I banged on the locked door screaming in horror, begging my mom to let me back in. My grandmother pleaded with her to open it. The neighborhood kids laughed and shrieked,
”Look! She’s naked!”
I tried to hide behind my grandmother. My mom opened the door, but blocked the entrance.
“Oh, no, you stand out where everyone could see you.” I rarely disobeyed her, this time I didn’t move.
“Don’t you dare hide. Stand out here or I will give you an even bigger beating!”
“She is just a child. Don’t do this. Let her back in the house,” my grandmother interceded.
“No! She needs to feel the shame I felt today when that black b***h humiliated me! How does it feel to be ashamed? Maybe you won’t embarrass me anymore!”
She finally let me in for my grandmother’s sake. The berating continued.
Just minutes before I was in the bathtub. I was about eight or nine years old, but the event is clearly etched in my soul. My mother was enraged. I had proven once more that I was not capable of being the perfect child she demanded of me.
While washing my hair, she scolded me about my grievous crime. Another warning from my teacher. Her anger rose with each word. She began to pound on my head and shoulders with her fists, as was her customary form of discipline. Trying to escape her rage, I jumped out of the tub and ran from her. She chased me, throwing random punches. In desperation, I ran out the open door into our small yard. She used this opportunity to teach me a lesson. Terribly prejudiced, she raged because my “colored” teacher reprimanded her over my persistent talking during class.
At home, I was desperately lonely. My elderly grandmother suffered from scoliosis. She had little patience or stamina for a child. When my mom was not working, she spent her time with my grandmother.
My mom didn’t let me play with neighborhood kids. I had no one to talk to, so I created my own paper doll friends and family. To me, school was like Disneyland. I got to be with other kids. Longing for interaction, I talked during class. The teacher often confronted my mom about the distraction that caused.
My mom didn’t notice my excellent grades or other good behavior. She saw the teacher’s criticism as a reflection of herself. She already held deep resentment towards me. My father left her to raise me on her own when she refused to get the abortion he demanded. I ruined her life.
From conception, life was set on saturating me in rejection. Childhood years were cold and empty. My mom decided to get rid of my dog by leaving my only friend at a park one day. My heart broke when the dog chased the bus we got on. Later, I had a pet rooster. One evening, I found out during dinner that what was left of my rooster sat on our plates. I was forced to eat it.
There are many painful incidents. Our family emigrated to the U.S. to escape Cuba’s communism when I was ten. I encountered much ridicule at school. I was just learning to speak English, and didn’t understand cultural differences or the rules to playground games. Kids were cruel. I often felt stupid and worthless.
The suffering continued into my teens, through painful relationships with boys, then later, men. I endured a heartless, abusive marriage of fifteen years for the kids’ sakes, while suffering from migraines and severe backaches. I got stuck with nearly $100,000 of debt I didn’t create, including IRS and State taxes after the divorce.
I raised kids without child support or family, working multiple jobs to survive. I have been lied about, slandered and falsely accused—the wiles of a vindictively, bitter ex-spouse. I suffered undeserved estrangement from my family. My only son died. I have suffered deep rejection as one child turned against me, closing off any relationship with grandchildren. The list is much too long. I find peace in knowing that God knows my heart.
My list reminded me of another similar list.
Corinthian 11:24-27 Paul speaking of the amount of suffering he experienced, “…five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brothers; I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. …”
Paul, in my opinion the Moses of the New Testament, walked a long trail of sorrows and suffering.
Like Paul, I cling to God, I have experienced His miraculous peace and whispers of His profound love. But life’s discord has often beaten me down. I have battled defeat and discouragement my entire life. Overwhelmed with pain and suffering of all sorts, I planned on taking my life years back. God miraculously intervened then.
“As a Christ follower, aren’t things supposed to be so much better than this, Lord?” Over and over I have asked God. “Why do you even keep me alive? Life is so painful. Why so much suffering, Lord?”
We suffer because we live in a world corrupted by every evil known to man. Also, we have an adversary, an overwhelming power in a realm we cannot fight against.
1st Peter 5:8 “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.”
Even more reason to rely on Almighty God!
Adam and Eve lost two sons. Cain murdered his brother Abel, then was banished to the wilderness. Abraham had to send his son Ishmael away, Joseph endured bizarre acts against him, and David ran for his life from a psychotic king. This whole world is full of craziness and poor choices that were never part of God’s original plan.
Sadly, most of the grief and suffering comes from within the human heart.
Why doesn’t God just do something?
He did. He took His most precious possession, Himself, and came to earth in the body of Jesus.
“…to proclaim good news to the poor…to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Jesus died for our sins so we could live in Heaven. Even Jesus suffered, brutally murdered on a cross. But–He resurrected
I wish I had an easy fix, but there is none. Life is hard. Terrible things will happen to good people. Children will suffer. Life is far from fair. We desperately need the love of Jesus. We need our hearts renewed and reclaimed. We need to claim the verse above. Call upon Jesus to lift your burdens and set you free. He’s waiting.
Remember, this life is not forever.
2nd Corinthian 4:17 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Heaven is eternal. There is no suffering there!
To read about the benefits in suffering go to the next post, Is That A Megaphone I hear?
Want to know why Jesus, and why a cross? 1-888-NEED HIM or chataboutjesus.org
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.
21 responses to “Why, Oh Why All The Suffering?”
So sorry for all you have been through, Elizabeth. It makes us strong if we don’t go under and sounds like you came out alright despite all.
