Tag Archive | Christianity

How long will I hurt?

This is a key question when faced with a spouse’s betrayal. Unless someone has walked through the valley of a spouse’s infidelity, they have no idea what the pain feels like and how deeply the soul and spirit are wounded. Finding out your spouse has been having an affair is traumatic. Describing the pain and the myriad of emotions experienced when faced with a spouse’s adultery is impossible. There are no words that adequately describe the depth of emotions and hurt.

I had been hurt, betrayed and rejected by others whom I trusted before I met my husband and long before I discovered his unfaithfulness. The two situations, however, are not comparable. My husband is the one to whom I have bared my soul. He has seen the most vulnerable parts of me, and he has seen the darkest side of me. He knows me like no one else has or ever will, and that is the way God intended marriage to be. My husband and I are one flesh, which is one reason why his betrayal was much worse and much more profound than any other time I have been betrayed. Because we are one flesh, the shredding, tearing, and ripping of my soul and spirit were much more pronounced than any other time I have been rejected and hurt by friends or family. Imagine one flesh as being like glue and paper. When you glue 2 pieces of paper together and try to tear the papers apart, there is no clean break. Part of the paper rips and tears because you cannot separate the papers from the glue or from each other without obvious trauma to the paper.

You will ask yourself many times how much more you can take, how much longer you will hurt, and how long your pain will last. You will ask those same questions of God. But, you will not get an answer. Trust that God’s grace is sufficient to carry you when you can go on no longer. Trust that God will hold you up with his strength long after you have exhausted all your human resources and abilities. Trust that you can heal, and believe that God desires for you to heal. God does not desire for you to spend the rest of your life in the pain you are feeling and living with every waking moment. With that being said, however, you have a part in how long you will hurt and how long it will take you to heal. There are many emotional, psychological and spiritual factors that will affect how long the healing process takes. There is no magic number or length of time that anyone can give you. It may take months or it may take years. The healing process is different for everyone.

Often, when I questioned how much longer I would hurt, I found myself trying to rush the process. I began to think that I should be past certain feelings or thoughts affecting me so deeply. There were some areas where healing took place rather quickly, but there were also areas where the process seemed incredibly slow and I struggled greatly. I came to realize eventually that I could not rush healing. Healing was not going to be a one time and it’s done event, either. Instead, it was much like peeling an onion–each layer being pulled off only to reveal another layer until you get to the core. With such profound pain and betrayal, there are many layers to work through, and each layer presents unique challenges and issues. I gradually realized that I had to confront each issue, each feeling, each thought, as it came. I could only look past one aspect for so long. Eventually, I had to face each one and resolve it. As part of this, I had to discipline myself to bring my thoughts and emotions captive to God, and I had to learn to recognize when my thoughts and emotions were getting out of control. Please do not ignore your feelings and thoughts or the issues that your spouse’s infidelity caused. You must deal with them or they will nag you and eat away at you, and you will never heal.

Healing can be a painful process because we have to face parts of ourselves that we would rather ignore. In order to move past the pain, we have to confront all the pain, anger, fear, and trauma that exist. When you are in such enormous pain, the last thing you want to do is confront the pain and deal with the trigger of the pain. You would rather remain numb, but numbness will never lead to healing. Confronting these things takes much courage and strength, much of which will have to come from God. Further, you have to be determined to heal. You have to make the choice at some point to deal with your feelings and thoughts so that the wall of pain begins to crumble. At first, you may think that you are not making any progress in your path to healing, but do not let that perception hinder you. Remember, there are numerous layers to confront and the issues and feelings are complex. Healing will take much time and effort. It is not easy and there is no quick fix. Your heart and life have been shattered. Picking up all the pieces, trying to sort out the mess, and beginning to put yourself back together requires hard work, commitment, and great resolve. Much like the process of forgiveness, many things will have to revisited, and with it, you must make a new commitment to continue to move forward and allow yourself to undergo the healing process. You will have setbacks, so expect that and realize setbacks are a normal part of healing.

