So we prayed…

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

So we prayed!  Some have been here to say that things were different this year.  Some said nothing.  All, I hope, felt a little more protected and loved through these challenging days.  I also hope we will keep praying.

Some of you might not have had wonderful answers to our prayers.  Maybe your Christmas was awful because of your narcissist.  Again.  And you wonder if it mattered that we prayed for you.  I understand.

Many Christians feel compelled to offer excuses for why God doesn’t answer the prayers of our hearts in the way we feel we need.  “God is teaching you.”  “God is working on the narcissist.”  “God has a longer plan.”  “It would have been worse if you hadn’t prayed.”   All or any of these could be the right answer, but I am not going to go there.  I don’t have to give God an excuse.  He says that He hears our prayers and that He loves us.  I believe He is both wise and good, therefore I have to leave these things in His hands.

I wrote a post a while back that seems to fit here.  It may be a word of encouragement, even in your disappointment.  Whatever you feel right now, please know that the love of God is real.  You are not alone.  We will continue to pray.

Here’s the post:

Why Does God Allow It?

If God is good and God is strong and God knows everything, why doesn’t He change the circumstances that hurt us so much? This question haunts many believers and non-believers. Some would say that they became unbelievers because of this question. If they were honest, some may say that they became unbelievers because of the answers they were given.

In our comments this past week this question has come up in the context of the painful narcissistic relationship. How can God allow some people to use and abuse and cause so much pain to others? How can God stand by while we lose so much? Why doesn’t God deal with the abusers?

What I have found over the years is that the pat answers, no matter how good they sound to the one who gives them, rarely give real help to those who are hurting. Here are a few:

  1. It’s because of sin in your life. If you obeyed better, these terrible things wouldn’t be happening to you.
  2. It’s for your good. God loves you and sent the abuser to make you what He wants you to be.
  3. God is preparing you to be strong because something worse is coming.

Now, I don’t find any of those to be helpful. The first one makes evil my fault. The second one makes evil God’s fault. The last one makes my future seem dreadful. There is no comfort in any of these.

Please understand that this is one of the great mysteries of the faith. The answers we have do not come easily. This post will take a topic that could encompass many pages and boil them down to one, and that will be less than satisfying for any of us.

So here’s what I know:

  1. God is good and He loves me. He is not malicious or wrathful. He does not send trouble into my life to hurt me.
  2. God is strong enough and wise enough to stop the pain and change the circumstances. The fact that He doesn’t, does not change the fact that He could.
  3. God does not initiate evil, nor does He send it on us. His plan for us is good. The abuser is responsible for the evil he does.
  4. The world is broken, not working the way it was meant to work. Evil is a natural part of this brokenness. Those who do evil, narcissists and other abusers, participate in evil without any prompting by God.
  5. God does use difficult circumstances to draw us to Himself and He is able to turn curses into blessings. While He is not the author of the evil we suffer, He can use it for good in our lives.
  6. There are worse things than the pain we suffer. In the moment it is very hard to feel the reality of this, but it is true. The loneliness and confusion and emptiness of life apart from God’s love is one thing I would consider worse.
  7. All evil is temporary. Most of it will end in this life, but all will be gone in the next. That which is broken will be re-created and pain will be gone forever.
  8. In my pain I am never alone. The Lord is always with me, always near when I cry out to Him. Even when I cannot feel His presence, I can take comfort in knowing that He is with me.
  9. Those who look to Him and trust Him in the midst of their pain do find a special grace, an ability to live above their circumstances and to find their identity apart from their suffering.

Does this help me? Yes, it does. It reminds me that I don’t need the pat answers. As much as I want to understand, I really don’t need to. My desire to understand is usually a desire to control. I want to approve of my circumstances, even the difficult ones. If I know the purpose, then I might be able to give permission. But that is not my place. When I am able to trust Him, I find the peace He wants me to have.

No, I do not find this easy. I wish I could just live this way consistently, no matter what happens. But I am just as weak as anyone, just as fearful and just as doubtful. The only thing I have is the one thing I know—Jesus loves me.

Do I still wish He would change things sometimes? Of course! I pray against pain and suffering, in my life and in the lives of others. But as long as we are in this world, the brokenness will affect our lives. Sometimes, some amazing and wonderful times, God reaches in and changes things. The pain ends and life is good again for a while. I praise Him and rejoice in my peace. But I am learning to find that peace even in the times of struggle. Learning slowly, but learning.

