymns even say those sins are paid in full. I am not able to stop them. I am a nervous wreck because of it and need help in having victory in this area. Has this happened to anyone? Is it just showing me how disguisting my sin is? I don’t know anyone who has struggled with this to this extent. Thanks for any suggestions and of course prayers!
    Theresa

  25. Jennifer says:

    Oh Teecha, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I went through a similar attack recently, and I know the desperation it can bring.

    Here are a few things I’ve learned: firstly, talk to someone you know about this. A husband, a parent, a pastor, preferably someone who’s been a Chrisian longer than you; believe me, it can make all the difference!! Satan works with feelings of isolation and shame; he wants you to feel alone, as though you’re the only one who’s ever been made to feel this way or who has ever sinned, that’s one of his trademarks! If you are being attacked by Satan, it’s often a sign that you’re doing very well in God’s work. Satan wants to injure you, to keep you enslaved in the past so you cannot move forward and glorify God; he wants to hinder your work in the Father. Cast him out, in Christ’s name; remember that God has forgiven you all your sins, He has died with your sins on Him and killed them thus, and in His eyes you are now as fresh as a newborn babe. God has no memory of your sins, no condemnation of you for them, and it is what HE says and thinks that matters, not Satan. If you feel a threat from Satan start to approach, say “I am not like that, and praise God forever because of it.” Praising God and seeing yourself as He sees you is the last thing Satan wants you to do, and it is effectively beating him. Never believe Satan and, as Liz Curtis Higgs says, don’t even argue with him; when you hear his approach, run for the King, hide your face in Him, and let Him cast out the evil one.

    Also know, this may take time. Be patient with yourself and don’t despair. I’ll be praying hard for you.

  26. Tehila says:

    Stacy, this post was amazing! Thank you for sharing your personal story with your readers, and for so tangibly showing us how you have turned to the Lord through your trials, and beyond…

    My mother and sister were killed in a car accident a few years ago. My sister was in her 9th month of pregnancy, and the baby she was carrying died too. For years I lost my trust in God. I had the “look what happened when I trusted you, so I’m not going to trust you anymore” attitude. By God’s grace, I still walked with Him during those years, but I was holding alot back from Him, and trying to control my own life and destiny.

    I didn’t realize that if he had allowed that tragedy (in my mind) to occur, that He had equipped me and would help me to live with it. I felt that He had done His thing with my mom and sister, and now I had to pick up the pieces after Him. My attitude was so sinful and irreverent, and I am deeply ashamed of my response to the trial that He brought into my life.

    Understanding His Sovereignty was a key factor for me, in overcoming the rebellion and turning once again to trust in my Lord wholeheartedly. Even though I still don’t understand the “Why?” I am completely at peace with it all now, and trust in my King who does everything in my life, for my good, and His Glory!!! He is good!!

    Thank you for this post, it has reminded me of how far He has brought me, and how worthy He is!

  27. ChristyH says:

    I have tears in my eyes as I read your post. I am reminded of the ugliness in my heart both from the and the current ugliness I feel towards some. The Lord has used trials of my life to sharpen my focus on Him and to prune me. Pruning hurts, but it helps get rid of the ugly stuff.

  28. Jennifer says:

    Tehila, you don’t have to believe God caused that in your life; it’s very hard to struggle with the question sometimes of did He or didn’t He, and if you’re Reformed that’s your faith, but I do think it’s best not to think God crushed you with sorrow and is now thinking, “I gave you a trial to prove yourself, and this is how you react?” He knows pain. Huh, I’m saying this now after the worst night of my life where I said unpardonable things to Him about a trial, a horrific attack and partial death, within; I’ve asked for forgiveness and will do so again. I’m by no means healed, but my functioning and planning for the day with dry face alone must show He’s been at work.

    I’m still tentative; I’m still limping, but luckily not with fear, just..tiredness. Don’t think He expects a joyful voice raised in song no matter what the consequences; He knows what we’re made of, and forgives you. I’ve been partially fractured myself for some time, and last night cracked me down the hull. I guess this is sign of His Spirit alone, that I’m telling someone else He’s there for you when I’m not yet whole again myself.

  29. Chris says:

    My pastor said something in one of his sermons that is an encouragement to me when going through trials where I’m left questioning “why?”. It puts my head back on straight! It was something to the affect of “no matter what we are experiencing, it’s better than what we deserve – which is eternal punishment in hell.” A very sobering thought, but it’s true and it reveals how merciful God is. He doesn’t give us what we really do deserve, and then promises to actually work all things out for our good (Rom. 8:28).

  30. Jennifer says:

    That’s a pastor’s encouragement? When broken or nearly broken by Satan’s lies, had God told me this, I would have been shattered beyond repair.

  31. TJ says:

    Thank you Mr. and Mrs. McDonald for the carefully written article and biblical responses.
    I know what I deserve, and I am so thankful the Lord opened my eyes and saved my soul.
    I read Psalm 116 yesterday and have memorized vs 7 for the anxious or just rushed and hurried times of my life/day:
    ‘Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.’
    and vs 16 for my responsive thankfulness:
    ‘O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.’
    Amen.
    Mrs. TJ

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