I want to admonish you to remember the importance of forgiveness. If you have not forgiven your spouse, you cannot move forward to healing. You must not allow yourself to continue to dwell on and rehearse the wrongs done to you. Stop heaping more damage on your wound by constantly messing with it. These things will only lead to more anger and bitterness, which are the very things that will keep you from being able to truly and fully forgive. You cannot move forward as long as you choose to remain tied to the past. Also, if your spouse remains unrepentant and continues the affair, your healing process will be hindered. If you are serious about desiring to be healed and restored, forgive your spouse, release all your pain and negative emotions and thoughts to God, and surrender to His leading. He knit you together in your mother’s womb, so He most definitely can put your heart, soul, and life back together, even if your spouse refuses to repent and your marriage cannot be salvaged. God’s hand is not too short to reach out to heal you in the midst of such circumstances.

My husband’s affair lasted for approximately two years. The affair ended in 2009, and I still have unexpected and errant thoughts and the accompanying sting of pain on occasion. You may think that because I still have momentary seconds of pain that I have not healed, but I disagree. The pain is from a scar that was the result of tremendous emotional and psychological trauma. From time to time, the scar is rubbed the wrong way, so to speak, and a brief sting of pain arises. To use a practical example, I have a scar on the little toe of my right foot that has existed since I was about 16 years old. To this day, if my toe is touched in such a way to aggravate or rub against the scar, I feel a little pain. My toe completely healed, but the scar remains. That is how your healing will be, too, so do not get discouraged.

I want to share a story from Genesis 32:22-31 that illustrates this concept and message of this post. In this passage of scripture, Jacob, who had spent most of his life lying, deceiving, and tricking people, is visited by an angel of the Lord. The angel and Jacob wrestled all night, and Jacob refused to give up. The angel realized he could not overpower Jacob, so he reached out and touched Jacob’s hip, wrenching it out of socket. As morning approached, Jacob told the angel he would only stop fighting against him if the angel blessed him. In verse 28, the angel of the Lord told Jacob: “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and you have overcome.” In verse 29, the angel of the Lord blessed Jacob. What is interesting about this passage is that Jacob’s name (which means “supplanter” or “one who undermines”, a trickster) was changed to Israel, which means God contended or God prevailed. As a result of wrestling with God, Jacob’s character was also changed. The struggle then, resulted in not only a change of character, but also in a blessing. However, Jacob was left with a reminder of his struggle with God–he had a limp that resulted from the injury to his hip during the struggle (see verse 31). That was the “scar” that Jacob carried.

Just as Israel (Jacob) had a reminder of his struggle with God, I have a scar that reminds me of the struggles I faced. Like Israel, I overcame; I prevailed, because I refused to give up or surrender. I pressed through and am now reaping the blessing. My character and soul have been forever changed for good because of my struggle. God used the pain to refine me, even though the process was painful. I have been healed, and my marriage has been healed and restored, but the scars are still there. I guess you can say the scars keep me humble and serve as a reminder of God’s strength and faithfulness in my darkest hours. I know without a doubt that I was able to overcome because of the power of God.

God is no respecter of persons. He healed me, and he can heal you, but you have to want it and to pursue it. You have to embrace the struggle as part of God’s refining process. You have to remain determined and committed to moving past what Satan tried to use to destroy you into the glorious redemptive plan of God. If you stay the course, if you refuse to surrender, you can receive the blessing God has for you. Just remember that you will have a scar, but a scar can be quite beautiful!

Broken

The following is a poem I wrote in 2008 in the midst of my husband’s affair. I am sure many of you can identify with it.

Broken pieces lay around,
my shattered heart cannot be found.
Jagged edges, rough and sharp,
cut away, deep into my heart.
Longer and darker
does my journey grow;
where the destination is
I cannot know.
I hope for joy,
await some peace,
yet they do to me seem
out of reach.
Tears to be stored–
how many bottles can there be?–
Will they one day
fall joyfully on me?
Wounds still open,
healing left to do,
Only after the battle
Will I know if love is true.

Keys to the Heart of God by Jaylin Palacio

Thanksgiving and praise…two crucial keys to the heart of God.  What is the difference between thanksgiving and praise?

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!  (Psalm 30:11-12 NLT)

What is thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done.  He blesses us all the time.  There is always something for which to be thankful.  Much like a parent gets joy from hearing heartfelt appreciation from their child, God gets joy from our heartfelt appreciation.  How do we gain access to His heart?  “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).

