From: Sondra Brasile (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Sep 15 2003 - 16:23:34 EDT
To Debbie and John,
I haven't really been following this thread very closely; finals are upon
me, but I wanted to respond the the question, "why doesn't God lend a hand?"
I have been a Christian my whole life, which means I have had to ask myself
some serious questions about "why" I believe this or that and what do I base
it upon. God doesn't mind us "putting Him to a test" he has always responded
to my "challenges" the answers come in numerous different ways, but they are
always loud and clear.
There is a song by The Second Chapter of Acts that goes "Is it easier to
forgive sin or to open up my blind eyes?" Not only do I love the song, but
it opens up a thought process, why does God let us fall? If we see through a
glass darkly (or dimly) why doesn't God clean the glass and help us to see
more clearly? Why would he rather me fall into sin or be hurt by another
persons sin, to destroy a part of my life and then have to go through the
whole repentance/forgiveness/recommittment process over and over again?
My life was recently (in the past 5 years) shook to it's foundations, I have
never felt such pain and felt so abandoned, alone or betrayed, I think few
have actually gone through what I went through. Of course this caused me to
question God, not WHY it had happened mostly...that was an entirely human
cause, but God was the one who "clued me in" through a dream; why hadn't he
done it sooner? Why did he let things get to the extent that they did before
he gave me the dream?
I guess I have to first explain the miraculous "dream"... maybe you could
attempt to explain the dream through natural processes, John? Don't bother
saying I "knew subconsciously but was in denial" I've heard that one before,
I guess you'd have to know me, but let me assure you that was not the case.
I had been married since I was 17, for 13 years, I believed despite my
husbands "issues" we were meant to be together (my husband had "social
phobia" when I met him, it and other factors, like his abusive childhood,
severely effected our life), I respected him, depended on him, helped him,
tried to understand and sympathize with his childhhood, honestly I adored
him. Everything I did, from homeschooling our four children to having dinner
hot on the table when he got home, I tried my hardest to be the "virtuous
woman" from the Bible, I kept busy thinking of ways to budget and make our
money stretch to keep the burden on him as light as possible. I had helped
him immensely with his "social phobia" he was able to almost live a normal
life although things like writing a check and some other minor things were
still hard for him, we just worked around those things. I took part-time
evening jobs on and off to "help out" so I wouldn't have to put the kids in
school, etc... I was striving to be perfect..for him (and the kids).
One night I had a disturbing dream, out of the blue, I dreamt that he was
late for work and in the shower when his cell phone began to ring, I let the
answering machine get it (it was a cell phone, but in the dream I could hear
the person leave a message) it was a woman and she was very *friendly*, it
was obvious she knew my husband in a more than casual way, and she was
leaving instructions of where to meet her, she ended the message with "love
ya', bye" I can still hear the voice and the *way* she enunciated those
words loud and clear in my memory. [I would shorten the dream, but the
detail and the sheer amount of facts lend to the "miraculous" aspect of the
dream] I took the phone up to the shower and confronted him, he tried to say
it was "Betty" from the office and I responded that I have "had jobs before
and no one I have ever worked with has ended a call with "love ya' bye". The
dream shifted to outside, it looked like a park; I was watching (in hiding)
as they met and when she got out of the car I came out of hiding. No one
spoke a word, she took two sleeping children out of the back of her car; a
boy and a girl, and without a word we all walked into large building with
stone steps, it looked like a college or hospital, we went a few floors up,
down a hall and to a room, it was a hospital room with a bed and an
armchair. We laid the children, still sleeping, on the bed, she sat on the
bed and my husband in the chair, I stood and began a torrent of screaming,
crying and questions, "what have you done?" "what have you done to me?"
