When God Allows Pain {or Says “No”} Part 1

Some have asked, “What happens when God says ‘no’? 
Others have asked, “Do you put something in your Memorial Box to represent the ‘no’ as well?
And lastly, “Do we really deserve anything at all?”
Great questions!
I thought I would divide it into a two part series 
over the next few days. 
Here goes:
I can only speak for myself out of my own personal experience and it must always be held under the light of what scripture says about it all.  
So here’s my very personal story:  
I have eluded in different blog posts that I had much abuse growing up.  Yes, much.  There was not one thing that was “normal” about my life.  
In fact in junior high school my fear-filled life was causing me to ask multiple times a day if I could use the pay phone.  I would run {literally} down the hall, dashing down a huge flight of stairs two at a time, pop my dime in the pay phone and call my mom to make sure everything was okay.  
Needing to call home many times a day was so concerning to my junior high English teacher that he sent me to the guidance counselor’s office to see if he could find out what was going on.  
I sat across the desk from a very kind looking man whom I had never seen before.  Looking back, I sincerely believe he cared and I know for sure that my English teacher cared.  My guidance counselor got right to the point, “What’s going on at home?”  Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I wouldn’t have even known where to begin.  Looking down I mumbled, “Nothing.”   He questioned me a bit more.  
I was not going to elaborate on anything because I feared that I would be put in foster care.  My 13 year old mind reasoned, if ‘this’ was going on in my home with people who ‘loved’ me, what in the world would happen in a foster home?  And besides, did I want my dad to go to jail?  Thus, the answer, “nothing.”  
When my emotional healing began at the age of 26, I spent a couple of pain-filled years digging into God’s word: learning who I was in Christ, going to an awesome Godly woman for counseling and memorizing scripture upon scripture to have my mind renewed in an effort to understand God’s deep and everlasting love for me.  

At the age of four I had asked Jesus to come into my heart and I had loved Him and served Him and spent time whispering to Him through so many sleepless nights growing up but because of the abuse I really didn’t understand who I was in Christ and I didn’t really understand that God was a loving Father. 

No doubt, many of you know what I’m talking about.   Your life has been equally painful.  You know what I mean.  
Finally, after years of healing, issuing forgiveness {we will talk about that one day} and re-learning the things of God from a loving-Father perspective, one day I could honestly look back on my life and say, “I am thankful for all the horrible things that happened.” 
The very things that had tormented me had served to make me who I am today and Almighty God does not waste suffering, pain or trials.  
In fact it says in Romans 5:3, 4:  “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, proven character; proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.”  
Yes, suffering is a good thing.  

If we allow it, it will eventually produce ‘hope’.  

But we have to look at it from God’s perspective.  He is loving.  We live in a very sinful world.  Bad things happen to good people.  God’s word says, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.”  We, as Christians are not exempt from pain.  Anyone who would say otherwise is not telling the truth.  
So do I have something in my Memorial Box to represent the years of abuse?  I do not.  The symbol from the years of abuse are in the Memorial Box of my heart.  Details known only to me.  It’s all safe there.  

I speak publicly about the years of abuse, but I do not elaborate on details.  They are mine.  The message I speak is a message of hope for survivors of abuse.   A message of hope even for those who have perpetrated abuse.  There is healing for all at the foot of the cross.   

The pages of my Bible are marked up with the promises of God, promises He has whispered just to me.  They are promises for you as well, but they have been personalized to me as I have spent time on my knees before Him.  He is faithful.  He has brought much beauty out of all the yukky ashes.  I am forever grateful.  
Of course, if you have a Memorial Box of sorts, it is yours.  If you choose to put something in your Memorial Box to represent a “no”, that is wonderful.  It’s personal.  It’s yours.  
For me, personally, I have had many, many, many heartaches, struggles, trials, loss, betrayals and disappointments in my life.  Many, many, many, many times the answer has been ‘no’.  
I came to the place, quite a few years ago, where I felt like I finally understood that each ‘no’ was God’s best plan for my life.   
I remember jumping up and down {literally from the stress} outside our beloved little log home as the smoke billowed and the flames leapt from our home and I waited for the fire trucks to arrive.  I was crying out to the Lord aloud and the words that kept coming from my lips were this:  “I want to get this right Lord. I want to honor you in all of it.”  In this life-changing situation, I wanted my heart, my life, my words to honor Him above all else. No doubt, it had taken me years to get to that point (and no, I will not get it right every time, but that is my goal.)  
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 that “He causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.”   If that’s true, then not one thing will come to my life or yours without first passing through His loving fingertips.  


Health issues?
Nothing will come to my life without my loving Father approving it.
Has He caused it?  
Not a chance.
But He has allowed it.
That can be a hard pill to swallow, if we don’t put each struggle, trial and painful situation through the filter of that scripture in Romans 5.  Struggles produce Perseverance.  Perseverance produces Proven Character and Proven Character produces Hope.  I’d like to believe that I am continuing to become a woman of much hope after all the struggles and trials the Lord has graciously brought me through in my 53 years. 
It’s really a matter of resigning our will to His.  
Only His.  
Face it, we are very human beings.  We want our way, we want it now and truth be known – we want our way to be cushy!  
But if we all got our way ‘now’ we would all be a bunch of whiney, demanding and very, very shallow babies.  
It could even be easy to think we ‘deserve’ whatever we want because of our relationship with Christ.  
However, that also is not true.
We don’t deserve anything.  Nothing.  Nada. 
His word says that our “righteousness is as filthy rags.”  As good as we think we are?  Yeah, it’s all filthy rags compared to Him. 
So why does God sometimes say “yes” to us?  
Stay tuned for Part 2.

25 thoughts on “When God Allows Pain {or Says “No”} Part 1

  1. Amen and Amen!

    "But if we all got our way 'now' we would all be a bunch of whiney, demanding and very, very shallow babies."