Thanksgiving is important in the life of a believer.  “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God” (Ephesians 5:4 NLT).  I am reminded to be conscious of what comes out of my mouth.  We are in this world, but not of it.  Rather than copy the customs of this world, we should use our words to thank God for what He has done.

We express our thankfulness to God because everything He created is good:

“Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks” (1 Timothy 4:4).

Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks are easy when things are going well, but we are called to do them at all times:

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Whereas thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done, praise is honoring Him for who He is.

What is praise? 

Many Christians respond when something good happens with the term Praise God.  The word praise can be defined as to give thanks, confess, honor, or commend.  To praise God is to thank Him and to honor Him because of who He is.

Like me, you may have experienced times when your prayers seem to hit a wall and you wonder if your petitions are being heard.  During those times, I have found that if I take a step back and spend time praising God, telling Him how good He is and what He means to me, and then thanking Him for what He has already done, I get an immediate sense of closeness to Him and my faith grows stronger.  This is when I know I am touching His heart, and there is joy and peace in His presence.

When we ponder the great compassion that the Father has toward us in making a way of redemption through Jesus, it becomes easy to understand why all praise belongs to God:

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3 NLT).  The Blood of Jesus Christ gives us access to God, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 NLT).

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

What about you?  What can you thank God for today?  How will you praise God today?

Facing the Aftermath of Adultery? http://encouragementfromtheword.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/

Did your spouse have an affair?  Join the community Marriage God’s Way and receive help on your healing journey http://forms.aweber.com/form/64/1906729764.htm

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/jaylinpalacio

Blog http://encouragementfromtheword.com

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What is love?

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13

I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

 

 

One day my husband and I got in a huge argument and I do believe the “D” word was tossed around. He was sharing his struggles with me about ending the affair and he told me that he loved the other woman. Automatically, I got mad. Very mad. I told him that if he loved her, then he must hate me. I told him that a person cannot love two people like that at the same time. It is impossible. He told me that he knew what love was and he knew that he loved her. I looked at him and said (not at all calmly, but rather more like screaming), “That ain’t love. Love is not deceptive and does not lie. Love rejoices in truth.” I went on to say that love does not keep secrets and manipulate and act so selfishly or callously towards someone else. If he wanted to say he loved her, then what did he label his feelings for me as? I mean, honestly, he was treating me so harshly and kept hurting me, so he must have hated me.

I told him that I was not going to stay in a loveless marriage and he had to decide who he wanted to be with. If he did not love me or want to be with me, then HE could go file for divorce. Yes, I spoke those things, and I meant those things. But talking to my husband at that point was like talking to a brick wall. His mind was so deceived and so twisted that he could not see the truth. I really think he was in as dark and painful a place as I was, only his darkness and pain were totally different from mine. I can see all of this now, but back when I was in the midst of it, things were not nearly as clear.

However, by arguing with my husband about what love is and is not, I had to confront my own love for him. Love is patient, kind, unselfish, truthful, bears all things, believes all things, does not give up, and is persistent and hopeful (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).  I realized that I was trying to force change and truth on my husband, when he was not quite at that point yet. How much was I willing to bear? How long was I willing to fight without giving up? Was I going to believe that somehow out of this horribly ugly and twisted mess that good could come? Was I going to believe for restoration and healing despite how things looked at the present? Was I going to walk by faith and not by sight (Hebrews 10:38), speaking to things that are not as if they are (Romans 4:17)? These are the kinds of thoughts that went through my mind as I wrestled with God over staying in my marriage.

Love does not bail just because things get hard or things are not going as you expected. Love does not simply give up because your love is not some fairy tale. No, actually, it is in the hard and challenging situations in which love is tested and proven. True love can withstand tests and trials and will come out stronger because of those things. We live in a society where people walk away from their marriages and families so easily. The word “love” is thrown around so haphazardly. Frankly, I do not think we really know what love is until the love has been tested and proven. I do not think we can truly realize the nature of love until that love has been tried and gone through some times when the other person is unlovable, when it would have been so easy to just walk away and find someone or something better. When I spoke my marriage vows before God, I took them very seriously. I realized that the part “for better or worse” was now being tested. An adulterous affair is the “worse” part, and I had made a promise to my husband, to God, and to those who witnessed our sacred vows that I would be faithful and true to my husband for as long as we both should live–no matter what.

