Opening paragraphs from
Chapter 1 -- A Devastating Thought
Like a goldfish in a bowl, for years a thought kept circling in my head. Sometimes it paused to rest, only to resume its course later. Imagine a fish’s response to the addition of an aquarium ornament. The novelty of it would certainly draw him for a time, but then he would be back to the same relentless path. Similarly, positive changes in my life briefly interrupted the familiar thought patterns, but never for long. I am not sure when this thought was first born, but over the years it grew, fed by the continued difficulties of life.
In its early stages, the thought was, more than anything, just a simple realization: Life is hard. Gradually, that three-word thought grew more complex and infinitely more personal to become: I, Marci Julin, seem to be God’s chosen target to which He has cruelly hurled every dart and arrow in His arsenal. Paranoia? Perhaps. But this thinking was not without basis. Difficult times convinced me that God had it out for me. In time I discovered that many others have similar fish swimming around their bowl.
Maybe you have had similar thoughts as a result of hard times in your own life. Whether it is the loss of a loved one or a lengthy illness, abuse endured or a failed marriage, loneliness or a rebellious child, consuming guilt over past sins or the consequences those sins inevitably bring--suffering in any form leads to a variety of questions and emotions. The truth is that life is hard. Everyone’s response to suffering proves unique. Still, the heart-wrenching struggle with God over the difficulty or seeming injustice of our pain remains the same from one individual to another.
Why Lord? What did I do to deserve this? Will it ever end, and will I survive until it does? Actually, maybe I don’t want to live through this. Do you just hate me, God? Left unchecked, questions and thoughts like those can morph from tiny goldfish into ravenous sharks with razor teeth. Such thoughts can consume us and devastate our ability to walk closely with God. After all, who wants to walk next to someone they do not trust?