The Tyranny of Abusive Affliction
The following article was written by one of our “Anon” ACFJ followers. (Followers? Members? Readers? Maybe we should just say “family”!). Many thanks to her:
Affliction is something that everyone on this blog has gone through or is in the middle of right now. It is different than “trouble”. Affliction bears a different sting and is usually longer lasting and sometimes comes with more than one blow at a time. Affliction can tend to make us feel isolated and alone. It comes in different ways and varying packages. We know it here on this blog, as abuse.
Doing a little studying on this term proved beneficial and interesting and I would like to just share a few things with you, hoping that it brings some understanding and healing. We are all needing to get out our shovels and start unloading all the dirt that has buried us so we can be free. I have found that taking small steps and removing one load at a time has been beneficial. It has proven to bring the most healing and also, taken in small portion, has proven to me to keep me more steadfast in my healing process. So, get out your shovel and start scooping with me!
God can use affliction to bring us closer to Him and we all know it. But I no longer believe that God chooses to leave us in abuse, whether in marriage or just in relationships in general. I do believe that God is sovereign, but I believe that He acts on His love for us, always.
According to “The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament“, the word afflict – anah in the Hebrew – means to “force, or try to force into submission” and “to punish or inflict pain upon”. I found this to be so interesting. God calls us to submit to Him, but in abuse, we are fearful and tend to submit to the abuse being dealt to us whatever version is taken up at the moment (i.e., verbal, emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual, financial, etc.) Affliction draws us to submit to it. God draws us to submit to Him and His ways. This proves to be a real battle, huh? Our spirits desire to submit to God, but we become flooded with fear and anxiety in abusive situations, and thereby lend our submission to the abuser. Does it help to know that the affliction of abuse works to bend our hearts and minds and souls to toward it, taking us away from our submission to God?
So, every time the affliction and oppression of abuse wants us to bow our knee to it – forcing us to go back into where the affliction comes from – we need to turn our faces to God and submit to Him instead. I do not mean by this to stay in the abuse. I am speaking here of gaining strength to get out of it and to those who still deal with their abuser, even though separated or divorced from them.
Here is the point. After researching this and studying this a little bit on my own, I came to see how this beast had been working in my life, for my entire life. Affliction in the form of abuse has been after me all my life, to bow and bend to it, and I have been fighting it as long as I can remember. This is the “war” in me and I found that every time people would try to push me to stay in the abuse, all I could do was weep and cry out to God. I see now that the torment of affliction was crying out to me to bow my knee to it and this is why it felt so twisted and confused to NOT bow to it. God trying to get me out versus people trying to keep me in. People who do not understand abuse and life-long oppression from it and who do not understand that God wants His people freed from such a thing. As God tries to teach me and tries to get me to submit to Him in the way that will set me free, I have several people telling me that it is wrong for me to think that getting free is God’s will. They are saying, then, that God is wrong! Affliction does not want me to bow to God, because then I would be free. It wants me to continue to bow to it and remain in abuse and oppression for the rest of my life. So, this is the battle. I always believe that the cure for the battle is to know who or what your enemy is.
Abusers operate under entitlement, oppression, trickery, inflicting pain and abuse in a variety of ways and areas. As Megan’s recent article spoke on, abuse really cannot operate without someone submitting to it! Get it? But, we all know that you cannot live with an abuser and not submit, no matter what the abuse is. Even if the verbal abuse can be walked away from the words still permeate and destroy. Because abuse weakens us we just cannot continually put it all off. Besides, most verbal abusers are emotional/mental abusers as well and walking away is not always the safest thing to do. Many know that from experience.
I have noticed in my life, even though I am separated from my abusers, that as soon as God would send some form of hope to me of His deliverance, someone else would come along within a short amount of time and snatch it away. For instance, God would give me Scriptures and peace in my mind and heart that He truly wanted me out of the abusiveness and out of the relationship and as soon as I would cling to that and think, “okay! I’ve got it now!” someone in my life, abusers or not, would come at me with all kinds of guilt and confusion, sending me reeling again in doubt, confusion and pain.
I love those two words. He is always faithful and over the course of time He has taught me about affliction and how to deal with it. I have followed Him and done just as He wanted me to do in my life and if I make a mistake along the way, He will be faithful to pull me back onto the road and forgive my sins because that is His promise to me. I do not need to bow my knee anymore to the affliction of abuse. Instead, I choose to recognize what it is, and turn my face to God and agree with Him, that He set me free and although that is going to be a long, lengthy process for me, it will be a good and pleasurable one, because He is good and I derive my pleasure in life, from Him. He knows my affliction and pain. He knows the abuse I have suffered at the hands of many. He knows and sees my oppression and fear. He even hears my pain when I am too weak to cry out about it. My road is long, but my God’s hand and His love are never short.
I will write a second part on this, dealing with when affliction can be good. I pray this post is a blessing and help to all.