I’ve just been struggling internally these past few days. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, depression maybe? I wasn’t sure. It’s not that I’m unhappy. There’s a lot of good in my life. How is it that a person can feel not unhappy, yet so very sad all at once?
As I was praying about it and trying to work through it and break through this sadness I was feeling, I came to the realization of something. Something that I’ve known but have pushed back.
It was just too painful to acknowledge.
And terrifying to say out loud.
I’m struggling to even write it.
I was still angry.
Angry at what Jeff did. Angry at what she did.
But the thing I’ve been avoiding. Denying.
Pushing down to the most inner depths of myself so that it doesn’t see the light of day,
they aren’t the only ones I’ve been angry at.
As I still do, I prayed a lot in my old life. I prayed specific prayers.
“God, please free Jeff of his addiction so that He can be the person you made him to be.”
“God, please don’t let his addiction lead him to have an affair, and if he ever finds himself in that situation, do something to stop it. Don’t allow him to cross that line. Protect our marriage and our family.”
The movie “The War Room” is very popular right now. It inspires many to pray more intentionally and specifically for their families and their marriages. And I think that’s wonderful. But I also find it hard to watch. Because it’s a little too close to home. And because the wife in that movie prays those prayers. The very same ones I prayed.
And in the movie, (spoiler alert) when the husband is about to partake in an affair, God stops him. At the moment that he was about to go off with the other woman, he gets struck with a bout of terrible food poisoning, and is unable to go through with it.
It’s just a movie. But it strikes a chord in the deepest parts of me. Where I’d like to keep these thoughts hidden.
God didn’t stop Jeff.
I was faithful to Jeff.
And I was faithful to God.
And I felt betrayed by them both.
I felt betrayed by them BOTH.
I almost can’t breathe just typing the words.
No, I wasn’t just angry with Jeff or the other woman. I’ve been angry at God.
He could have stepped in. He could have smacked Jeff in the head and given him a divine revelation without having to go through all of this. He could have made his phone malfunction so he didn’t get her messages. He could have kept him from taking that stupid job in the first place. He could have hit him with such conviction as he walked to her car and turned him around and sent him home to me.
He could have given them food poisoning.
He could have intervened. Because He’s God.
But He didn’t.
And I get it. I get that He knew that Jeff had to fall. He knew that was what it would take for him to become the person he was meant to be.
But what about me? Who was looking out for me? What about what this would do to me? Did I not matter?
We’ve all heard people say, “We have God looking out for us, protecting us from any harm that might come to us”. I’ve said it myself on many occasions.
But since all of this happened, when I would hear someone say that, sometimes I would think:
“but He didn’t protect me from this. He didn’t keep this from happening to me. God why did you not protect me from this?”
So God and I had a come to Jesus meeting last night. And I admitted it. All of it. And it was a scary thing to do.
Because He’s God.
And who am I to be mad at God? But there in the shower, I poured it all out.
And ever so softly, ever so tenderly, He reminded me who He is.
You’ve heard the saying, “when God closes one door, He opens another one”.
I believe that the truth is, that there are no closed doors. All the doors are open. Some of them lead to good things, and some of them hold all the things that are the very worst for us.
Now pay attention because I might just blow your mind with this next statement.
God’s not up there opening or closing any doors.
The doors are simply there.
And WE choose which to walk through and which not to.
He simply walks with us, no matter which door we choose.
Does He sometimes protect us from bodily harm, such as keeping us from an accident? Yes, I believe in those cases He sometimes does intervene. But when it comes to matters of the heart and of the soul, and whether or not we close those doors or walk through them,
the choices are always left to us.
God didn’t intervene.
He didn’t stop Jeff from making the choices to do the horrible things he did. He didn’t stop him from stepping through that door. Because that’s not who He is.
It’s not because God didn’t love me. It’s not because He didn’t want to spare me that pain.
It’s because He doesn’t force himself on anyone.
It’s because Jeff had to choose.
And I wasn’t the only one that was heartbroken. God was heartbroken too.
And He never turned away from me. He reminded me of the way He spoke to me, before I knew the truth. The way He clearly let my spirit know that all was not well. The way I answered that nudging by pleading with Him to show me what I was missing. To show me what I couldn’t see. He reminded me of his gentle whisper the next morning of what I would later learn was Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open”. He reminded me how He spoke that to me all day long. I didn’t know what it meant. Was that a scripture? Had I read that before? I wasn’t sure. But I heard Him speak it to me over and over, until I started repeating it aloud in the car that afternoon. And I said ” I don’t know why I’m hearing this. But I know it’s you. So let it be so. I know there’s more going on with him than I know. Reveal whatever this is that is hidden.”
A few days later, that’s exactly what came to pass. I picked up Jeff’s phone and what popped up on his screen at that very moment was all that had been hidden from me for all those months.
And then God reminded me how He was there. Through every excruciating second of it. He never left my side, and I remembered the sweetness of His presence in the midst of all that pain.
He never promised that bad things wouldn’t happen to us. He never promised that life would treat us fairly.
But He is who He says He is.
And He says that He will turn what is meant for our harm into good.
He says that He is always with us.
He says that when we hurt, He hurts.
He says that He’s my loving Father, and I’m his precious jewel.
Even when I’m angry at Him. Even when I don’t understand.
I told the God of the Universe that I was mad at Him.
And He responded with compassion, and with grace, and with the comfort that only He can give.
He loves me.
He LOVES me.
Oh how He loves me.
And I’m not angry at Him anymore.
Amy Thurston Gordy