I gazed upon a sunset one humid summer evening. I quickly took my phone out of my pocket and pressed the camera button to take a picture. A message popped up on the screen. It said my battery was low and the flash wouldn’t work. I pressed “cancel”. I didn’t need the flash to capture this beautiful pink sunset. I took the picture but it didn’t capture the true beauty; it was so dim. I took several more pictures but to no avail. I couldn’t capture the reality of what I saw and nor could I share it with others for them to see what I saw.
Several years ago I experienced what I found to be something with a name: spiritual abuse. I recall speaking with a few trusted individuals explaining to them what was going on. No one I confided in seemed to understand; only the few of us that were longing to be understood. How we longed for someone on the outside to hear us.
I struggled with this. I vividly recall crying out, “Lord, why doesn’t anyone understand?” I prayed. I cried. I asked God to lead me in His Word. Just something! Anything!
In my final, lonely plea that night, I opened the Bible and my eyes fell upon Job 17:4 (a) NKJV. My heart split as I read the words, “For You have hidden their heart from understanding”. In that moment I was truly broken. This is why my cries fell on deaf ears all along?
You? You have hidden their heart from understanding? I’d felt betrayed by so many, now I felt betrayed by my own Father. Why Lord? Why?
After a minute, I put my Bible down on the couch. Weeping, I dropped to my knees. Once I was ready to listen, He spoke to me. “You listened to men all along instead of listening to Me. That’s why you’re in this position. Why do you feel the need for men to understand you?”
Ouch! My Father spoke the truth.
Sometimes we feel totally alone in our suffering. We can’t find one that understands. Even if others are going through it, it seems you’re always searching for someone to tell you it’s really real. Or maybe we’re searching for someone to fix it or make it go away. We oftentimes search among men looking for answers when we really need to search for God through His Word.
In this situation fear was instilled within by the twisting of Scriptures. I was fearful to even speak of it- fearful because “the verbal warning” flashed over and over in my mind, “Don’t disagree with an anointed man of God,” and other familiar lines, boasting of their “authority”, followed by what the Lord would do to us if we did. (Again, the internet was my friend as I searched phrases, finding again, there is nothing new under the sun. Abusive authority in the church seem to have their own personal guidebook with these familiar quotes.)
I think that was what was so difficult. Once I got the courage up to tell someone what was going on, they didn’t get it. It’s not always because they don’t want to. It’s because their understanding has been hidden. We, as humans, feel we need someone that’s tangible to be there to tell us what to do. How to escape the situation. We feel the need to be understood. Someone to tell us we’re not crazy. This can make you feel as if you’ve lost your mind, your salvation, your security, even your family in Christ.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I learned that our Father is fully capable to supply the need we long for. He’s there. He sees the fear, the hurt, the pain. He understands and I finally realized He was the only One that could help me. He’s still helping me. He gives me the strength to break the silence of spiritual abuse.
Another thing He helped me realize is that I didn’t “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Relating this to the picture I took, I was unable to display the full color of what I was going through. The message on the screen warned that the flash wouldn’t work. God said He wasn’t going to enlighten everyone with the truth of this situation. My battery was low. I canceled the warning yet still expected for others to see what I was seeing.
I actually wrote this post years ago, but as I edited it today, such sorrow struck my heart. I know I must remember to be thankful for this situation I went through. I dug in to God’s Word, my guidebook– the Holy Bible, deeper than I’d ever dug before. I don’t blame Him- I thank Him.
**Please keep in mind this doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen and it’s something that isn’t widely discussed. I’m only sharing a piece of the experience I had, which was totally unexpected, yet nothing surprises the Lord. Matthew 4:1-11 tells us that the devil knows Scripture and used it to try to tempt Jesus. Jesus quoted it right back to him and the devil left Him.
This may help you better understand an earlier post I wrote. Click here to read “The Brick Wall”
Thank you for reading and God bless!