- the state of being free from danger or threat.
- the state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety.
Security and safety is one of our most basic human needs and we’ll do anything to feel it and make sure it’s a reality in our lives. When our security is threatened we’ll go to any lengths to restore it or a sense of it. Hence the trouble begins.
If you’ve experienced abuse or trauma of any kind, your security was severely compromised and many times, you’re never the same after that experience. Just ask anyone who suffers from PTSD, who’s been in a warzone or victim of a violent crime. They can never go back to the sense of safety they felt before their experience.
In our pain, we come to believe the world is not a very safe place and that belief can cause us to isolate ourselves and shut out experiences and people to stay safe. But when we do that, we close our self off to other wonderful things in life that can’t be experienced unless we take the risk to trust again.
This week’s devotional will tackle how to restore a life of security after these experiences and address the struggle we face to feel safe even when there is no threat. We’ll talk about the shift in mindset that is necessary to navigate trust and safety going forward.
Disclaimer: This devotional is not a substitute or replacement for regular therapy or use of mental health resources. If the content here causes triggers, please see your regular mental health professional. I am not a licensed counselor or therapist of any kind nor is this devotional an attempt to provide those services. The contents and suggestions in this devotional are results of my own personal experience with these issues and are not meant to be professional advice or therapy.
Psalm 91: 1-2 NKJV (Emphasis mine)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Here in unfamiliar territory, I am lost, when all my hope is veiled behind this loss.
My innocence has wandered far beyond the faith I knew and all I long for is You!
Let me see you in this broken place, let me feel Your breath upon my face.
Cause everything I’ve trusted in has been such a waste if I don’t see you in this broken place.
When bad or traumatic things happen to us or to those we love, especially as Christians, our first thought is to wonder where God is or even if He cares at all. These experiences can shake our faith to the core. Add to that, the advice and well-meaning explanations from others to help us understand why these experiences happen, and you have a recipe for confusion!
When God’s timing came for me to deal with some of these experiences in my life, I was not satisfied with trite answers. I wanted to know what was true in God’s Word. What did God say about these things? What was God’s opinion and solution for my recovery? I can’t tell you how many times I read through the book of Job trying to understand suffering.
Some teaching I had heard about suffering was condemning. We lack faith. We were in sin. And although those things can be true in some situations, it was not true with Job or me and so many others that I know personally and that I see in scripture.
At times I even felt betrayed by God. That was a painful place, that I had to work through with Him.
So what of this mystery of suffering? And where is God in the midst of it? If even the children of God are not safe in this world, then we might as well give up! Right? But that’s not what I discovered about God. Especially when I look at the life and DEATH of Jesus. Was He a sinner or did He lack faith? Of course not, and yet, he suffered excruciating trauma on the cross and persecutions and abuses before He died on the cross. Where was God for Him?
Many people say that the Father turned His face from Jesus because He was full of sin on the cross. And they say that because of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me”? I don’t believe the Father turned from Jesus at all. But I do believe that Jesus, in His agony, FELT forsaken, as many of us do at times in our suffering.
I believe the Father walked with Jesus every step without ever leaving Him. So many times we can make a theology out of our own interpretations of the Bible instead of understanding the scripture in complete context of the entire Bible. God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13: 5) so how could He have forsaken Jesus, His own Son, in his greatest hour of suffering? David said in Psalm 139: 7-8, “where could I go from Your Spirit or flee from Your Presence. If I make my bed in hell, You are there”!
CAUTION, Soapbox rant ahead…….
So many Christians and others have been wounded by these kinds of teachings and made to think that something is wrong with them if they undergo suffering, and I believe God’s heart is grieved also. Many turn away from God thinking that He has no mercy or empathy for those who suffer. On the contrary. Jesus is touched with the feelings of our infirmities and can sympathize with us. (Hebrews 4:15). Just as I would never want you to base your theology on the experiences I share here, so I cannot do the same but have to search the scriptures for myself to see what God’s Word says about it.
For months I “had it out” with God so to speak, asking questions and most of all “why”? At the end of my wrestling, I was no closer to an answer to “why” but gained a deep understanding of the character of God. And that’s where I want to land here in this week’s devotional.
It’s a challenge to explain the depth of security I found in understanding the character of God. His faithfulness, truth, steadfast love and mercy over my life is evident. And at times, can only be realized in hindsight. Even in the trauma and abuse, I experienced. Yes, even there and it’s something that I can’t explain, but have settled in my heart. And it’s a place you must settle as well.
I can’t explain the atrocities of our world and history with any earthly explanation other than God is not blind to our pain and He is very present. I’ve come to understand that God can be trusted in all things. Even and especially in our pain and suffering. He is close to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18)
The biggest heartache, to me, in suffering, is the feeling of being alone, like no one cares and that there is no one present to validate our experience and to comfort us in it. That utter aloneness, in my opinion, is the most traumatic of all. But God has shown me in the scripture and personally that I am not alone. He is ever-present. “Well, if He’s present then why doesn’t He do something to stop it”? you might say. I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. And you know what, I’ve come to a place in my life that I don’t need to know. All I need to know is that He is with me and will not let me go. EVER! I will cling to that truth with all my heart and soul and find all my security in that truth.
This truth is where my trust is found. My security is in knowing that He will never leave me to walk through anything alone. I find great courage in this truth to go through anything. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)
Trust is not about never experiencing suffering or preventing it, it’s about being assured that we can make it to the other side of it and that we don’t walk through that valley of the shadow of death alone.
The secret things belong to God and yes, we will process through reconciling the things we go through with our faith. It’s very complicated at times, but to know our God and to be persuaded of what Paul was in Romans 8: 37-39 is our answer to everything hard or bad we experience in life.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It’s my belief that we have to go through things to understand great mysteries and there are some things we can never know or gain unless we walk through pain. Some knowledge of God can be given instantly, but others must be forged into us through our life experiences. That doesn’t mean it was God that caused it. Of course, we know that evil is very rampant in our world and is the core of many atrocities. But there are things that God will allow us to walk through, knowing full well, that He will bring us through and that, victoriously and to His glory! We’ve only to cling to Him and His Word through it and we will experience victory! We cannot lose, no matter what things look like.
So what is your action step this week? It’s more a shift in mindset than an action, but an action is required to accomplish this shift. The action is only required if you are still struggling with trust and the trauma you experienced. When these things come up in our spirit, some times, not all, but some times it’s God bringing them to our attention so He can heal us. Let Him. He is near, He will not leave you or allow you to deal with more than you’re able at a time. He is so gentle and loving (Isaiah 40:11). He truly is very sensitive to those who are suffering.
Pour out your heartache to God in prayer or in journaling. This is powerful and brings peace. You’ll begin to step into freedom as you believe that God is for you and that He cares for you.
Psalm 91: 14-16 NKJV (Emphasis mine)
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
© Crisie Hutchings/ GrannyRocksMusic/ THE WORSHIP LIFE/ Beautiful You Project
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.