Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

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Psalm 119:107
I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised. God’s Word ® Translation

I read Psalm 119:107 during morning devotions a couple of days ago. I was struck, in particular, over the sufferings of several friends and families. So many postings on Facebook about the death of loved ones. Personal trials. Heartache. Medical issues. Hurts. Pain. Suffering.

I also was taken back to my own personal sufferings. The life of sexual abuse I endured as a child. The fear suffered through adolescence and early adulthood. They abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. The heartache of my divorce. Raising my three sons without a godly man in their lives. The sufferings of a single parent: not enough of anything. Loneliness. Depression. Heartache. And, as an adult, suffering through the memory of my childhood. The struggle to become free from the past. Suffering. And, surveying the landscape surrounding me in this space and time, suffering from the loss of my job over two years ago. Running out of savings. Uncertainty of the future. Suffering the loss of my mother — who lived with me for the past 18 years — and the loss of my car, and the loss of my house — all three within six months time.

Pain. Heartache. Suffering.

My life isn’t that much different from anyone else. The whole world suffers. Turn on the nightly news and the suffering of mankind is right in front of us. Well-dressed men and women recite the turmoil, heartache, and debasement of mankind at six, twelve and ten.

Some people suffer for no other reason than pure evil.

There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of innocent children. Abuse. Abandonment. Starvation. Trafficking.

There is so much suffering!

I won’t lie to you. I don’t have all of the answers. I think I have a tiny piece of understanding that helps me make sense of it. I address the subject in my book Whispers From My Heart more in-depth, but I’ll try to give you the shorter version without compromising the heart of the answer.

Did you know Jesus, the Son of God, had to learn obedience?

It’s shocking to think of, isn’t it?
Wasn’t Jesus the only sinless person who ever walked the face of the earth? He was. Yet, we are told, Jesus learned how to be obedient. Look at the first part of Hebrews 5:8

Hebrews 5:8 GOD’S WORD® Translation
Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient…
Other translations say the same thing.

Why would the Son of God need to learn how to be obedient? Didn’t he already know perfect obedience?

The Perfection of God took on the imperfection of humanity: Human Flesh. Flesh in its fallen state. Drawn toward the propensity to sin. Not only did Jesus fight temptation in the desert for forty days after his baptism, he had to fight against the daily lure of sin in his flesh just like we do. His body was 100% human, and his flesh waged a war against his spirit just as the bible says it does against our own flesh (See Heb 4:15, Gal 5:17, James 4:1 & 1 Peter 2:11). We learn through scripture that He was tempted in every way, just like us, but he did not sin. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is how he learned.

We all know we learn through lessons. Hands on experience. So did Jesus.

Let’s read the entire verse of Hebrews 5:8 Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.

So, through suffering, Jesus Christ learned to be obedient.

Hebrews 2:10 GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.

The word suffering in the Greek is

:pathéma: that which befalls one, i.e. a suffering, a passion. In particular for verse 10: 1. that which one suffers or has suffered; a. externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this:

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be.

If Jesus did, and we are to follow his example, then we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer.

1 Peter 4:13 GOD’S WORD® Translation
but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory.

It’s not pretty.
We, as his followers, are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Just take a look at the way the new church in Acts was treated. Look at the way Christians in third world countries are treated. Martyred. We are greeted with words like, “Love not your life until death,” “He who endures to the end,” and “Pick up your cross.” Those are not words of comfort and ease, my friend. They are words of hardship and trials.

Here in the United States, most of us suffer from the things we bring on to ourselves. We disobey God and suffer the consequences of our own decisions, then get mad at God because he is allowing us to suffer. But suffer we should. That suffering, even if it is of our own doing will be our teacher. We will learn.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

1 Peter 4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.

We’ve all suffered. Here on this earth, in this fallen state, we will continue to suffer. And, by those things, we too, like Jesus, will learn how to be obedient to our Father, even to the point of death. Once this life is over, our reward is eternity spent in God’s presence.

This is the life God has promised to those who follow him.

The Apostle Paul tells us the glory waiting for us far outweighs the suffering. I like how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it:

2 Corinthians 4:17
For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities.

If you would like to do a more in-depth study, you can find more scriptures on suffering here.

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           She watched the disgusting child molester as he stalked his next prey. He had been easy to find. All Grace had to do was hang around the park a few days a week and wait for him to show up. It only took a couple of weeks before Jacob Pine made his appearance. He made her stomach turn. She raked her arm with her fingernails in an attempt to quiet the crawling of her skin. Disgusting.  Grace waited patiently for Jacob to get back into his car to go home. She followed him at a safe distance to find out where he lived.

