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Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Faith | 21 comments

I’m Afraid God Will Hurt Me

I’m Afraid God Will Hurt Me

I admit it.  I struggle with God.  It is not a struggle with the sovereignty or goodness of God.  My greatest struggle in prayer is rooted in a deep corner of my heart I often don’t want to acknowledge exists.  Let me be clear; I believe God is good.  I believe whatever happens, He can and will use it for His glory and the good of those who are called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28, Gen. 50:20).  But still, if I were to be completely honest…

I’m afraid God will hurt me or someone I love.

I know this seems strange.  Why would a good God, one identified inseparably with love, want to hurt me or someone I love?

In that deep corner of my heart, there is a fear associated with my faith.  While I believe God is good and loving, I know sometimes the most refining element is fire.  The strongest way to shape something is to strike it.  The loudest voice comes through the most violent megaphone.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  If I were to step back and examine my prayer life, honestly most of my prayers are pointed towards the avoidance of pain, the comfort of pleasures, and the soundness of a conscience of moral peace.  However, according to Lewis, this leaves me only content to hear whispers and the even-keeled voice of a very thunderous Creator God.

This leads me to my point.  I believe God is good.  I have grown most spiritually in the dry times, the excruciating circumstances, and the painful moments of a broken world colliding with a sinful heart.  Pain has been a means of growth by God’s grace.

Still, when I find myself praying for spiritual growth, for God to save my son, for my wife and I to radiantly display the gospel in our marriage, for gospel growth in our church, I fear God’s means will be cancer, a car wreck, or an intense season of trial.  I believe God when He says the ends will be good, glory, and gospel advancement.  I’m on board with the ends.  I just fear God in the means.

As I consider this truth, and acknowledge I am likely not alone with this dark corner of my heart, I offer three things by God’s grace I am trying to remember.

1)   “The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5).  This dark corner is not dark to God.  I need to be honest with God and myself.  God knows this fear.  If anyone knows what it would be like to go through intense difficulty for the glory of God, it is Jesus Christ.  He is a man who lost a father, was betrayed by His friends, was hated and challenged at every step, and ultimately was brutally murdered.  No part of my heart is hidden from God.  It’s okay to admit that it’s there.

2)   “Do not be afraid.”  This phrase appears roughly 33 times in the Scripture.  God does not want us to fear.  At the same time, He knows He can be scary.  He knows life can be strained.  He knows faith can be heavy.  In reality, God has been much more honest with us about pain than we have been with Him.  Death may have a sting, but it has no victory.  Everything in between is simply the flailing about of a dragon that has already had its head cut off.  Christ is risen.

3)   “Though He slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to His face” (Job 13:15).  While these words were said by Job, a man who experienced the most extreme aspect of my fear, they echo and epitomize the heart of the Psalms, the resilience of the prophets, and the steadfastness of the apostles.  If Christ Jesus is the cornerstone of a great structure built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-22), and I am a brick in this structure, then this confession must be mine as it was of so many who went before.  Either way, life will be difficult.  Do I want to pretend I can avoid it or do I want to embrace it, the God who allows it, and be thankful God has been honest in His word that pain is a part of life?  Though it is a part of life, it is not a part of eternity for those in Christ.  As a result, I can walk in pain in light of the victory won and the goodness of a God who never leaves nor forsakes.

If we read the Scriptures, we know cancer, car wrecks, and catastrophe are just a part of life.  We don’t have to explain it or try to reconcile it with an idea of a loving God.  Love is not always comfortable.  I love my wife not only in health, but in sickness.  We need a larger perspective and definition of love.

While we may pray for a cure, Christ ultimately provides healing.  That may mean healing the heart while the body decays.  It may mean rest in the Spirit for one who cannot sleep in the body.  It means Healing is greater than Curing and we are healed in Christ.

This dark corner of my heart in reality is not dark.  It’s not even a corner.  It’s the center of a heart struggling between wanting to be Lord of my life and admitting that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  One is fantasy.  One is reality.  What a wonderful reality that Christ has overcome and has not given us a Spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7, Rom. 8:15).  He is honest.  We can be honest with Him.  In this, we can know the healing already from whatever injury may be to come.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

About The Author

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith http://ryanandrewsmith.com

Ryan is associate pastor at Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is the author of Not That God.

