In this broken world, each of us will, at some point, face the vicious assault of evil in our own lives. Such attacks may be physical, emotional, or spiritual (or all three!). And when we are unjustly besieged, we are often tempted to respond in a number of unhealthy ways.
When we are maliciously attacked, we may be tempted to cower in shame and humiliation.
An evil act performed against us may cause us to lose sight of the intrinsic worth we have as God’s creatures fashioned in His image. We may think that this evil has happened to us because there is something wrong with us, or perhaps because we just aren’t worth protecting.
This line of thinking can gain traction because most of us are painfully aware of many serious faults in our own lives. Thoughts like, “I’m worthless. God will never work through me. I’m irredeemable, and that’s why this happened to me,” may seem to us to be based on some element of truth.
David himself had some pretty major failings in his own life (adultery and murder are kind of a big deal). Yet he would not let the personal attacks he was receiving cause him to live in shame and humiliation. In Psalm 3:3, David declares:
But you, Lord, are… my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3
An evil attack against us is just that, an evil attack. It does not mean that God has rejected us as His children.
When we are the victims of the evil actions of others, we may be tempted to close ourselves off in a world void of emotion and characterized by relational distance.
Author, pastor, and scholar Jack Deere writes about the near impossibility of processing his father’s suicide as a 12 year-old boy.
My father had been my hero, my image of what it meant to be a man. He was strong and he was smart. Life without him was unimaginable. That is probably why I never really grieved: in order to grieve, you have to face the reality of your loss, and that was too scary for me. No one was there to tell me that you couldn’t heal unless you grieve. God was there, but it never occurred to me to pray to Him. He wouldn’t give me my father back, so what was the use of asking? Pain and confusion puddled in the bottom of my heart. I never troubled those dark waters again. I stepped around them with a vow to be strong, never to need anyone again. Jack Deere, The Beginner’s Guide to the Gift of Prophecy
Some of us have responded to evil in our lives by retreating emotionally from people and from God. But David didn’t bottle up his emotions or become passive and indifferent toward God. His psalms are full of intense expressions of emotion. In Psalm 3:4 we find him earnestly, even confidently, pursuing God
I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
We must not allow the evil that has happened to us callous our hearts in unfeeling cynicism. God can heal our hearts and enable us to engage Him with healthy emotion.