Surviving Your Worst Nightmare: A Guide for the Betrayed

Patti Snodgrasswritten by Patti Snodgrass

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God does care about this mess you are in right now

Your heart is broken, mangled and torn. Your life feels out of control. You wonder if the constant turmoil that rages in your mind will ever cease. You may wonder where God is in all of this mess. You may ask, “If there really is a God why does he allow so much pain and confusion? Does God care? Really? Where is God now?”

I know just how you feel; I too struggled with those same God questions. I also know out of my experience that God did not cause this tragedy, (although I often blamed him for it) and he could not have stopped my husband’s unfaithfulness, (I struggled with that one too). Our loved ones made those life–altering decisions all on their own. It was not by the hand of God. What I learned as I tried to live my new life of broken wedding vows and forsaken love is that terrible events happen, but through it all God loves us so very much and he cares deeply about our painful stories.

These words may be difficult to read, let alone believe right now because of the heart pain; the wounds of the betrayal are profound—life changing. It is in the simple act of believing, believing that God is fond of you—so fond of you that his son Jesus was sent to earth to teach us just how much God loves us. The Bible is loaded with stories that depict God’s love for his people. This simple act of choosing to believe is all it takes. It is a courageous act for sure, to believe in a God who cares when it seems that your whole world has been shattered beyond repair. The hard part is to believe that you are no longer on this journey of forsaken love and betrayal all by yourself; that God is walking right beside you, all of the time. This too was difficult for me to grasp. But eventually, over time, I knew I was not alone on my wilderness walk. I just knew!

The Message, (my favorite version of the Bible) talks about God and his son Jesus in a way that is simple—easy on a wounded heart.

   “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again“…
   “The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.”
— John 3:16–18, 34–36 The Message

When you choose to trust God, even when nothing makes sense, the dark blanket of doubt, insecurity and fear will begin to lift. I know this for certain; for God is a truth teller, he cannot lie.

… Jesus talked to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.”
— John 8:12 New Century Version

If you choose to believe that God loves you, and if you choose to believe that God sent his son Jesus to demonstrate the lavishness of God’s love for you, (even if your belief is as tiny as the tiniest seed), then the spiritual side of your healing journey has begun. God will never, ever forsake you.

“Be strong. Take courage … because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you.”
— Deuteronomy 31:6 The Message

   “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift–giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
   Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah (Jesus), his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long–range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
   It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
   It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.”

— Ephesians 1:3–14 The Message

He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds.
— Psalm 147:3 New Century Version

I pray for you as you ponder over all that you have just read. I pray you choose to allow God to love you, to guide you and to heal you. If you decide you want to believe, simply pray something like this:

God, I feel so lost right now; I am scared. I do not know what to believe anymore, my loved ones betrayal has shattered my ability to trust. But God, I am choosing to trust you right now. Everything feels so dark and confusing; I do not understand how you work, but I am choosing to believe that you sent your son to show me how much you love me. Thank you for that. God, when I cannot sense that you are with me as you promised, please comfort me in ways that only you can. Thank you God for hearing the cries from a wounded and fearful heart …

If you prayed the above prayer, or a similar one, you have taken a courageous first step. Please know that when you stumble and fall in your faith walk, it is okay. Pick yourself up, shake off the dirt and start walking again. God is gracious and loving when we falter.

If you do not have a Bible, or if the version you do have is difficult to understand, go to a Christian bookstore and browse through the different versions and buy one that you feel you can connect with—one that grabs your heart. A good place to start reading would be in the New Testament section with the four Gospels. The book of John emphasizes the love of God. The book of Mark introduces Jesus as well. Matthew is more matter of fact; it highlights the history and linage of the Jewish people. And the book of Luke is more detailed, since Luke was a physician. From there you may choose to read from the following list of books.

I John
II John
III John
I Corinthians
II Corinthians
Psalms (Read at any time)

What you choose to read after these books is your own personal preference. (However, give yourself some spiritual growth time before reading Revelation, the last book in the Bible.)

As a new–believer, understanding what you are reading can be confusing and cumbersome. When you read, train yourself to read slowly. Ask God to help your mind comprehend what you are reading. Take notes if you like; writing down your thoughts as you read can help you process what you are learning.

Many prayers have already gone out for you—before your world collapsed—before your heart was broken—I prayed for you. May you find the courage to trust in God and allow him to guide you on your spiritual walk.

If you are interested in learning more about God and his son Jesus, I highly recommend you purchase the book Moments With The Savior by Ken Gire.

For additional reading, I also recommend Welcome Home … to the God who Loves You written by Dave Browning, pastor and author. Dave’s insightful writing style will help guide you as you continue on your spiritual journey. This resource is a free PDF file.

*Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
*Scripture taken from the New Century Version Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.