As Though You Meant to Harm Me

Losing a Friend

I once lost a friend in a way that still stings. After building our relationship for several years, mapping her emotional trenches and revealing mine, talking her through several crises and vice versa, she suddenly stopped calling or responding to me. After a month of wondering, I finally asked whether I had upset her, thinking I surely couldn’t have done anything extreme enough to warrant complete and silent rejection; there had to be another explanation. But in fact, I had made one careless, judgmental statement which had hurt her feelings. I did sincerely apologize, but she never let me close again.

If she had, I would have wanted to ask her whether, after everything we had been through, she truly believed I was the kind of person who intended to hurt her – because that is how she treated me. She backed away from me as you would from a strange and hostile dog, forgetting me, the well-known companion who had long accompanied and comforted her. As I was praying through the sting of her assumptions, it suddenly occurred to me that I do the very same thing to my Heavenly Father all the time. I treat Him as though He meant to harm me.

A Question of Trust

I question His goodness. I retreat from the circumstances He sends me. I doubt His presence with me. I parse His words, looking for the catch, the threat, the deception. I have been a Christian for more than thirty-five years, and this same Lord has walked me through life and death, depression and loss, forgiveness and renewal. But even had I just learned this very day of His terrible sufferings for me, that alone ought to be enough for me to run toward Him in my pain rather than backing away in dread or disappointment. Anyone who would endure the torments of hell on my behalf can be trusted. No one who loves me that much can mean me harm, even if I don’t understand what He is doing.

A Final Prayer

So, God, it breaks my heart that I have treated you like a strange and hostile dog rather than the dearest friend of my heart. Your prodigal daughter has run from You rather than toward You.  Please forgive me for ever treating You as though You meant to harm me.

I’m going to be away from my computer for a while, so I’m reposting the above which was originally published five years ago. I hope you will go back and search the site for other reading material, especially if you are new here.

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