No more pat answers. Don’t blame evil on me or on God. It just is. There may be causes and explanations, but none of them help my situation. What helps is to look on the One who loves me and trust Him.

That’s my prayer for each of you. Look to Him and trust in His love. Do what He leads you to do. If you can leave the narcissistic relationship, do it. If you cannot, then look to Jesus and find His overwhelming love in the midst of your struggle. He is there for you.

38 Comments

Filed under Narcissism, Uncategorized

38 responses to “So we prayed…

  1. JB

    Thank you for these reminders of such great truth.

  2. grace551

    This is the most amazing post and so helpful. I didn’t see it first time round, so thank you for sharing it again. You have so much wisdom!

  3. Jmom

    Your posts always bless, lift and strengthen my walk with the Lord. Thank you! I felt humbled to be able to pray for everyone last weekend and know that I was being prayed for as well.

  4. sooz1n

    i love this guy. he gets it.

    answers 1, 2, & 3 were the explanations given to me all my life. It wasn’t until I hit 25 & rock bottom that i realized it was all total bs.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. crashdavis777

    Thank you for the post. Greatly appreciated.

  6. Tabby

    Thank you
    I always appreciate the encouragement I get from
    “Grace for My Heart”
    I suffer greatly in my own life and in my heart for others and their sufferings It absolutely crushes my heart to hear of others pain (especially Children’s)
    I don’t ask God why anymore
    He tells us “to lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight ”
    Every time I would ask why that word from God would forceably but lovingly come to heart and mind I have finally surrendered to it
    I still hurt and breakdown in sorrow from time to time but I come away with trust and surrender to Jesus my God declaring “I choose you God”
    Why I cannot explain other than
    “I just know that I know it is right”

  7. Pamela K Faro

    Wow! This came at such an optimum time. I love the way you write the truth, no holds barred. Truth does set us free. I am passing this along to my friend who is in a work situatioon with an “n”, who is making her life miserable. Thank you, thank you for this

  8. Anonymous

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you so much for posting this! Narcissism is the new buzz word and I have been accused of being one as well as my son while we suffered at the hands of his bipolar father as well as an ex girlfriend of my son and her family who actually took him to court accusing him of stalking when none of it was true. I am constantly praying for my enemies and knowing that while I pray for them I do gain special graces for rising above their accusations. Evil has nothing to do with me or my children, it just is. That opened my eyes once again to the fact that I can rise above and find my peace. I can own my story. I can analyze it with being brutally honest about just the facts. When I take all emotion out, then it really does point to the facts of whatever goes on around me. The emotion is a flag about what needs to be rebalanced in my life. The evil will always be there.
    Again thank you!!!

  9. Rachel

    Tabby, thanks for the reminder to “lean not on our own understanding”.
    This scripture has come back to me over and over by others pointing it out.
    It reminds us that evil is a mystery just as love is and the truth and beauty of God.
    We can’t fathom out evil with our own minds, it’s beyond us.
    And very distressing as you articulate clearly.
    God has given you a tender heart which can feel some of the pain that He feels when he sees how much people harm each other.
    This is a gift. The tears are a gift too.
    Thankyou Lord for this gift.
    I pray that Jesus and you can carry this pain together.
    Today I heard a priest saying that we should carry our cross with joy!
    I was struck by that and immediately thought “impossible!”
    But ” nothing is impossible to God”.
    Let’s support each other with our crosses,
    Blessings to you and yours xxxx

    • Tabby

      Wow I am awe struck
      Thank you Rachel
      Evil is a mystery
      Carry our cross with Joy
      Gifts from God
      Yes let’s “support each other with our crosses”
      Your heart really understands
      God has blessed me through you
      I am most grateful
      I thank God for you and lift you up in prayer
      May God give you strength to bear your cross
      With joy
      In His love
      Tabby♥️

      • Rachel

        Thankyou Tabby, I am blessed by you in your words.
        Life is very difficult for me at present, it seems to be impossible to live each day due to circumstances beyond my control.
        The cross is heavy.
        But the Lord will make our paths straight when we acknowledge Him in all things. Yes, that is so true.
        I suppose “in all things” means in the dreadful, painful, awful stuff as well as the joyful and wonderful stuff. That’s the hardest part, to acknowledge that He is still there with us (Emmanuel) in those bits.
        But He proved this by dying on the Cross for us, very messy, painful, undeserved.
        I’ll keep praying for you and all here, xxx

  10. one of the little people

    I remember years ago I had experienced something very painful and something very precious had died. I kept asking God the question why. I just really needed to understand. One night I had a dream. I was in a graveyard and its name was, “Leave It At The Cross”. I kept repeating the name over and over and it was even on my lips when I woke up.

