I used to be angry with God. I used to be angry with men, too. All men. They were all as bad – creepy, manipulative, deceitful, aggressive, narcissistic, self-serving, you name it. All of them (with the exception of my father, whom I thought was an anomaly). I frankly didn’t rate women much higher, but they had the advantage that they weren’t men…
The first time I went to Celebrate Recovery I sat there imagining an intricate Roman ballista firing cannonballs at the male speaker. A bit like this:
Now while the irony of my having a rather bloke-like brain and finding mathematics and ancient engineering all rather fascinating is funny, the emotions behind it were not.
God showed me that my anger towards all men was wrong. It was simply that the tsunami of pain created by just two men was unfathomable. But when I realised it was wrong, it disappeared. This was the beginning of my journey in grace (if only all the steps were as straightforward). Of course I was left with a whole lot of other stuff to deal with, but it was another layer of the onion (I hate the analogy, because onions never run out of layers, but it demonstrates the healing process).
I gradually overcame my anger towards God, too, as I realised the raw truth: God didn’t do those things to me, people did. Today I watched a video, echoing almost exactly the same words.
So if God didn’t create the hurt, what the heck was it that he intended for me, for all of us? My instinct told me there had to be a reason for it all, otherwise what is the point? It’s utterly meaningless, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says. Julian of Norwich once asked God what the purpose of his revelations (and, I suspect, of life) was, and this is what she wrote:
‘I desired in many ways to know what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after and more, I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said: What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For love. Remain in this, and you will know more of the same. But you will never know different, without end.’ – Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, circa 1400AD
I don’t write this blog as a diary, though it has been somewhat of a catharsis. I know I have been through so much in order that I might share what I have learned. God has shown me things along the way that are only learned through trials and suffering. Some of them are only learned when you become utterly broken. But now I write in order to share, because I hope this will help those who are also going through unutterable pain, especially if you are going through things so taboo you just can’t talk about them to anyone – and it is the type of thing that is never mentioned in church (or if it is, it is referred to as ‘something that happens to other people’).
I also write to encourage those who have not been through trials such as these to be more aware of the needs of those in your community who may have. For example, do you pray in church for the sick within your congregation, but not the wounded? Do you know who the wounded are? Do they have the opportunity to be wounded, and to be part of the congregation, or is the aura of ‘perfect’ Christians living a happy, joyful life so pervasive that these little ones (the vulnerable) feel they don’t belong?