            Grace checked to see if she had all the tools she needed for when she went back to Jacob’s house. “He wouldn’t know what hit him! He was going to pay for his sins.” She would make sure of that. She had watched his house for several nights and knew Jacob would shut the lights off, and be in bed, by 10 p.m. She would wait until 11 p.m., just to make sure he was asleep before she broke in. She had waited for this day for so long, she was actually excited the day was finally here. She was feeling quite giddy.

            Scenes of her childhood played in the back of her mind. There he was. Jacob Pine. Sneaking across the hallway. She could still hear the sound of the floor creaking. The fear that threatened to choke her breath off. “Oh God! Help me. I shouldn’t be here! Why did daddy make me go”? Grace shook her head to clear the images threatening to overtake her. She had to keep her wits about her. She had a job to do. She couldn’t let memories distract her now. “I wonder if he will even remember me.” Grace checked her watch, eleven o’clock. Time to go.

 ~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

            Jacob Pine snuggled down under the cover. A smile crossed his lips as he replayed the day. His granddaughter was getting so big. Watching her play at the park brought him so much joy. Because of his past, Jacob was not allowed to make any kind of contact with his grand daughter, but his daughter gave permission for him to watch her from a distance.

            He had grievously sinned in his life. So many children he had damaged. Sometimes, the guilt was so much he thought he would suffocate. Still. He has spent a little over 10 years in jail. He found forgiveness and eternal life, yet, to him, forgiveness had been given too easily. He didn’t deserve it so freely. He needed to grovel; to beg.

            He should have to crawl a mile on broken glass.

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

           Grace imagined how the scene would play out once she was inside Jacob’s house. Terrorizing him. Hurting him. Making him scream. Tape. Rope. A knife. A gun was too humane. Jacob didn’t deserve humane…

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

Although the names have been changed, the above scenario is based on a true story.

Mine.

Hate. This extreme emotion nearly consumed the majority of my young life. Every day I fantasized about finding the man—the so-called friend of my father’s—who raped me when I was 7 years old. I dreamt of being able to torment him; to exact my revenge on his pathetic life. I yearned for just one moment of revenge when I could expose him for the pedophile he was. My turn to use him for my enjoyment while I ruined his entire life… just as he did mine.

I wanted him to be miserable because I was miserable. I was a mess; his life should be a wreck. I was lost in a dark hole of depression; he didn’t deserve to be happy. He deserved to suffer. I existed in circumstance; he shouldn’t be allowed to flourish.

I imagined searching for this man and inflicting so much pain on him that he would have to beg for his life. Of course, I would have to laugh at such a request. “An eye for an eye,” right? I wanted this man to fully understand that his pain brought me enjoyment. I wanted him to see that his fear and pain was not enough to deter me from what I planned to do. After all, the fear and pain he invoked in me wasn’t enough to deter him from the evil things he did to me. My tears never stopped him from exposing my nakedness, and my innocence, to his vile enjoyment. No, he didn’t deserve mercy.

The hate I felt for this man was real. It was a murderous spirit whispering in my ear. He doesn’t deserve to breathe. I wanted him dead, and I wanted to be the one who killed him. I spent so many years hating this man that plotting his demise is what kept me alive. It gave me a reason to keep marching forward in life. I didn’t think of killing and torturing him every day, but that hatred was always at the ready.

Counseling helped. I learned how to forgive. But letting go of my hatred wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to let go of my hatred because that meant retribution was out of my hands. Letting go meant that my rapist’s punishment no longer up to me. The world said I had the right to carry my hatred.

Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, ‘I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.’”

Is that something I really wanted to do, to put my need for revenge into God’s hands? To trust heaven’s King with the right of repayment I felt I was owed.

Would you?

Could you?

Hate has the ability to color your whole perception. It deadens your heart and poisons your soul. I remember the day God asked me to let go of my hate. I fought him. My heart continued to hurt until I obeyed. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight, but the process brought healing to my heart and peace to my mind

To this day, I do not know if my rapist has ever been caught. I don’t know if he has ever felt remorse, or if he has asked God to forgive him for the sins committed against me. That is between him and God. J.P. will have to answer for what he did.

I encourage you, though, if you are struggling with letting go of hate, obey God’s word and let vengeance remain with him. You will be glad you did.

Be Blessed and Walk In Truth Today.

~Whispers


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