    I lay in bed reflecting and believe I was given an answer. I believe God said, “I answered all your questions at the cross. I proved that I’m good at the cross. I proved I love you at the cross. Leave this thing that has died there, at the cross.” It wasn’t the kind of answer I wanted – one of God’s holy non sequiturs (Jesus was and expert at those) – but from then on, when the questions would haunt my mind, I would say, sometimes aloud, “I leave that at the cross.” Eventually, I stopped asking and the answer became enough.

    I may never know or understand. I thought peace could only come through and explanation, but many times the only thing we can do is rehearse that God is good and he loves us. He’s already proven that.

  11. raswhiting

    I struggle with “find their identity apart from their suffering”. I find that when I am suffering, especially when I was beaten down by the narcissist, I was in such pain, I no longer could find my identity, except that I was in Christ. But who the me was, and my purpose, really got lost. So when I read this, I “hear” since I don’t know my identity and I am swamped not living above the circumstance of trial, I am a failure. I know God will forgive my failings and the times when I have not been able to live above my circumstances. But my failings depress me.

    • AES

      I had been victim of two people with narcisstic characteristics one for 20 years and a recent one for short few months and both really did a number on me. I was so broken and in deep depression from the first one and God healed me. A short time after somehow I fell right back in to becoming another victim of a man whom I thought was a Godly loving man and it was all too picture perfect but once married the flip flop began and once again I felt so broken and confused at how could I have ignored some subtle red flags and fell in to this yet again and it really tore me up inside however in the midst of the horrible emotional pain from all this and feeling like I just didn’t want to be around that I just had to make my self give this to God and trust God and know that God does loves us and will never leave us nor forsake us and knowing that no matter what the why is that all things are gonna work for my good. All this has caused me to really trust in God and lean on him and not my own understanding even at times i feel myself falling into sadness i pray and learning to trust and some of the scriptures that have helped me and continue to: (Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not for I am with thee be not dismayed for I am thy God I will strengthen thee yeah I will help thee yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness; Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of a good courage fear not nor be afraid of them for the Lord thy God he it is that doth go with thee he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.; Jeremiah 32:27 – Behold I am the Lord the God of all flesh is there anything too hard for me?; Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.) It’s hard it’s so hard at times I know it is for any of us no matter what the situation but every time we get these negative thoughts push them right back out with prayer and the word of God and draw strength and grace from God and know that it will work out as what was meant for evil will work for our good.

  12. raswhiting

    I should say oppress me.

  13. Freedom feels good

    This is an incredible article. I was so comforted and drawn back to Christ as well as having a deeper understanding and awareness that although we live in a fallen world God is working and His love and purpose are real. I currently live with a narcissist (mother) and most of the family is against me, though as the oldest, was her rescuer and scapegoat for years. I was so used to being used by her and treated as her doormat from a young age,, this transferred to every area of my life. God has shown me some extremely painful truths these last few years that I have not been able to face prior – and I am 54 years old. Thank you for sharing this and the insight you, give every week. I am so excited when I see your email has arrived every Friday because I have learn Biblical principles that apply to my situation and every single time am encouraged. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • one of the little people

      Hello Friend (Freedom Feels Good), I feel I can call you that. I am 51 and only realized in the past two years that my mother is a narcissist. It has been freeing to finally understand that she is responsible for her bad behavior. Nothing I can do, no hoops I jump through, will change that. It is indeed liberating. I have gone Low Contact, although I do still have residual guilty feelings about that. I am sorry you don’t have that option as you still live with your mother. I understand what it feels like to be blamed. I pray God strengthens you and the truth would become crystal clear. May 2017 be a year of even greater liberation!

