I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
No, no, not really…at least not in the images flashing before my eyes type of vision.
I did however get a thought from God. I was preparing for bed and thinking about in the beginning of the semester. Early on in this semester I was cast as Elizabeth Proctor from Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible”, for a friend currently taking a directing class. The role was one of the absolute highlights of my semester. I learned and grew so much as an actress. It was such a fun and challenging role, unlike any I had ever portrayed. Tonight, as I was recalling the experience, I was taken back to one of our early rehearsals. In scene one in Act II, John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth get into a very heated and emotional quarrel one evening. John becomes so angry that he lashes out at Elizabeth. In the scene, our director had chosen for the actor playing John, my good friend Seth, to grab Elizabeth (me) by the arm, shake her, and shout in her face. I had never played such a highly intense, emotional scene before.
During our first rehearsals I had a lot of trouble getting into character for that scene. Our director, Jessica, would say, “Sarah, it looks like your just letting his words and anger roll off you. I want to see some fear on Elizabeth’s part.” I tried, but ended up getting really frustrated at one point because mentally could not seem to tap into any sort of fear for the scene. Seth would have me aggressively by the arm, be shouting angrily in my face, but I was unable to summon up a panicked fear. I couldn't understand why.
“What is so hard for you to connect with?” Jessica asked me after one take.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “It’s Seth; I know Seth would never do anything to hurt me.” There was my answer. I trusted Seth… and even when he was acting angry, even physically lashing out at me, I felt safe. I knew he would never hurt me.
Recalling this made me wonder about all the times I DO NOT think the same of God. When tragedy strikes in my life, how quick I am to think… “God hates me!”… “God’s angry and now He’s punishing me!”… How easy it is for me to assume God is out to get me. That He is this big, hateful, angry God who wants to make me suffer as much as possible. WHAT? That’s NOT biblical.
This God I speak of is the same God who sent his only perfect, beloved Son to die a horrible criminal’s death so that I could be saved. God rescued me. He preserved my life, even when I was a lost and evil sinner. Not only that, but this same God has blessed me in countless ways during my lifetime. It makes no sense that it should be so hard for me to trust that God isn’t trying to hurt me. He cares for you and me. He loves us. In our refusal to trust God, we force ourselves to live in a state of fear that is completely and totally unnecessary.
Just as my thought was that my friend Seth would never do anything to hurt me… It is my hope that I will change my attitude to realize that even when difficult times come, when I suffer, I know God still loves me and is still looking out for me.
"But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one."
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Don’t get me wrong though. Does God discipline us? Yes. Does He allow us to go through difficult and painful times? Yes. BUT He does it all for our benefit. When we realize and LIVE with the knowledge and comfort that God is constantly looking out for us, protecting us, guiding us… SAVING us. Maybe then instead of immediately turning away from Him in fear when bad things happen, we will turn to Him for His comforting fulfillment, gentle hope, and all sufficient love.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."