Love may begin as feelings, and those feelings can be incredible. You are deliriously happy and stay on a high. You honestly don’t have to eat or sleep; you can live on love. But, it is not possible to stay in that state. Reality steps in. We have to work, we have to eat, we have to sleep. We have responsibilities and obligations to fulfill. At some point, love must go beyond those giddy, up in the air feelings. It must become an act of our will by which we commit ourselves to someone and enter into a covenant relationship with that person. It must become a way of life in which the needs of others are more important than our own. It must enter into a place of being able to look beyond how someone is treating us and feeling towards us to choosing to love that person in spite of those things. You see, by very nature, love is unselfish and giving. It keeps going and loving, believing that there is hope and that redemption can come and will come. I guess that is why I kept going, why I kept loving, even though I felt like I was the other woman. Fifteen years earlier I would have just walked away. Wow! Where God has brought me and the things I have learned!

Praise God in the Storm

Often during our darkest, loneliest moments, we see God more clearly. Perhaps it is because in our distress, we come to the end of ourselves and our limited human resources and we begin to look to God. As we focus on God, and get our attention off of ourselves and our circumstances, He is able to reveal more of his heart and nature to us. We begin to experience his strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), his peace in our confusion, and his grace to carry us through the storm. Praise is one of the believer’s most powerful weapons because it exalts God and reminds us of who God is and of his sovereignty. But we do not feel like praising God when our world seems to be falling apart. We don’t feel like lifting up our eyes to the One who can rescue us. However, it is in these times when we least feel like praising God that we need to do it the most. Consider David. Throughout the book of Psalms, David shares his heart and mind. He expresses his fears; his doubts; his struggles. He is honest about where he is and what he is experiencing, and we see that David dealt with the same feelings and thoughts that we deal with today. There is one thing, though, that David consistently does in the Book of Psalms. He commands his soul to focus on God, to remember God’s faithfulness and goodness, and to exalt God. He calls forth his will to surrender to God’s plans and purposes even amidst the storms. David chose to direct his will and his spirit to praise God instead of remaining in the pit of self-pity and fear that he was feeling. He went against what our human inclination is—he chose instead to do the very thing that he felt least like doing, which was to praise God.

I am reminded of Paul and Silas as they were in prison (Acts 16: 19-34). The prisons of those days were horrible, so I am sure that Paul and Silas were experiencing much physical and emotional discomfort and pain because they had been severely beaten. They were in prison, not for something they had done wrong, but simply because they refused to stop preaching the gospel to those around them, and they had cast the demon out of a girl who was being exploited by her masters. As bold as Paul was though, he was human. He wrestled with his flesh and all of its components—feelings, thoughts and attitudes—just as we do. We know from one of his epistles that he had some sort of chronic problem that he kept asking God to relieve him of (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). But, let us examine what Paul and Silas did in very dire circumstances and consider the influence of their choices. They praised God. They willfully put aside their fleshly feelings and thoughts and chose to praise God. They sang songs and worshipped God in spite of the chains that bound them and the prison bars that held them captive. They stopped focusing on themselves and cast their eyes on Jesus. As they prayed and worshipped, the ground began to shake and the prison doors were opened. The chains that held Paul and Silas fell off, too. The guard posted outside of the prison had heard Paul and Silas worshipping God and praising Him, and this choice greatly impacted the guard. Because of the praise that Paul and Silas continually offered to God while imprisoned, God moved. The prison guard asked how he could be saved! What an impact our choices have. How powerful is praise!

God did not change the situation that Paul and Silas were in, but He acted nonetheless. He did not deliver Paul and Silas; He chose instead to use the praise and worship of two men who were unjustly imprisoned to demonstrate His glory and power. Because the glory of God was so mightily displayed, the guard desired to have the same power that lived inside of Paul and Silas. He desired to know the Savior they were worshipping and praising. Paul and Silas could have done what many of us do when we feel that we have been treated unjustly or have been greatly wronged. They could have let their feelings dictate their actions; however, they acted in direct contrast to what they were feeling. What would have happened to the soul of the guard in charge of watching over Paul and Silas if they had given in to their flesh and acted on their feelings, and not on faith? Their willful praise and worship while in one of the worst conditions possible had a powerful eternal influence in the life of the guard. It is somewhat symbolic that just as the physical chains that had bound Paul and Silas fell off, so were the spiritual chains of the guard loosened. He came to a place where he was no longer bound to the flesh and a slave to sin and found true freedom in Christ—all because of Paul and Silas praising God instead of cursing God.