    So thankful God loves me enough to help me grow past the baby stage!!!!!

  2. Dear sweet sweet Linny
    What a beautiful post with such solid theology behind your words. Amen and Amen! I read it to Joel too and he is right with you! It stirred us right up with spiritual joy!
    As you know, I identify so well with what you say about your childhood and the fears you have experienced along with so many trials and struggles. I have been a Christian for 50 years, but thanks to you dear friend I have been able to embrace the deep deep deep love of God for me the past year and it has changed my life. I know this post will change the lives of many, and to GOD be the glory!!!!!
    I look forward to hearing part two. Love you Linny.

  3. I am thankful that your life is the way it is and you can help so many. Just so you know, I'm not thankful for those painful growing up years. I do love my parents both now deceased but thankful for those years…no not at all. Even though God was with me during the worst of moments my mind still remembers it all like a movie I watch. Then, I realize the little one in the movie is me.

  4. Thanks for sharing so honestly. I appreciate your willingness to share the truth not just about your younger years but also about our Father. This truth – the one with the pain, betrayal and 'no's' – isn't one we hear often enough. I cringe every time I hear someone say, "I just want to be happy." or "The only thing I want for my kids is for them to be happy." The truth is that God's plan doesn't always include 'happy'. Thanks for reaffirming that!

  5. I have tears in my eyes, it came when you asked the Lord that you want to respond to Him the right way when your log house went up in flames.

    Two scriptures came to my mind as I was reading your post:

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

    And about He did not cause it, but He allowed it… so true, it reminded me of Job, Satan asked for permission and He permitted Satan to cause Job so much anguish and grief… Job held on and in the end, God blessed him abundantly.

    Love you, sister 🙂 Looking forward to your 2nd part.

  6. I am so glad you wrote this post. I have seen many blogs of adoptive parents that are finding that the timeline of adoption, specifically being in a country waiting on the courts for longer than they had hoped for, is the time that they write about Satan and the fact that he hates adoption, so he is the one putting up the roadblocks. My thoughts have always been that we have to have faith that this is God's plan, and that He has a timeline that is not ours, He knows the outcome of the situation that they are praying about. I don't think that is a popular line of thinking, that they prefer to think it is Satan. I would love to know what your thoughts are about that?? I suffered abuse as a child as well, in my home and in a grandparent's home, so I know exactly what you are talking about. I wouldn't even know where to begin to talk about it.

  7. Love this post Linny!!! It reminds me of my good friend standing at the altar during his 5 year old daughter's funeral. He spoke of her sudden illness….and the hours they prayed on their knees, praying for God to heal their daughter. He told all of us "God did not cause my daughter to get sick and die, but he did allow it to happen…and we are OK with that." It was a powerful moment and one I will never forget!! Please know that they have grieved mightily their loss but know that their daughter is safe with Jesus.
    Kathie in NY

  8. Thank you for your words of wisdom to my heart. I have not suffered abuse, but am in a dark season right now needing to learn again the hard lesson of relinquishing my will (stubborn and desirous of the "cushy" life you spoke of) to the will of my Father–Who is GOOD! I am praying for a Godly mentor for me right now, and your post was a little taste of what having a mentor might feel like! Thank you!

  9. This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. (I don't know if you remember me writing you on Facebook last summer about a student, but things are truly heartbreaking right now.)

    So I decided that I needed my own reminder forever and I got the word "hope" tattooed on my inner wrist yesterday afternoon. =)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I lay here in bed, once again . In pain, exhausted, weary and wondering. I have thirteen little ones the Lord has entrusted into my care and another diagnosis seems daunting.

    However, I know that His grace is sufficient for me. Many people have said that they do not understand, with all we have given up {living in Northern Uganda with a houseful of children}, why I would battle ill health for so many years. But, like you mentioned, "we deserve nothing."

    All that really matters is that my soul has been healed! That's more than enough….

    May we both be filled with peace, joy and praise as we serve the Lord.


  11. Thank you so much for sharing it! Yes, I belive – and I know it well, that suffering can be good for my life…

    A scripture which is very important to me in the moments of suffering, troubles and when the God says "no" is this passage from Sirach:

    1My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.
    2 Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
    3 Cling to him and do not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.
    4 Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient,
    5 since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.
    6 Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him.

    Thank you once again, God bless you! And I'm waiting for part two 🙂 Maria from Poland

  12. Thank you for that Post Linny…it has REALLY ministered to my heart!
    I have been clinging onto the Romans 8:28 passage, knowing that the hard things I am walking through are for His glory and my good…that helps!


  13. Thank you for the reminder that God does not waste our times of suffering, trial, want. I've been struggling to make sense of some things that have happened in my past and this was such a good reminder of how everything before has prepared me for where I am now. God is good ALL THE TIME!!

  14. This is such a good word. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. Those could be my words to you but are actually 1 Cor. 1:3-4.

  15. Thank-you for sharing and for being so open and honest. It is so neat seeing how God takes the yucky stuff we go through and makes us someone beautiful because of it. My mom struggles with bi-polar depression and has since I was a very small child. I don't wish that experience on anyone, but I am thankful for how God used the difficult times to make me so close to Him. I never would have had the relationship with Him then or now that I do had I not had to fall on my face seeking His strength and peace day after day. I love hearing stories about how God has molded us through the hard things in our lives. What an encouragement to me and so many others.

    Ps. We still pray for Ruby Grace every single day. My little girls always have her in their hearts.

  16. Linny
    I appreciate this post so much. I am realizing an over simplistic view of God attributing all suffering to evil has given me a one dimensional view of my God. I am learning to trust him even when it hurts. Thank you! Looking for ward to Part 2…

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