Ryan Smith has blogged 74 posts at wordslingersok.com

  • Heather B

    How can I thank u for your wise, honest & kind words. I was born with Spina Bifida & lost my husband in a plane crash over 5 yrs ago. Add no children & continuing medical probs & I’ve been afraid for a long time. You’ve helped me want to start again with God. Bless u heaps.

  • Stephanie Harrison

    This post may be old but this morning I just had to know if anyone else out there is going through and facing what I face everyday. To read this brought tears to my eyes because no one wants to be honest about what they feel. I fight fear everyday and pray for peace but also in that corner is waiting for myself to be hurt again, disappointed or let down over and over again. I never wanted to admit it because we are to walk by faith and God has not given me the spirit of fear. My heart is to do Gods will and to walk in his ways but I struggle. I pray to die to self and to take up my cross but there are days when the cross is so heavy that I need help to carry it.

    • Dean Bradley

      I was balling. Im afraid of God. Everyone who said they loved and cared about me hurt me. I confessed all my sins and twice I was terrified of confessing something that the lord showed me I never did. False memories…. Now I thought God told me to do something that would deatroy my heart. Walk away from my disabled daughter. I mean… Yikes Im a wreak..

      • Stephanie Harrison

        Hello Dean,
        God would never ever tell you to walk away from your daughter, she needs you. It took me a long to realize that sometimes what we are hearing is not coming from God but from the enemy. Fear does not come from God it comes from satan and so does anxiety and all the other fleshly things we deal with on a daily basis. Two years ago I struggled so much but once I started reading my bible and taking the time to understand who God truly was I realized that a
        lot of what I struggles with was the enemy, myself and low self-esteem.

        • Lenny Dean Bradley

          I just got your responce and thank you.

    • David McClintock

      What does “die to self” mean?

      • Stephanie Harrison

        Hello David,

        Die to self mean, dying to my old way of thinking and handling issues in my life. Example: Before I gave my life to Christ I was very very selfish, it was all about me and me only. If I did not get my way I would get angry and throw people out my life. Let me tell you I was a miserable person angry,demanding, controling. When I began to read the bible I realized I needed to die to those ways. As the Holy spirit began to deal with those attitudes I began to get free and happy person, now it is not an easy process because I had been like that for a long time and it had become a part of me. I pray that helps you.

        • David McClintock

          If you “die to self” how do you survive and thrive in this world? This is a jungle. It’s inhabitants (other humans) are looking out for #1. They will take the shirt off your back to enrich themselves, even if they don’t need it, without a second thought, conscious, or care.

          That is the fallen state of this world.

          How can I be expected to “die to self” in such an environment?

          • Stephanie Harrison

            My purpose as a Christian David is to please god and obey him. I cannot change another person I can only pray and ask God to change me. I know we live in a fallen world but I trust God and if someone hurts me I pray and ask God to heal that hurt. Being a Christian is a walk of faith you have to either trust God or not.

          • Cristina Stroud

            Die to self means you stop relying on yourself like you did before you gave your life to Christ and fully rely on Him from now on. Everything you do in your life ask God to guide you, let Him take over because He knows whats best for us. Even though you may not agree with some of his decisions, we have to just trust Him. Once you are baptized that mean you gave your life to Christ, you are to let him lead you.

  • mikecnj

    “Though He slay me, I will hope in him”
    You know what : I just wish He’d just get it over with and end my misery.
    4 years : constant prayer : checking and rechecking my attitude : constant pain.
    You know what else : I’m sick of it AND there aren’t any other options.

  • Jonathan

    Exactly how I feel. Because I know from personal experience only praying for his will leaves me broken, given up hope. I know he loves me very much, and that doesn’t mean good things I’ve learned. So I work hard, do my best. Love God, but don’t like him that much at all. I appreciate what he’s done, but I’m not praying to be ruined.