Our choices will either lead us to freedom or they will lead us into deeper captivity. We make the choice. God will not make the choice for us. Like Paul and Silas, I was in a dire situation that I had no part in creating. I felt the heavy chains of strong emotions, such as fear, doubt, and anger, on me. I was in prison in a way, though I did not realize it at the time. I often acted out of my feelings and hurt; I said things out of anger that I should have never spoken. I gave in to fear and depression at times because I just did not feel like fighting my emotions anymore. I was too tired and too weak and too self-absorbed. Instead of looking to God, I was looking at my circumstances, and I was allowing myself to remain in bondage. I know that many, including myself, think that I did what was expected given the circumstances I was in. It was only natural for me to feel as I did and to act as I did at times. But, as a Christian, I am called to walk according to the Spirit, not according to my flesh—or what is natural. Sin is part of human nature, so it is perfectly natural. God was calling me to deny my natural man and surrender to His spirit. He was telling me to do something that was totally opposite of what I was feeling and thinking. I was faced, then, with another hard choice. I could remain in bondage to all the emotions of my natural man, or I could decide to focus on God, to praise Him, to worship Him, and break free of the chains that were binding me.

Obviously, at some point I chose to focus on God and to praise Him despite the awful situation and trying events of my life. When I started praising God, I came to realize that though my circumstances had not changed and the outcome was unpredictable, God had not changed. He remains unchanged and constant. He is “I Am.” He is whatever we need Him to be and whatever He desires to be in order to fulfill His purpose and plans for our lives. I like the way the song, Praise You in the Storm, by Casting Crowns, puts it when it says that God is who He is no matter where we are. God is always there and He is always true to His nature. It does not matter where we find ourselves, because God is who He is and He never changes. So, I could cling to the God who never changes or I could focus on the wild and chaotic circumstances of my life, which seemed to change every day. There was no certainty in the place I found myself, but there was certainty in God. There was hope; there was strength; there was grace—in God. I had to get back to the basics of my faith, to the core of my beliefs, which is all based on who God is. There was absolutely nothing I could do to change my circumstances. I was totally helpless in my own strength, and that is why I so desperately needed to cling to God.

In time, the circumstances of my life would be radically and powerfully changed, but God did not deliver me from the storm immediately, no matter how hard or how long I prayed. His plan was far greater than my human mind could grasp, and He chose to use the most painful and darkest circumstances I had ever faced to demonstrate His power and glory. But, as I realize now, God was weaving together all the sordid events of my life and the unpopular and difficult choices I made as an act of faith and a step of obedience, to significantly influence the lives of others.

The Fiery Testing of Faith

There is a belief among many Christians that God’s ways are easy and that Christians are somehow exempt from the pain and suffering that those who do not know Christ face. Nowhere in Scripture is this belief supported. In fact, James reminds Christians that we will face trials and tribulations. He tells us that our faith will be tested and tried (James 1:2-4, 12). The apostle Paul supports the words of James when he mentions that we are persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). Jesus said that we would face troubles in this world (John 16:33). Throughout the Bible, there are countless stories of men and women of faith who faced tremendous struggles; who experienced pain, despair, hurt, and disappointment; who asked God many of the questions we ask God today; and who came to their own crises of faith. With this evidence, the question, then, is not whether Christians will face trials, but how Christians are to respond to trials.