  14. Sunflower

    Why doesn’t God stop this? Because He doesn’t break His own laws, that’s why. He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, and let THEM have dominion.” The only way that ‘God is in control’ is if we let His Spirit live in us and we, in the spirit, wrestle against the enemy that others have invited into them. That is why we have Christmas! God’s spirit in a human body to crush the head of the serpent!!!! The only way God could legally intervene is in a body, with God’s perfect blood shed for our sins (medically a baby’s blood is inherited from the father and does not mix with the mother’s blood at all). That is why the satan entered the serpent and is constantly looking for openings in people, because he is spirit and also needs a body to operate.

    It’s not the Ns that are the enemy, it’s the enemy that they have invited into them and choose not to evict. The whole earth groans, waiting for ‘us’ to manifest God’s power on earth. That is why we pray, stand together, and take action in all these situations, because for too long we have tried to placate the enemy and it’s been laughing at us.

  15. Irene

    I had to read this and cry for awhile before responding. It felt like you knew exactly like what i was struggling with when you wrote it. Thank you!

    At the end of a year filled with death and mean words and disappointments, I sit here watching my husband give other people gifts again (it’s too hard to give his wife anything at all) and nursing my dying dog. I think about our daughters–at 27 one has been in a couple of abusive relationships and rejected Christ and the other has scapegoated me and cut me from her life and lives in legalism.

    I think again of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the song he left us–I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day–after his wife had died and his son was injured in the Civil War. He understood how hard things can be.

  16. guardyourheart

    this is so helpful and reassuring

    I had one of narcs send me a message on Christmas day implying that it is my responsibility to forgive for the things he did and his destructive behaviour, even using a part of a bible verse. I deleted it knowing that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. Just a few weeks earlier he was sending abusive messages despite being asked to stop and being reported to the police.

    Pastor Dave, I found your No3 particularly helpful – … His plan for us is good. The abuser is responsible for the evil he does.

  17. LM

    My desire to understand is usually a desire to control. <–yes. Thank you. nice post.

  18. What a blessed post.
    The final paragraph summed it up and is my precious prayer since I have tried to leave thinking that was God’s intention. It has not worked out so I remain … “That’s my prayer for each of you. Look to Him and trust in His love. Do what He leads you to do. If you can leave the narcissistic relationship, do it. If you cannot, then look to Jesus and find His overwhelming love in the midst of your struggle. He is there for you.”

    I covet prayers as it is not just ‘him’ but this includes, children, siblings and many other fair-weather professing Christians who just don’t get it but continue to put more burden and blame on me. 😦

  19. Adele

    Dear Pastor Dave, This was very comforting, very helpful. Thank you. Blessings to you and your loved ones in the New Year.

  20. Beth

    Thank you so much for all you share and all your prayer. Bless you for allowing God to be manifested as “our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble”(Psalm 46:1) through your writings, for I believe they are a gift from God that help indeed.

  21. Sandra

    All I can ever think of to say to your wonderful posts is “thank you, Pastor Dave”. Thank you, thank you. I am so helped by your wise post.

  22. Georgette

    Has any one read the book ‘The Shack’? Paul Young is the author. Movie is coming out March 3rd. He tells his story which to me sounds like he might have been a narcissist and turned his life around. He talks about a thin veneer he has to protect himself and how he pretends to be ‘godly’ but he moves so his mask does not fall off, except when he gets married.Here is the link if anyone is interested in his story:

    . Curious on your thoughts.

    • I have serious concerns about Paul Young and the book, The Shack. I read it a few years ago. Wonderful story, but bad theology. Young is an “inclusionist,” which is a fancy way of saying “universalist.” He teaches with a group that says that all people are already saved, but just don’t know it yet. Personal faith is unnecessary, nice but not required. The only hell is what people make for themselves in their unbelief. There is much in his teaching that sounds good but is wrong and, ultimately, harmful to people.

      Now, to be fair, I understand that some teachers worked with Paul to correct the theology presented in the latest editions of the book and in the movie. What changes they made, I don’t know. It still concerns me that the foundation of the material has such a serious error. It also concerns me that some people will think Young is a good teacher because of what they read.

      Again: good story, bad theology.

