Monday, April 12, 2010

I wanted to punch God in the face.....

Our van bounced down a bumpy dirt road into a small Ugandan village. We pulled up in front of a shoddy building where several small children were wandering in the street. The children ran to us and hugged as we stepped out of our vehicle.

The embankment to the building was steep and muddy, so we walked carefully amongst the throng of children who were now encircling us. There faces were bright and their smiles were captivating. I hadn’t imagined such a warm welcome from these little ones because I had heard the rumors: rumors of starvation and sickness and corruption. But nothing prepared me for what I was about to encounter.

It was soon realized that a 12 yr. old girl had been brutally beaten and gang raped, to the point that she needed immediate medical attention. It was revealed that girls as young as 11 and 12 years old were raped and abused on a regular basis by men and boys (including those who ran the orphanage). The children with smiling faces who were clinging to us and so happy to see us had not eaten in 8 days.

You read that correctly; they had not eaten in 8 days, unless you count bugs, grass, and poop as food.

Let me be clear here: Any money that was received by the orphanage for food and to care for the children was pocketed by the “directors” (who were not necessarily even on site) and used for their own personal gain; the same directors who were raping and pillaging the children. These are the same people, that when a child died of illness or starvation, would throw the little bodies into the fire pit and let them burn away as if they never existed.

While we were there several children were sick and in bed, awaiting a death sentence. Also, a five-year-old boy collapsed into the arms of a teammate. The orphanage staff told us that he did not need medical attention. Tell that to a bunch of mama bears. We took him to a medical clinic and were told that he was dying of starvation, malaria, anemia, and worms. He might not make it through the night.

I was filled with so many emotions, as you can imagine. But one thing was for sure. I wanted to punch God right in the face. When I was alone I cried out to Him, shaking my fists in the air “Hello?!? What the heck?!?! Do you see what’s happening here?!?! How can you let this go on?!?!? Where is Justice?!?!?”

As I dropped to my knees in a sobbing heap on the floor, God lead me to some passages in scripture. One was this:

Habakkuk 2:9-11 (New Living Translation)

9 “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! 
 You believe your wealth will buy security, 
 putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger. 
 10 But by the murders you committed, 
 you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 
 11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you, 
 and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint.

And verse 16 (NIV) says: “ Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.”

God let me know that He saw what was going on and those deeds would not go unpunished by Him, the Righteous Judge. He was in control. He was working on it. And I know these things because I cried out to Him, and He answered me. Jeremiah 33:3 says this: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

God is big enough to take our anger. He’s big enough to take our hurts. I don’t think He minds when we shake our fists at Him and cry out “Why?!” There are many stories in the Bible of people who were hurt, broken, and disappointed and when they cried out to God, He answered them.

So tell Him. Tell Him that you just want to punch Him in the face. Bear your soul. He will listen and love you through it. And then be ready for His answer.

Stayed tuned to hear what He told me to do next.


Heather said...

God IS big enough to handle our anger, and our doubts, and our questions. In fact, I believe He WANTS to hear us cry out to Him. Don't we want our children to come to us with their fears, their doubts, their questions? It's the questions that go unasked and unanswered that eat at our souls. Only by pouring them out can we (perhaps) find answers, (hopefully) find peace, and (definitely) move beyond those questions to a deeper relationship with Him.

Yesterday's Sunday School lesson was about Doubting Thomas, the disciple I've always heard criticized and ridiculed for his insistence in seeing and touching before believing. But I don't see him that way. Thomas was hurt, and scared, and angry, and he couldn't get past those emotions without help. Jesus could easily have refused to appear to Thomas, or yelled at him for his disbelief, but He didn't. Jesus took Thomas' anger and fear and doubt, and gave Thomas what he needed to get past it. Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him see and touch for himself.

Jesus didn't turn from Thomas when Thomas was angry/scared/hurt, and He won't turn from us. God IS big enough to handle our questions and doubts and fears. He won't run away when we want to punch Him in the face. And that's what I told my kids in Sunday School yesterday.

The Vogels said...

Awesome comment Heather!! I totally agree with you!!

Anonymous said...

I have to say when I first saw the "heading". I had to check this out..WOW! Thanks for the post..And thanks for the scripture today,I really needed to hear this.

John Vogel said...

and here I was just trying to see how we connected on linked-in.

You do important work. I'll try and follow it more closely.