God in the Alley

From Greg Paul’s book “God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World.”

Greg’s book is hard to put down. My description will not do it justice. You can read about it from the link.

What I wanted to share was Patty’s story. Patty has been abused her whole life. It is a life filled with sorrow and mental illness. At one point in the book, a psychiatric hospital was going to try a re-integration treatment for her multiple personality disorder.

She was incredibly healthy by the hospital’s standards when she went into the program. She attributed this to her relationship with Jesus and her community at Sanctuary Ministries in Toronto. However, at one point her personality shattered. Greg relates this part of her story:

She was wailing now. As she poured out her anguish, the room seemed to shrink and the darkness thickened. At first she was speaking to me, but before long she was crying out to God, pleading to know why she had been so forsaken. Where had he been when her own mother abused her as an infant? How could he allow the abuse to continue throughout her childhood? Where was the heavenly Father who was supposed to protect and cherish her? Why had every man she had ever turned to, right from her early teens through adulthood looked like an angel at first, only to morph into a demon? Why had Jesus bothered to save her from the psych ward, only to dump her right back into the same hell now?

Why had the people who were supposed to help her turned into her tormentors? Hadn’t she given her life to him? Hadn’t she been born to a new life? Wasn’t she supposed to be saved?

“So where are you now?” she cried. “Where are you? Where are you?”

God declined to answer.

I could do nothing but hold her hand and weep. There is no answer to that kind of complaint, or at least no answer one human being can supply to another. What happened next, however, was a miraculous and mystical reconciliation.

Slowly Patty’s sobs subsided. The hospital sounds from the corridor – carts rolling by, muffled PA announcements, the occasional cry of another patient – seemed to die at the door to her room, emphasizing her isolation. Quietly now, and still sniffling, she spoke to God again.

“But I know you love me,” she said. Sighing. “And I love you too” God in the Alley, pg 61.

But I know you love me. And I love you too.

What does this little vignette reveal to you about your life or your faith journey?

How does this help/challenge/encourage you?


3 thoughts on “God in the Alley

  1. I don’t want to love God. I want to blame Him for everything. And I usually do. Don and I were actually discussing this the other day. What is it that is preventing me being “all in” when it comes to my faith now? In my head, every time I gave it all to God and trusted him, something horrible happened. Looking back over my past, it sucked and it looks to me that God had his back to me the entire time.

    But I know to much to hate Him.

    I know to much to turn away from Him.

    But it still hurts to much to trust him.

    Or maybe me.

    Who knows.

  2. Kim Nebel

    but then again………if someone says they love you, yet doesn’t use their powers to make life less painful…………and it’s true Christians really are annoying……

  3. Kim Nebel

    When I get deeply hurt, I get angry at God. I pretty much just stop speaking to him, definately continue not to listen. “What good does it do to talk to you anyway?” For some reason, deep inside, it’s his fault. He’s sovereign, right? He orchestrates everything, so some trigger inside believes when I get hurt, it’s his fault. He could have stopped it, he could have made things different. So, I guess I’m just like Patty in that regard. When beating him up, driving the nails further into his hands doesn’t make me feel any better either, I relent, and like Patty, have to admit I still love him, and know he loves me. This reveals to me, that I don’t seem to move ahead, just keep circling, because sure enough, here I am again, not even thinking about what just happened. This helps because it jars me out of the circle to nowhere into recognizing what happened, and reconnecting to that spark of love is the first step to opening up a conversation. It also reminds me of the importance of staying connected to other Christians, because although they annoy me, when I’m angry at God, they are frequently the catalyst to nudge me back towards him. like you just did.

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