      For more information on inclusionism, check out my friend, Paul Ellis:

      https://escapetoreality.org/2014/12/12/scriptures-inclusionism-cannot-explain/

  23. onmyway

    Hello all- I have been reading Dave’s posts for quite some time now but have never posted a comment. I do so now because I have decided to separate from my narcissistic husband of 11 years. We have 2 children together and have tried to stay well but feel the cost is too much for me. After waking up 2 years ago to the reality — I tried hard to get him “to understand” and put boundaries in place- his behavior has gotten a little better..less overt but still a lot of covert…but there seems to be no real change of heart or attitude. For those who are “staying well” – may I ask how you do it without breaking down? How do you live with and raise children with someone you can’t really trust? Just posting this for prayers and support as I figure out the best way to execute…and hoping I have the courage and strength to follow through…

    • Sunflower

      onmyway, I’m one of those trying to ‘stay well’. I’ve had to detach emotionally and expect nothing. Like living in the same house but not really married. I tell myself I’m a ‘maid’ (ok, with benefits) and it does seem fake, but for now that’s how it is. At first it took a lot of self discipline in dragging my thoughts to praise and prayer, sometimes every few seconds, because my mind wanted so badly to ruminate in the ‘trying to explain’ thing. Trying to make sense of it. So I’m learning to cling to the Lord and let go of everything else. Live my own life, find my own friends and hobbies, take myself out on dates, etc. I did set boundaries such as not allow myself to be spoken to disrespectfully. Which means we talk hardly at all, he’s on the computer or outside all the time. I’ve learned to be thankful for that. Not sure if that helps, but that’s my story at this point. Blessings to you! Oh, and I use these blogs as prayer lists. 🙂 🙂

      • onmyway, My life is much like Sunflower’s except we are at a point where there is no conversation; leaving notes and to the point of emailing for some information.
        It’s terrible because the adult children seem to accept this and yet definitely favour ‘him’ and spend more time with him than me.
        I have made some precious friends who ‘believe’ what I was covering up for years. Just wish my children and their spouses would do the same …
        The local churches have been non-supportive. 😦

        You can move on slowly… as you build up pure, solid friendships.
        Praying for you and many others in vulnerable situations.

  24. This is wonderful!! Thank you, Pastor Dave!

  25. Carl Feather

    Perhaps God allows it because we are the only knight in the narcissist life, only Bible he will read. Let your light so shine among men … does not make it any less painful or lonely, emotionally exhausting or hopeless.. We do come to understand his great love and sacrifice for us. His love is to be all sufficient and I wish I was at that point in my walk but my narc spouse denies me the emotional and physical intimacy I long for as punishment for being stupid.

  26. Please help

    Please help me – I have been following your blog for years now and it’s been an absolute blessing. My mother exhibits all of the
    narssasistic traits. I left home when I was 14 and never went back. I call and see her once a year as I cannot mentally handle her horrible comments and manipulation towards me. She was a very abusive mother and I with the grace of God worked through it and can accept her as she is now but I keep a little distance. What I despatately struggle with is what is it that God expects of me in relation to my mother? Do I as I have done continue to keep in contact suffer her morbid perspective on life, her negative comments about me in order to??? I don’t know what but cannot feel that God would ever be ok with me just walking away from her. Also she holds my large inheritance over me CONSTANTLY she never not reminds me of her will and also makes stupid irrational comments to suggest it could all be taken away from me by people. What people I don’t know it’s just her way of saying ‘it’s not a guarantee that all this is yours it could just disappear in a flash. It causes me such anxiety this carrot she dangles knowing I would need it and knowing in order to receive it I have to ‘play nice’. I would be so deeply eternally grateful if you could provide insight and anyone else

    • Please help

      Sorry for the poor grammar clearly auto spell check wasn’t working

    • Welcome! First, I would encourage you to read this post:

      https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/narcissistic-parents/

      This is not a game you can win. She almost certainly will not change, especially if she has something you want. So, yes, you may have to “play nice” as long as you want what she has. At the same time, remember that this is a game to her. She will probably not do anything to change the inheritance. Distance and boundaries will be your friends. I would carefully control the time you spend with her, in and out, even on the phone. You make the choices, whenever you can.

      Here’s another post that might be helpful:

      https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/dont-they-ever-die/

      • Please help

        I cannot thank you enough for the reply and articles you shared which I reread like they were honey for my heart. Thankyou for giving me permission to to think those thoughts as I did feel evil and ungodly thinking and wishing. I do not wish harm to my mother and I find comfort knowing I have never mistreated her. I do stand my grounds and don’t see her often. I praise God for stumbling across your blog Thank you for helping me and so many others with what would otherwise feel a deeply lonely experience.

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