“For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”
You may not have even been born in the
1950’s, but I’m sure you’ve heard of “Leave it to Beaver.” Ward and
June Cleaver were the perfect parents, and any problems Wally or
Beaver (mostly Beaver) had could be solved with their Dad’s gentle
wisdom in 30 minutes. Wouldn’t it be great if life were really that
The reality of life is much different
from the Cleaver sitcom. We lived with two imperfect parents if we
had two parents at all. They didn’t always have the answers and, if
fact, may or may not have had any wisdom. For many people, one or
both parents were absent, substance abuse was prevalent, and the
needs of the kids weren’t met. The children may have been neglected,
abandoned, rejected or even abused.
I know people who are suffering as
adults too. They’ve been betrayed or abandoned, the spouse or loved
one wants out of the relationship, or they’ve been rejected and
ignored by their own kids. They’ve waited for years to find someone
and yet they’re still alone. There’s a desperate illness, heartache,
sorrow or an aching loneliness, and they can’t help but wonder why a
loving God has allowed them to suffer like this. Where was God when
their world fell apart?
The answer is simple. God was and is
where He always has always been…“behind you and before you, with you
when you sit down or stand up, seeing everything, hearing every word
and seeing every tear (Psalm
According to verse 3, God “compasses”
our path. Compass is an old English word that means to encircle
something. It also means to contrive or use something to accomplish
a specific purpose. What a wonderful word to describe how God uses
the hurts of our lives for our good and His glory!
Without going into the grim details of
my childhood, I can tell you living with a brutally violent and then
absent father and a mentally ill mother takes dysfunction into a
whole new category. Many years ago, I was chatting with a Christian
friend, who knew about my childhood. He told me the reason I have
this burning passion to “help” people is because no one was there to
help or rescue me when I was a child.
Wow! You mean the reason I’m a
“broken, wounded healer” with a heart for others is because of my
childhood? While I’d much prefer passing right over the “broken” and
“wounded” to the healer part, it’s not the way life or our hearts
work. In my heart I know we live in a world broken by sin, so I know
God didn’t make the bad things happen. What He did was “compass me
about” to protect me when they did and He is now using my pain to be
a blessing to others.
What sorrow or hurt or rejection are
you broken over today? You can be assured by
that God wouldn’t let that hurt come into your life if it weren’t
necessary. Not only will God protect you and walk beside you as you
walk through it, but He will also use your pain to bless others if
you’ll let Him. In the meantime, take a deep, healing breath and
keep on walking, knowing you can trust God’s heart when you cannot
see His hand.
Challenge for Today: What might
happen if we, just for today, trusted that God has “compassed us
about” as we go through the tough times?