Archive for October 27th, 2009

**** Religious Triggers ****

On my blog entry entitled Getting Past Feeling like God Deserted You after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

For the last 10 years I would call myself an atheist because I can’t believe in a god who is all powerful and all knowing that would not intervene while children get hurt. That’s just so hard for my head to wrap around. … You said that god never promised to save children from harm, but shouldn’t it be expected from an all powerful being? … I remember begging for god to show himself to me and to help me with this burden. I gave him an ultimatum (I know who am I to give god an ultimatum) that if he didn’t show himself to me then I was done. I waited ….he never came. I downed 150 pills and drank some alchohol. Fortunately/Unfortunately? I survived. … I can’t remember exactly how the parable goes but the gist was that the shepherd left the 99 and went back to save the 1. Isn’t that essentially gods promise to save us? ~ Journey

You can read Journey’s full comment here. (Journey – I LOVE your screen name!)

Journey’s question is basically, “Shouldn’t an all-powerful being be expected to protect children?” Despite what you might have heard from well-meaning religious people, the answer to this question is no. I wrestled with this issue when I read the book The Shack by William Paul Young. See my blog entry entitled Words of Wisdom from “The Shack”: Do Children Have a “Right” to be Protected?.

Our innate feelings about justice and fairness scream that, if someone is all powerful, that power should be used to protect the weak and powerless. In the Bible, God Himself mandated this numerous times, telling his people to take care of the widow, orphan, and alien (the weak and helpless in that time period). Protecting the weak is our jobs as adults. We cannot just sit back and wait for divine intervention – We must take a stand and protect children, not because they have a right to be protected but because we love them.

For whatever reason (probably to fill the pews and collection plates), many religious people have sold us a bill of goods, saying that if you believe in God, He will keep you safe. That is simply not Biblical. Jesus Himself was crucified, as was Peter. Stephen was stoned to death. Saul murdered numerous Christians before his conversion. There is no place in the Bible that promises us heaven on earth. Our earthly lives are about growth, not security and safety.

Because some religious people have filled their pews by selling the lie that God will keep everyone safe, they have erected barriers to those of us who were not safe as children. I do believe that God does ultimately keep us safe, but that is spiritually, not physically or emotionally. I actually believe in reincarnation, which adds a whole different dimension to being safe. If you believe that you have one life and then you die forever, you are going to be angry about your lot in life and experiences. You will also view a short life as a tragedy.

However, if you believe in reincarnation, you see that this life and its hardships are only just a tiny sliver of your experiences. I am always okay because nothing can harm me (the spirit). My body might suffer and will eventually die, but I am not my body. My spirit transcends this one lifetime. I am here to learn life lesson, which will forever shape who I am becoming. However, as I let go of the expectation of being physically safe on earth, I also let go of the fear of being forever harmed by anything that anyone ever does to me. I am only here on earth for a little while, and my worries and concerns in this life will be meaningless after I return to spirit form. The one exception is the connection I make with others – that transcends this lifetime.

As for God not coming to you that night – I think it was God’s coming that prevented 150 pills and alcohol from taking your life. My experience has been that God always shows up, but I cannot always hear him when I am overwhelmed with my emotions. I must first pour out all of the pain before there is room inside to fill up with His peace. I suspect you passed out before you got to that point. I would encourage you try again. Lock yourself in a room and tell God that you are not leaving until He makes Himself known to you. Begin by getting out your anger. Yell and scream, punch pillows, and bless Him out. This will uncork the tears. Let yourself cry the tears until you cannot cry any longer. This is the point at which you will feel God’s presence. Right now, you have too many emotions drowning out His voice.

Also, remember that God’s voice is found in a whisper, not in something dramatic. It is also found through others who reach out to you. Sometimes we need a version of God with skin. :0)

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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