Archive for February 27th, 2008

Sunset (c) Lynda BernhardtIn my last couple of posts, I have been discussing my faith journey as I have wrestled with the question of where God was during my child abuse. In my last post, I shared the results of my searching from a Christian perspective. While that resolution was healing to me, my faith journey did not end there. As I spent more time in prayer and meditation (“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Ps. 46:10), I came to understand God, the child abuse, and the reason that I am here on earth in a much deeper way.

I have come to believe that this is not my first time living on this earth. I believe that the reason for our time on earth is to learn life lessons, such as how to grow the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (See Gal. 5:22-23.) I do not believe that we can accomplish all of this in one lifetime. I believe that we experience things on earth in order to grow and become more like God. I do not mean that we seek to be God, only that we grow more in His image as we exhibit more of His traits.

The whole pass/fail test that churches teach about Christianity has always bothered me. God wants us to grow the fruit of the Spirit, but a person can be an axe murderer, receiving Jesus on his deathbed, and then go straight to Heaven with Mother Theresa. It makes more sense that God wants us to grow more like Him, and we need to experience different things in different lifetimes to accomplish this.

How does this tie into the child abuse? I believe that this lifetime has been a final exam of sorts. I believe that I have been cultivating the fruit of the Spirit over many lifetimes, and now I was put into a much more painful life experience in order to bear a harvest. I also believe that I was put here to heal and then offer that healing to others. That is an act of love that grows out of compassion from having developed many of the fruit of the Spirit.

I do not believe that we are put on this earth to “be happy.” Instead, I believe that we are here to grow. As painful as my life experiences have been, I have grown immensely. I have developed deep compassion and empathy for those who are hurting, and I feel a strong drive to spend my spare time (like right now as I write this) doing everything I can to encourage other people along their own healing journeys.

Believing that this lifetime is only one of many and that I am at peace between lifetimes has removed my fear of death. It has also helped me overcome my phobia of flying in airplanes. When I view my life experiences as conditions helping me to grow and become more like God (growing the fruit of the Spirit), I stop seeing myself as a victim and instead see myself as blessed.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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