I Don't Trust That God Won't Hurt Me
I Don’t Trust That God Won’t Hurt Me
And honest journey through pain, and the difficult truth that God may have brought her there.
BY SARA KERNAN
My racing heart beats wildly in my chest as I will my eyes to focus, and my mind to calm. Each heartbeat is contributing to the crescendo of rising anxiousness as the highly awaited email from a job application sits in my inbox. This could be it! All the beautifully crafted dreams of a bigger future, the fresh promise of a position that holds everything I have ever wanted in a job. I see a new life for myself and my husband in a new place doing exactly what everything in my life has prepared me for. All the events, good and bad, finally make sense, this is kismet!
Skipping past the formalities, my heart falls and my neck and face erupt in a flush of pink. Carefully crafted words and professionalism cannot mask the bottom line: "No, not you."
Tears well in my eyes blurring my vision and suddenly I feel small with my face buried between my knees as I let myself cry. I am so ridiculous, sobbing over a job that was way out of my league — a job I knew nothing about until just a week before. No one has died here, I have not lost anything significant. But the loss of this dream compounds on all my other loss and it is a weight I do not think I can bear. It’s the “one more thing.” My snot and tears run into each other in an unforgiving mess as I cry out to God in all my humanness, grieving all, with this email only the cherry on top of a preexisting mess. This hurt reminds me of all the other hurts this year.
Like when my phone woke me up in the early hours of the morning with my husband’s voice breaking over the phone telling me he didn’t pass the job opportunity he had tried so hard for.
Or all the past times that weather or finances have kept me trapped on or off the island in Alaska I call home, deepening the chasm between me and where I think I need to be.
When my kindred called me in tears after horrible news.
Times of grieving with family and friends hurting and my inability to do anything or string words together to grieve with them.
The ever present global hurting of crime and unfathomable injustices.
This new hurt sits on top of a foundation of hurt. Each of these hurts feel fresh as I relieve them in my mind in my present tears.
Yes, I trust in God. But as I carry all these broken pieces and tears are relentless down my face, I don’t trust that God won’t hurt me. I pause in shock as the thought slips and my facade of perfect Christianity is dropped between God and I (as if I can hide anything from Him) lay all my cards on the table. I don’t trust your calls.
Are you in this? Have you forgotten me? How could all these random losses, closed doors, and no’s have any divine purpose beyond this mess?
Which is maybe how Job felt after everything he lost. Or David in every moment of hiding. Or Naomi after her husband died. Or Joseph after almost every step of his journey.
Closed doors and loss are not mine alone, they are woven into the very fabric of living in a fallen world. I do not believe that I serve a wrathful God, that is not in His character. But I was never promised a life of ease, in fact, believers are promised the opposite. God is going to continually allow hurt in my life. And that is good, because God is good, even when it doesn't feel like it. And I know that I can hold on to that truth throughout every mess because as the testimonies of the past share, God uses what seem like broken pieces for His glory. In fact it often seems like his medium of choice.
Out of my pity party, I draw my breath for my next words, the words of many laments in the Bible and whispers from generations past.
But, God is good.
Psalms is a series of reiteration with each lament ushering in a transition of some sort. Time after time passages cry out to God but the same, unwavering conclusion remains: even though I don't get it. I know God to be good. Because look at all He has done. And He is faithful to do it again. And if David, hiding in a cave, running for his life can come to this conclusion, then surely I can too with the simple disappointment of a closed door at a job prospect.
At the start of my grieving I initially thought, “I don’t trust that God won’t hurt me." But now, in the midst of the mess, I can now say, in full truth, “I trust that God is good.”
And that is enough.