My Comfort in Affliction

Psalms 119:49-50 ESV

“Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.”

The thing that gives me comfort in my affliction is to know that God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made and that nothing comes into my life unless God allows it for a purpose, and he will give me all I need to endure it, and to learn from it, and to grow spiritually from it in my walk of faith in him. And the other thing is that I know God loves me and he has my best in mind, and so what he allows, he allows ultimately for my good.

I didn’t always understand that, though. I think I did intellectually, I mean I knew what the Scriptures taught, but my actions said differently. And that had a lot to do with what I experienced as a child who was severely abused by her father and emotionally neglected by her mother, although I was on friendly terms with my mom. But I was scared to death of my dad. And then I married a sex addict, and then I had pastors who mistreated me, etc.

Basically I have had a lifetime of being abused or mistreated by someone, usually by someone in a position of authority. And I used to be so fearful, and the Lord had to keep pushing me forward when I just wanted to retreat. And I was 52 years old before I finally accepted God’s sovereignty over my life and really understood his grace and his power over Satan and sin and how he won this battle for me, but I just had to live like I believed that.

And that has made all the difference in how I now respond to difficult circumstances, although this has been a learning experience for me. And sometimes I still have to remind myself that God is in control and that he has all of this under his command and that nothing can happen to me unless he allows it, and for his purposes, and for my spiritual growth and development. And I am now 72 years old, almost 73.

Psalms 119:51-53 ESV

“The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.”

This is interesting that this just happened to be the next passage of Scripture in my list of Scriptures I am going through, because I just happened to get into a discussion with a couple of females this evening about abuses that they had faced as children and/or that their parents had faced as children, and sexual abuse was definitely included in these discussions. But nothing “just happens.” This was God’s plan.

So, I am thinking that someone is going to be reading this today or tomorrow or on another day who has been abused by a parent or a spouse or by another person in a position of authority and/or spiritual authority, including by pastors, and not just sexually, but physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and/or verbally in other ways, too. And perhaps that person needs to hear this for her or his healing to take place.

What I can tell you is that God allowed these things to take place in my life or they could not have happened. The Lord formed me in the womb of my mother knowing full well that I was going to be abused. He knew the man I was about to marry was a sex addict, but I didn’t know that until about 15-20 years after we had married. And he knew that I was going to be mistreated by pastors (not sexually), but he allowed it to happen.

Now there was a period of time when I gave up and I gave into my flesh and I ran from God instead of running to him in my affliction. So I can’t say that I never turned away from God’s law. I did. Sadly so. I felt like I was a basketball and people just kept slam dunking me through the hoop, or like people were just taking my head and kept pushing me down under the water hoping I would drown, and after many years, I finally caved.

When I was sinning, everyone seemed happy with me, pretty much, but when I walked with the Lord in obedience to him, then the attacks came against me. I know now this was Satan fighting hard against me to keep me from obeying the Lord. But the Lord was also allowing it to make me strong, to eventually bring me to that place where I set my face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and I no longer let my circumstances get the best of me.

And then he called me to this ministry 18 years ago to write down what he teaches me from my times with him each day in his word and to post these writings on the internet, though it wasn’t full-time until 16 years ago. So, all this was preparation for this calling of God on my life, for if I had not gone through the things I have gone through in my life I would not be equipped and prepared for what I have had to endure to do what I am doing today.

And so now I am passionate against the wickedness of humans, for I see strongly how sin destroys people’s lives and their families and their marriages, etc. I know what it did to me. And I can see the evidence of what it has done to others, either by being sinned against, and/or because of their own sins. And so I am passionate about getting out the truth of the gospel for I know it is the truth, and if believed, it is going to set people free.

Psalms 119:54-56 ESV

“Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.”

From the time I was a young child I loved the Scriptures. I believed in Jesus at about the age of 7 at summer camp. And my heart’s desire was to follow him in obedience. I took God and his word seriously at a young age and because of that I was often mocked and made fun of and/or rejected and cast aside. I was considered an odd ball, and I still am. I grew up in a home where hypocrisy of religion was prominent, and I wanted no part of that.

Other than that short period of time where I caved and I turned away from walking in obedience to the Lord to give way to my flesh, the truths of God’s word have been my counsel and my delight. And I began teaching the Scriptures at age 16, and I have taught them over a span of 50+ years, although not all the time. And I love God’s word, and I love learning from his word, and I love doing what he says to do, because HE is my delight!

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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