"what have you done to our children?" Instead of responding they fell asleep
with arms folded in disinterest and defiance. I was so frustrated, I went
down to the lobby where apparently my mother was waiting. As we began to
climb the steps back toward the room the building began to collapse, the
steps had become rubble and we had to climb huge slabs of conrete and jump
over holes where only *I* beams were left where the floor had been to get
back up to the room. When we finally arrived they were still asleep, I
grabbed the woman's shoulders and shook her violently, when she awoke I was
startled and taken aback by her face, it was greenish and had sores all over
it, in the dream I thought 'she looks like the excorcist' but I recovered
and began shouting (something that had never occured to me before) "if he's
cheating on me with you, what makes you think he wouldn't cheat on you? Once
a cheater always a cheater...he'll only cheat on you too!" Then I turned to
my husband, who was still asleep and began beating on his chest, which had
no effect on him, he had woke up and he was looking at me cooly,
emotionless, I was crying and beating on his chest asking those same
questions when I woke up. This was the beginning of a 3 year long journey of
discovery, heartache, deceit, lies and pain. I liken it to "through the
looking glass" I was Alice and there were two worlds, I only had known about
one of them...the one I lived in. My husband lived in both; he had two lives
and it had been going on for a very long time...I had NO idea.
The first unbelievable thing about the dream vs. the reality was the phone
call. After the dream I was devastated, but still, it was just a dream,
vivid as it was I had no indication that any of it was true or had any truth
to it whatsoever so I wrote the dream down word for word stored it away and
then tried to forget it, but my curiosity was obviously piqued. For three
months...nothing, not a THING out of the ordinary. I began to believe it was
indeed, just a dream, until one night I couldn't sleep, I was thinking about
the dream and wondered where the cell phone was... I got up in the middle of
the night and found it, he had left it in my car. When I got it it was
flashing: two messages, I listened to the messages and that is when my dream
began to come true, almost word for word. The message, the voice, the
enunciation of the words "love ya' bye" was EXACT! I couldn't breathe. Next
he tried to blame it on the woman who worked in the office at work, I said
almost verbatim what I had said in the dream. The rest of the dream, if not
literally, symbolically, came true over the course of the next 3 years, her
name ended up being "Linda" as in "Linda Blair" which was one possible
reason for her (excorcist) appearance, she was married (as symbolized by the
children), the hospital, not only was the situation urgent or an emergency,
but I spent some time in the mental hospital, then even the hospital began
to fall apart, which symbolically is what happened to my life. The symbols
of the dream are pretty much speculation of course, but the fact that I had
it in the first place considering how ignorant; oblivious I was to my
husbands secret life, is the most miraculous, I think. The betrayal didn't
even stop with that "revelation" there was much, MUCH more that I found out
within the next year. My hubby, tried to pass that one "affair" off as a
"slip up", one "mistake", his first and final "flirting" with a different
life (outside of me and the kids), I found out after a year of believing
this lie and the torture trying to rebuild. That even THAT was a lie, this
wasn't the first, it was only the first time he had been caught, that was
when "I" went off the deep end, he had had numerous "others" and it was
"Linda" that called me and informed me of it, she knew he was still lying to
me, she did it out of spite, but I'm glad she did.
When all was said and done, my husband told me that God (his conscience) had
been troubling him terribly, he could scarcely live with himself for a very
long time, BUT it was right before I had the dream that he had told God once
and for all to SHUT UP! He had completely justified what he was doing in his
mind and he was convinced what he was doing was hurting NO ONE and that it
changed nothing. God even had created an "out" for him to end the
relationship; the woman (Linda) had given him an ultimatum (he was promising
her that he would leave me and run off with her and she was sick of
'waiting') he didn't leave me and she had broken it off, it was right before
I had the dream that he had gone all out to convince her NOT to end the
relationship...then I had the dream. It was as if God had tried to get him
to do the right thing over and over and over again and when he finally
flatly refused, God went above his head and told me Himself.
When I was going through this, you better believe I had it out with God, I
was angry, hurt and felt betrayed by Him also. It was in the hospital that I
realized my life STILL wasn't as bad as it could be, and the time away from
my kids (they were hurting so bad) made me realize how badly I needed to
live...for their sake. From what I know about God; this may have been the
worst tragedy that had ever happened to me but it was by far NOT the only
tragedy. In my experience, in every experience, I end up thanking God, even
for tragedy, I know it's very hard to believe, but even when I was at my
lowest low and I felt completely "undone" I had an intense feeling that some
day I would look back and realize all the good that came out of all of it,
if not just for the wisdom's sake, but for the growth that comes out of
disaster, in God's world; in His realm. I learned more, grew more, gained
more through all that suffering and pain than I could have ever learned in
my picture perfect, storybook...stagnant, life. In "Wonderland" it was
comfortable, it was "happy", it was uncomplicated, but I was a very
different person, a person who had many limitations, many weaknesses, many
fears, many insecurities and not a whole lot of "value" to mankind in God's
scheme of things.