I had no control over the trials I was facing, but I could choose how I was going to live during the trials. If I learned nothing else from these terribly painful struggles, I do know this: Doing the right thing, obeying God, is not always easy. In fact, doing what is right in God’s eyes is often very difficult. This truth goes against everything our natural man is seeing, thinking, and feeling. It goes against our human reasoning and understanding. But our human limitations do not change the truths of God. Living out what God told me to do during this time in my life was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Standing on his promises and remaining obedient to him were hard. A lot of people did not understand; I don’t think I  fully understood. But, the part of me that is alive in Christ knew that despite the opposition and obstacles, I was doing the right thing. I was doing what God was asking me to do; I was obeying him to the best of my ability, but it was by no means easy. Easy times, though, do not produce much fruit in a believer’s life. Easy times don’t require us to lean on God and trust him. Easy times don’t help us grow and become more like Christ. Those things come about by the trying of our faith (James 1:2-4). They are forged in the fiery struggles of our souls. These things, the tools God uses most, are the things that make our faith more mature, perfecting in us the image of Christ.

In yesterday’s post, I recounted the story of the apostle Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on water. Peter’s faith was tested then, but it was tested much more severely later. Before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples that all of them would deny him. Peter, who was a little proud and thought he knew what was in his own heart, firmly stated that he would never deny Jesus. Jesus, however, knew what Peter was going to face, and he responded, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31). Peter thought he knew himself; he thought he knew his heart. He thought he would never do what Jesus was saying he would do. But he was wrong. He did not know himself as well as he thought he did.

There are two things about this passage that I want to point out. First, everything that happens to us has to go through God’s hands first. Satan cannot touch those who love Christ without getting permission from God. So, nothing we experience ever takes God by surprise or off guard. Nothing we experience is beyond God’s control. He remains sovereign. Second, because God is all-knowing, He sees the past, present and future. He knows what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and even allows things that we consider terrible to happen to us. Because of God’s omniscience, Jesus knows what to pray and how to pray for us. He told Simon Peter that he had prayed for him (and all the disciples) so that his faith would not fail when it was tested. Jesus is constantly making intercession for us before God the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He was already praying for Peter before Peter’s faith was tested. He goes before us and prays for us, long before we can see any storm clouds. He prays for us so that our faith will withstand the trials. He prays that we will continue to hold on to his hand, even when we cannot see him and do not understand. What an awesome revelation: Jesus is always praying for us—he never stops. He knows that if our faith can withstand the storm, we will be stronger and have more of his character reflected in us, which ultimately brings glory to God.

There is another person in the Bible who Satan asked God to let him test. This man was righteous, blameless, revered God and hated evil, but God allowed him to be tested. We read this story in the Book of Job. Satan was convinced that if Job lost all he had, if God allowed terrible things to happen to Job, then Job would turn his back on God. God granted Satan permission to take all Job had, except Job’s life. Job lost everything—his wealth, his home, his children, and his health. He wrestled with questions about why such trials were coming upon him. He was accused of sinning by his friends, who thought that he had done something bad to bring God’s punishment on him. Job was even told by his wife to curse God and die. Everyone around Job was asking him to turn his back on God. Although Job was experiencing pain, despair, and confusion, he refused to listen to those who encouraged him to forsake his faith. The calamities that occurred happened rapidly, and Job had no warning. In the first chapter of Job, things seem to go from bad to worse to worst. Yet, look at how Job chose to respond in the face of the trials. In Job 1:20-21, we read: “Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.” (HCSB, emphasis mine). Through all the loss, suffering, pain, and despair, Job never sinned and he never blamed God for what was happening. In fact, during the darkest period of his life, Job made the decision to continue to praise God and to place his faith in God. He continued to worship God. He continued to live righteously and revere God. What an awesome legacy to leave! God honored Job’s obedience by not only restoring what Job had lost, but also by giving Job more than what he had before the trials.

So, why am I telling you these stories about Peter and Job? Because the Truth has not changed. God has not changed. God allowed Satan to do everything he could to destroy my marriage, my family, and my faith. But, there was one thing that Satan could not do. He could not get me to abandon my faith in God. That was his goal, but even though my faith was shaken, it was not destroyed. The very thing that Satan intended to use to destroy my faith was the thing that God used to increase my faith. But, the choice was mine—I could turn my back on God or I could turn to God. God was able to use the events in my life for my good and His glory because I remained submitted to His will. I chose to embrace what God had for me, regardless of what I was seeing and feeling, because I knew that God was holding me. Even when my world seemed to be spinning out of control, God was always in control.