“Satan wants you to believe God is vindictive and cruel. God is just, yes, but He tempers that with love. The Bible talks over and over about how He stays His hand, how He gives His servants chance after chance.” (Susan May Warren from The Wonder of You)
I have spent too many years of my life under the false assumption that God was out to get me. That I had to earn His love and didn’t really understand what grace meant. Unconditional love? Understood that even less.
One memory that stands out in my mind is when our children were six and three (our oldest two). My husband and I had no debt and we planned a trip to Disneyworld, with cash, for a family vacation right before Christmas. A few weeks before we were to leave, we found out we were pregnant with our third child. While we were both super excited to get to raise another child, we hadn’t exactly planned to be a family of five.
I remember having a conversation with Bill approximately one week before our trip. I told him I had this bad feeling… either that we were all going to die while on vacation or our baby was going to die. I couldn’t shake the feeling but I felt like God was mad at me and wanted to punish me. He reassured me that isn’t how God does things and besides, we weren’t doing anything outside of His will so there was nothing to punish us for.
We went on our vacation and had a great time. Made lots of family memories and despite an ice storm the day before we were to fly out and a sick three-year-old on antibiotics the entire trip, it was considered a success. One morning less than a week after we returned home, I woke up and within a few hours miscarried. Two months later began what has been an eight-year journey of health issues for my husband that have tried us financially, emotionally, and physically.
Now, does that mean that God was mad at us and punished us? Does that mean that because I “sinned” someway, I deserved to lose our baby before I had a chance to meet him and my husband deserved to get sick? No, to all of it.
I grew up in a loving Christian home where relationship versus religion was modeled. Our family had stresses like every other and none of us were perfect (thank goodness), so in the scheme of things, I was very blessed to be raised by the parents whom God chose for me. So… this past year I’ve wondered, “What lie have I been believing that would make it so hard for me to trust that God truly loves me and isn’t out to get me?”
Come back next time and I will tell you how He answered that heartfelt question in such an amazing way.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015