It is said that "hurt people, hurt people", but in God's world healed
people, heal people. If people aren't first wounded themselves, even
dying...then helped and healed how much better do they know how to help
others in that same condition, it just isn't the same when you watch someone
suffer as when you suffer yourself. Until I went through what I went through
I had NO idea what people hurting under those conditions were feeling, I
couldn't relate and I certainly couldn't be of any assistance. God puts such
high value on "empathy" that He sent Jesus (100% human/God himself) to
experience our hurts... our pains so that he could truly know how we feel.
We have a God who has stood where we stand, felt what we feel, hurt where we
hurt and he allows us to go through pain and suffering in order to condition
us, to teach us how to help others and allow us to grow spiritually and
empathize. I like to think that when Jesus hung on the cross and it says he
"took on the sins of the world" he also felt the "pain" that the sin caused
each and every person so that he could empathize with each offense. Even if
I'm not right he was betrayed, lied to, murdered, falsely accused, blown
off, hated for doing nothing wrong, beaten, demeaned, etc... and one time
when I was questioning God at one of my darkest hours, completely beside
myself with grief, I said to Him, "it says you experienced every human
suffering and temptation, but you were never married, you can't possibly
know the depths of betrayal, the totality of suffering that comes from
adultery...from rejection from the one you thought you were one with"
instantly the thought came to me, complete as if it was planted there, "I
feel that way billions of times a day when my people put other things before
me, they commit adultery on me billions of times a day" and I rememebred
that the "church" is the "bride" of Christ.
Also, in response to all the violence in the world, what would you have God
do? Most of the instances in the poem are done and recieved by human beings
that refuse to believe there is a God let alone utilize "help" from God, how
do you suppose God might help them? Would you expect Him to force them?
Divinely intervene? Whenever he does divinely intervene people say he's
overbearing and pushy. He does "help" but people call his hands/his workers
"religious fanatics" and they want no part of them or "it". Some of his help
comes in the form of the 10 commandments or in strict guidelines... codes of
conduct, why should God "step in" when he has warned repeatedly NOT to do
such and such and no one gives a rip what "God thinks"... then suddenly they
are feeling some pain from it and they think he's supposed to come down and
"deliver them" from their own stupidity? Somehow they "deserve" divine help
when they refuse divine guidance? If an "angel" came an bailed you out of
trouble, how much of your "belief" in God would be then based upon "faith"?
Faith is supposed to be the evidence of things unseen and faith is the only
way to please God, so how would angels floating around everywhere leave
anything to faith? Why should He shout His existence when He gives evidence
of it, like in the form of "miracles" like the one I shared and one that you
might experience if you gave him the time of day? The Bible says if you
dilligently seek to find God you will find Him in a personal way, the men
and women on this list have found Him in a personal way, they have faith
because He has revealed Himself to each one of us and we have recognized His
work, no one else, no other explanation could explain it...only He could do
what He did in my life, there IS no other explanation.
My husband and I are together, our family has been completely restored. We
were very nearly divorced and were seperated for a year and 4 months, I had
other prospects; I was dating. God did not supply the money for a divorce, I
was desperately seeking one, but he blocked it at every turn. I felt a
seething hatred for my husband, I could have probably killed him with my
bare hands (I tried to on occasion) for what he had done to me and my
precious children. In addition to my stay in the hospital, there was jail
(him not me), there was restraining orders, etc... things went from bad to
worse, God brought us back together and we are completely different people;
completely different. Things are good, we are still in the recovery process,
but one thing did happen instantaneously; I prayed a prayer for God's will,
that He make my will His will, I never wanted to turn away from God's will
and do my own thing but I couldn't see HOW He could salvage my marriage when
I didn't even "want" to salvage my marriage, I saw my husband as the biggest
mistake I ever made, the biggest liar that ever lived. I only had one
stipulation with God, I was only willing to give in to His will if He knew
for a fact (I mean transcendentally) that my husband would never do this
thing again, I said "if he's ever going to do it again in the future, forget
it, let me go my own way, Amen". It took 24 hours and I was crying then
because it had been such a long time since I had seen my husband...I MISSED
him! It was totally from left field, when I called him, it took a very long
time to convince him that it wasn't a trick, for a year and a half almost I
had spat nothing but venom, I was going out on dates, my kids were getting
to know these other men, who were handsome, successful and very very nice,
they were spending a LOT of money on me buying me jewlery and clothes,
something I had never experienced before, life was looking good WITHOUT
him...now suddenly I was crying and begging for him to "go out on a date"
with me, he was convinced I had lost my marbles and was ready to call the
paddy wagon back, lol, but we went out that Saturday night in January 2000
and we got back together that night, I had to inform my "men" that I was
again "taken", that wasn't easy, I tell ya' to say goodbye to all that
"stuff", all that attention, haha. Tell me that wasn't GOD! I was having the
time of my life and suddenly God comes and spoils it, lol JUST KIDDING
(Sorry God). But things are good, my kids are very happy and every day our
>From: "Debbie Mann" <email@example.com>
>To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Asa" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Stupid little Miracle
>Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 12:39:34 -0500
>My stove went out. I prayed about that as I do about most things.
