NO and YES.
Exactly 8 years ago my memoir, ‘On Unclipped Wings’ was accepted by a major Christian publisher, but then threatened with litigation. And 4 years ago today, I self-published it. That threat was meant to silence me and it almost did.
But, all things do work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). I learned that each of us has a voice, unique to us, and that God wants each of us to speak. I learned that no one can thwart God’s will in my life, or anyone’s life, for that matter. I learned that I was an expert at accepting failure, but now God wanted me to learn how to succeed.
My memoir is still barred from traditional publishing, but God is my constant comfort. For, even though he chose not to protect me from the threat of litigation, he is and always will be good.
I once believed that brokenness was for life. I would never become unbroken. I might never be able to move on.
How wrong I was. Just as God took chaos and spoke this beautiful earth into place, he can do the same for us. He speaks over each one of us: “But you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings and you will go out and frolic…” (Malachi 4:2)
Healing comes through relationship. As we honour our God, put him first, love him with all our broken hearts, he does his part. He rises like the sun over our dark and hurting lives. He brings us healing and joy.
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash
May I share with you what I have learned…
God always speaks out against the injustices we suffer. He always upholds us when we are wronged. He walks with us through our hard times. He never lets us down.
I have also learned that even though everyone has a choice, we can’t make anyone choose to do what is right. And, even though their choices may ruin our lives, God always has another way. He redirects our eyes to something new.
Because we understand grief, we can comfort those who grieve. Because we suffer injustice, we can fight for those who are crushed. God doesn’t consider our past as wasted years; it is the foundation on which he builds hope.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.
Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”
Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)
Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.
Sometimes what we experience is not understood. “But I do!” people might say. “I can totally relate! It’s just like when I got a bicycle puncture. Deflating.”
Our heart sinks. We fall silent. We feel like we are sitting at the bottom of a deep well. Alone. Unheard. If only someone understood. If only we could share our heart.
Yet, something good can come out of a well. There is a light, and it is up above. It makes us lift our heads. There is a person we can talk to – God.
Jeremiah also ended up in a well. He said, “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You came near and said, ‘Do not fear.’“ (from Lamentations 3: 55-57)
You might remember… my memoir wasn’t published because of a threat of legal action. A full year later the threat still exists. Yup! It’s an accomplishment that deserves the equivalent of a boy-scout badge.
It was also a test to find out what is really inside me. Sure, I found anger and the desire for revenge, but I also found something else. The strength to get back up. The ability to forgive. The courage to consider that I might be getting another badge next year.
I find God does that with troubles. He uses them to teach us about ourselves. He uses them to make us deeper and truer. “It is God who arms us with strength and makes our way perfect.” (from Psalm 18:32) It is God.
Sometimes people hurt us and we end up deeply shaken. But those people also accomplish something else. They reveal to us what is in our hearts. I don’t often like what I find in mine: anger, fear, pride… I even contemplate revenge.
Someone in the Bible suffered injustice as well, yet he reacted differently. He cried out, “My soul finds rest in God alone… He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)
Can anything good come out of pain? There is one thing. Through it God can show us if we have wandered away from him. Through it we can make the choice to return and find rest in him.