Have you been wounded by God’s people? Some wounds are deeper than others. Some come out of nowhere, and still others are the result of our own poor choices. No matter the cause, all wounds are painful. Wounds hurt even more when the wonders are from our church family, where behaviors are explained with religious talk that justify the hurtful actions made.
Truth is most wounders do not see their true motives. They are blinded by their agenda’s rooted in self exalting and self persevering choices.
We’ve all been both the wounded and the wounder. This is a cycle that needs to be broken, and only by God’s Grace can it be.
Do your part friend to break the cycle of wounding. Get honest with God about your pain, and let His grace teach you how to heal and respond, rather than react.
Read on as Anne Graham Lotz shares from her book; “God is in the darkness and God is in the wilderness.” – from Wounded By God’s People.
A wilderness is defined as an uncultivated, uninhabited, inhospitable region. At least that’s the definition I was given when I googled it. I would also describe a wilderness as dry, barren, lonely, and rocky. And it was in a spiritual wilderness that I found myself several years ago. Because it was a time in my life that was dry… seemingly devoid of the rain of God’s blessing; barren… seemingly devoid of evidence of real fruit in my life; lonely… devoid of any conscious awareness of God’s presence; and it was rocky… littered with problems and obstacles and hard things.
If I could have pinpointed one particular trigger that launched me into my wilderness experience, it would have been my mother’s departure for heaven. Not only did my grief leave me with a feeling of emptiness and deep sadness, but there were many circumstances around the time of her death that seemed to drive me into a spiritually dry, barren, lonely, rocky place.
Life just seemed to close in on me.
Wounded By God’s People
One morning, I was especially conscious of the oppression and darkness that seemed to be crushing my spirit to the point I found breathing difficult. I slipped into the place where I meet the Lord early in the morning, intending to open my Bible to the verses on which I had been meditating the day before. But as divine providence would have it, I made a “mistake.” Instead of opening to the intended passage, I opened to a chapter that was several pages past where I had been. But before I could correct my mistake, my eye fell on this verse:
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
The verse seemed to be illuminated. It leaped up off the page as I heard God whispering to me through the words,
Anne, most people shy away from the wilderness. They don’t like the darkness of oppression, loneliness, dryness, barrenness. They don’t like to be in a hard place. If they think I’m going to lead them there, they resist, back off, and want no part of following Me. But, Anne, Moses approached the thick darkness. Because that’s where I was. And that’s where I still am, Anne. Embrace the darkness.
Before I could answer Him, before I could even pray, almost before I could even think, I found myself turning several pages back to where I was “supposed” to have been reading. The first verse of that reading was,
While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.
The desert is another name for the wilderness! That dry, barren, rocky, lonely place where I seemed to be. And I knew God was telling me,
Anne, I am here. Look closely. You will see My glory in the dark cloud.
I was not consciously aware of seeing His glory at that moment. All I knew is that God had spoken to me and told me He was there. And so I bowed my head, with tears slipping down my face, and whispered to Him in response, If You are truly in the darkness, then I embrace it. I want to be where You are.
God is in the darkness and God is in the wilderness.
I now know that by personal experience. But although Hagar had known God’s presence in her wilderness years earlier, she had forgotten. She did not know that now. So when she suddenly found herself thrust not only into a dry, barren, lonely, rocky physical place, she also found herself in a spiritual wilderness — alone for the first time in thirty years and burdened with the responsibility of providing for the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and practical needs of a difficult teenage boy. Hagar desperately needed help. She knew she couldn’t go back, but she had no idea how to go forward. And so she wandered… through the desert of Beersheba and the wastelands of her own spiritual and emotional devastation.
You don’t necessarily have to be a single mother, thrust there by an untimely death or a nasty divorce, to find yourself in Hagar’s situation. Like me, maybe life has just crashed in on you. Wounds and rejection can pile up. Perhaps you feel you have no one to turn to, no one to talk to, no one to help you. If you and I are not careful, that aloneness can cause us to wander in our spirits also.
We want to get away from the darkness, to get out of the wilderness, but in our frantic effort we stumble from remorse to resentment, from self-pity to self-flagellation, from self-deception to depression, from brokenness to bitterness, from faith to agnosticism, from frustration to anger, from hurt to hardness, from hardness to helplessness.
May I ask you something I have asked myself?
Deep down in the hidden chambers of your soul, are you offended by God? Angry with Him, even? Are you wandering from God? You thought you knew Him, but now He seems remote at best.
The solemn conclusion I’ve come to is that if He is everywhere, that means He is also in the wilderness. And if I can’t turn to Him there, who can I turn to?
If you are wandering in the wilderness… that spiritually dry, barren, lonely, rocky place… would you remember that the God of Hagar is still there?
Excerpted with permission from the Wounded by God’s People by Anne Graham Lotz, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Are you in a personal wilderness? Does it seem like God has turned His back on you? Are you angry with Him? Or confused? Hagar had an incredible encounter with the Living God in that barren desert and came out calling the Lord “You are the God who sees me”. Have you encountered God in your dark circumstances?
Tucked into Abraham’s biography is the story of Hagar, a young Egyptian slave with whom Abraham had a son named Ishmael. Hagar stood out because she was wounded—not physically, but in ways that were as emotionally and spiritually painful as any injury to a body would be. Some wounds were provoked by her own bad behavior, but others were inflicted by those who considered themselves God’s people. As Hagar’s story unfolds, you will discover that wounded people often become wounders themselves. While Anne identifies with the wounded, the unpleasant reality is that she also identifies with the wounders, because she has been one, too.
Many have had similar experiences. And perhaps you are among those who have been so deeply hurt that you have confused God’s imperfect people with God. Maybe you have even run away from God as a result. Or perhaps you have been a wounder to the extent that you are living in a self-imposed exile, believing you are unworthy to be restored to a warm, loving relationship with God or with God’s people. Whatever your hurts may be, Wounded by God’s People helps you to begin a healing journey—one that enables you to reclaim the joy of God’s presence and all the blessings God has for you.
God loves the wounded. And the wounders.
Lord heal our hearts today. Help us take responsibility for our feelings and to bring them to you for healing and restoration, rather than react and perpetuate the cycle of woundedness.
In Jesus Name