>They were out of the color I wanted of the stove I wanted. The other place
>didn't carry the stove I wanted for anywhere near the price. I accepted
>another color. It arrived, they pulled out the old stove and then
>the new stove was dented. I asked them to loan it to me while the one I
>wanted came in. They also gave me $20 for my trouble. I have the right one
>now. It looks much better.
>An atheist would say, "Well, why didn't God just get you the right stove
>If he had, it wouldn't have been unusual and I wouldn't have given him any
>special attention or thanks. This way, I took the time to thank him.
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
>Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2003 7:18 AM
>Subject: Re: RE : Freethinking Poetry
>Are you into history? Old literature and poetry? There's a faith in the
>in the duty of man, in the rightness that will eventually arrive.
>Yes, history of religions and some poetry....
>Why Don't He Lend a Hand?
>You say there is a God
>Above the boundless sky,
>A wise and wondrous deity
>Whose strength none can defy.
>You say that he is seated
>Upon a throne most grand,
>Millions of angels at his beck . . .
>Why don't he lend a hand?
>See how the earth is groaning,
>What countless tears are shed,
>See how the plague stalks forward
>And brave and sweet lie dead.
>Homes burn and hearts are breaking,
>Grim murder stains the land;
>You say he is omnipotent . . .
>Why don't he lend a hand?
>Behold, injustice conquers;
>Pain curses every hour;
>The good and true and beautiful
>Are trampled like the flower.
>You say he is our father,
>That what he wills doth stand;
>If he is thus almighty
>Why don't he lend a hand?
>What is this monarch doing
>Upon his golden throne,
>To right the wrong stupendous,
>Give joy instead of moan?
>With his resistless majesty,
>Each force at his command,
>Each law his own creation . . .
>Why don't he lend a hand?
>Alas! I fear he's sleeping,
>Or is himself a dream,
>A bubble on thought's ocean,
>Our fancy's fading gleam.
>We look in vain to find him
>Upon his throne so grand,
>Then turn your vision earthward . . .
>'Tis we must lend a hand.
>'Tis we must grasp the lightning,
>And plow the rugged soil;
>'Tis we must beat back suffering,
>And plague and murder foil;
>'Tis we must build the paradise
>And bravely right the wrong;
>The god above us faileth,
>The god within is strong.
>by Samuel P. Putnam (1838-1896)
>by Matt Martinek
>You search for answers to life and death,
>With hope and faith to what suits you best.
>Oblivious to truth in your own ending life,
>You escape to the fiction, away from the strife.
>Those who are weak use prayer to survive;
>They can't take the hurt given through life.
>They go to the church or temple to pray,
>Then when they leave it seems like a beautiful day.
>Instead of praying and asking for forgiveness,
>Take the initiative and embrace your lack of innocence.
>Use your time not to kneel to the priest,
>But use it instead to perform great feats.
>If you have done wrong, do best to make right
>And take responsibility for your errors in life.
>Why lie to yourself and waste your time,
>When you can live and love 'till the day you die?
>I speak of this because I know it too well,
>For I spent many a year buying what they had to sell.
>Too many religions, which one is right?
>You choose to believe, but I choose to fight!
>Some look ahead to life after death,
>And some embrace the now, with every last breath.
>To everyone who reads this, ponder it well,
>For you will not be going to heaven nor hell.
>Think About It!
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