    • Hanna

      I’m so sorry you feel this way. I know that it’s hard, and He knows that it’s hard. It’s strange that when we pray for His will, more faith, more love for Jesus we are left broken and scarred. But maybe that’s the point of affliction: to be broken so much we need Him to be our strength. We depend on Him and His saving grace. God wants us so much He allows pain to touch us so that we’ll in turn trust Jesus as our Savior and Healer so much that we get into Heaven, as trusting that Jesus will deliver us gets us there. I’m struggling, and it hurts. Most of the time I’m so afraid to ask God for more faith and more love and more of Jesus because I don’t want pain. And yet, comfort here usually leads us to forget about God, because we are fallen, and through pain He reminds us that we are not home yet. Satan wants us to forget, and God knows this. So He’ll use pain if He must to shift our focus onto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faiths. I’ll pray for you.

      • Jonathan

        Thank you Hanna very kind of you

  • Tyshja

    Thank you for your honesty. I am finally admitting, though I have been a Christian for years, that I am afraid of God. I also understand that it has come from an unrealistic view of who He really is. Because the church has used God as a way to control members and get them to obey it has left a image of this angry God. Not true. Pls pray for me as I overcome this part of my trial.

  • Deborah Barnes

    This post is old but right on time. I”m about to embark and take over for a very organized and extremely competent person for three weeks. I’m scared to death…scared that I will fail and be fired or every weakness exposed. I have confessed this to God; but he already knew. Now after reading this, I truly know that whatever happens, God is already there and that he will not put on me more than I can bare at this stage of my faith and journey. May my love for you grow even more dear God….thank you.

  • Shawn

    Thank you for your open and honest posting. it is comforting to know I am not alone with my fear. I know my fear has built a very high wall between God and myself.

    • Boy Savonarola

      Shawn I feel you

  • Cristina Stroud

    I’ve been looking for a post like this for a long time. I live in fear of many horrible things that could possibly happen in my life. I pray everyday saying “no matter what, let your will be done Lord” then I wait nervously for God to test me. We get tested all the time it says in the Bible but the real big challenge came one day. I got a big heath scare. I was terrified, but in my terror I remembered bible verses one in particular 1 Thessalonians 5:18
    “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
    My mind was saying panic, you’re going to die! But my heart and lips were singing praise to my Father. I was saying these “The joy of the Lord is my strength” “God I love you, if this is your will then let it be so” give me strength to accept this and just trust you” I’m scared give me courage” “I praise you God, almighty Father!” I also sang hymns, in the midst of all the terror I was trying to focus on my God not me. It was harrrrrrrrd. Well, he heard me, I got better and better as time passed. I gave great Thanks to Him who helped me. But I still wait sometimes nervously for the next one. I hate living like this my worse fear is one day I’ll will not pass the next big test, fail and walk away from Him because of my weakness. But I learned something amazing, I fear because I’ve never fully understood His perfect love for me. I have to be completely confident of His love for me to be at peace and calm. 1 John 4:18.
    18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
    God is still teaching me this everyday until I get it.

    • Boy Savonarola

      You just perfectly described what I am going through. Yes, God is love but that love doesn’t mean that He will not allow us to have terrible diseases and other things that we don’t like.

      I just don’t know what to do. I really, really fear what He will allow in my life. It’s giving me terrible anxieties.

      • Cristina Stroud

        God is not going to let you fail, fail meaning he won’t give up on you. it says in the Bible that He won’t give you more than you can handle. God tests us to see where our heart is with him, and to help us mature in faith. King David asked to be tested, “probe my heart” he said. He also cried out to God frequently and God answered. Every test makes us stronger, that’s his will for us. Many Christians live without expecting trials, living the comfortable life thinking God won’t let that happen. That is very foolish. Like you said He allows us to face them for a good reason. the bible says he does this because he loves us not because he hates us.

        You are doing a good thing by being prepared for the enemies attack that God allows. Jesus said to Peter before his crusifixtion, Luke 22:31-34 “the devil asked permission to take you down” but I prayed for you peter that you will stay in faith.” Even though Peter denied him 3 times, God forgave him and continued his ministry! Once the Holy Spirit is in us it’s hard to fall away. His is not going to let you go. It’s also okay to feel anxiety, fear, Jesus certainty went through that before his death. He was in tears, even asked the father to take the cup away! So he knows exactly what you and I are going through. He will strengthen us. I’m going to pray for you!

        This video will inspire you, it’s about spiritual warfare, it helped me to understand the necessity of the tests in our lives as a a follower of Jesus Christ.

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