Yes, suffering does have its benefits. I wrote about this in “Is That A Megaphone I Hear?” I should have linked the two, and I will now. Here is the link to it if you’d like to read it. https://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com/2013/07/13/is-that-a-megaphone-i-hear/
I am so sorry for your pain. I also know that this pain you experience or have experienced is what will keep you close to the Lord. Atrocities are around. I watched my husband as he became a monster, turned against me but worse…turned against his children and will not speak to them….believes he has done no wrong in his infidelity and believes they must make their way to him with him not asking for forgiveness. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it–and all of this means that I thought I had seen everything but no. I wish I could ease your pain for I know it must hurt. You are in my prayers. You have a story to tell. 🙂 Take care! 😀
You have experienced a great deal of pain also. I am sorry for you and your children. I pray your children will be able to forgive their father even if he never asks forgiveness. They don’t have to do it in person, just in their heart. Then they will be free. The heartache won’t go away completely but somehow the pain isn’t as heavy. I had to do that with several people. This forgiveness is what has freed me. I understand your pain. My ex caused me and my kids unbelievable heartache. But your are right. It is because of these experiences that we can grow close to God. I pray God frees you from that heartache. Bless your heart dear sister. 🙂
Thanks. You, too, and you are right because not forgiving will separate us all from God. Take care! 😀
May your soul heal! God can redeem all things! Blessings!
Thank you and Amen!
You’ve been through the ringer too, I know. What a human being can bear and maintain sanity amazes me. Surely the Lord had His hand on us to hold us together.
May this be the year of the Lord’s favor for you (Luke 4:19). After all, it is 2013 A.D…the year of our Lord! I’m asking Him to bring healing to many, many areas of your heart this year, dear sister!
Oh, thank you so much, Tami. I love your Year of the Lord statement. I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. I believe now, more than ever, is the time for us to get deeply acquainted with Scriptures and what it means and the strength it offers.
I have been listening to “Waking the Dead,” by John Eldridge. (I bought the CD) What a powerful message! It is eye opening and empowering in so many ways. Thanks for recommending it!
I can’t get over how much our stories have in common. Shooting love and prayers your way also, may you find strength and healing through His Word.
So glad I could point you to something encouraging! There’s a workbook that goes with John’s book. If you’re so inclined, you might get a copy and work through it!
Do you think the workbook will work just as well with the CDs. I usually listen to them when I drive.
Yes, it will. I loved the workbook. It brought many issues to light and helped process them.
Great! I ordered the workbook. 🙂
I have been in counselling, inner healing with a Catholic Psychartrist for decades. DECADES?!!! Yes because it is also spiritual direction and sanctification where I am slowly able to say >No longer I that Lives but Christ that lives in me.”
For some reason, Jesus loves those who have suffered, in fact sufferring is practically a prerequiste for inner transformation because only when we are despwerate do we relinquish control and allow God to take chareg. Only the fed up are willing to change, to let the old die, to embrace the unknowen.
Although my pain is not as much as yours, we share guilt,shame and for me an inability to receive love, a post traumatic stree personality, living in isolation, punishing myself alomst like a sacrifical lamb.
The key to freedom is realizing that by sufferring abuse, we try to heal our abusers. It is a vicious cycle but one that I, YOU must give God permission to heal. I am in a group where everyone has stolen Jesus’ job. It is his job to suffer not yours.
If this clicks with you I can give you a few of my posts + we can share
actually you have inspired a post
I am so sorry for your suffering Melanie. I am glad you are receiving help. I agree that it is because of this suffering that our hearts are open to God. The Lord has done a lot of healing in my heart. What I find difficult is that it seems the suffering has been so long term and rarely seems to lighten up in my world. That’s where I can relate to Paul in a way. I am looking forward to reading your post. I was actually writing a post on the benefits of suffering today, just didn’t have the space to fit it in to this post. Sure, please share your posts. If not just for me, for anyone else who reads this. Thank you.
I am so releived to hear that you are open to healing- your sister in Christ.
I would not exchange a moment of sufferring because my gift is a deep profound joy that I can now connect to in the snap of a finger when I step into living in Him, through Him, with Him. If I had had 1,75 kids, a rich husband and no strife in my childhood or life, I would be a shallow nice, lady who did not discover the riches of His Mercy. Only when we REALIZE that we are sick, is Jesus free to heal us. Pharissees who think they have not sinned or feel whole cannot receive divine healing
Oh boy, do I get what you are saying! The last 17 years have been particularly excruciating in my life, but if it means that is the only way I would come to the place of experiencing God’s pure love, I would dare say I would go through it over again! I know what you mean about joy, it took a tragedy in my 2nd marriage to get me to the point of surrendering it all, and realizing God is all I have truly needed all along!! Through that realization, I became free to experience His true joy. Praise God for His faithfulness!
Grieving for the hard road you’ve had to walk, but amazing how God can redeem all things x
It certainly has been a tough road, There are so many others who have had it even tougher! I am grateful for God’s mercy. He has made His amazing love known to me the last couple of years which has brought a lot of healing! His love is indescribable! 🙂
May you have healing in your soul and the later part of your life much better than the first. As I read your story, I was reminded of this passage in Job. When he has tried me, I will come forth as pure gold. You have definitely been refined in the fire and as more precious than gold.
Thank you so much for such a reminder. Though, I am certainly a work in progress. Someday we will all see such refinement 🙂