I don't know how many times I have heard different speakers talk about, forgiveness, bitterness, anger and the like; all the while in my seld-righteousness was so glad that I wasn't like that. I can remember sitting at the evening meetings after a concert with the youth choir, listening to other teens share how things were bad at their home. I would then think that things weren't as bad as that at my house. Another factor that kept me from admitting the fact that things were bad is that my parents were counsellors for the youth group and so I had to keep up the appearance that things were good or I would never hear the end of it from my dad. I kept quiet, bitterness grew covering my hurt and anger that was becoming like an puss filled infection in my heart. On the bus headed back to our church home I would cry. I told friends that it was because the tour was over. Yes, the tour was over but what it meant for me is that I had to go back home and put up with a lot of verbal and emotional abuse. So years later when I heard speakers talk about forgiveness my hurts were so buried underneath the bitterness that yeah I would forgive for one point of the hurt but the bitterness kept me from forgiving the whole hurt so it would constantly keep coming up.
Back at home I would ask God over and over, why I had to go through this? How could He allow my dad to treat me like this? Why can't I get rid of the hurt in my heart? Throughout the years God has placed several Elihu's in my life. Some I saw and recognized instantly that they were speaking life into me, while others it wasn't till years later did I realize the ministry that they had in my life. Like Elihu each one pointed that it was a heart issues that was keeping God from reaching out to me. The order of my Elihu's are not in order that they appeared in my life.
One of my Elihu's answered the question as to why I had to go through this, in such a way that it changed my perspective on how I saw this. His answer one not was this, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer." (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 ESV). I had never before thought that it would benefit someone else. I was so focused on ME that I failed to see the big picture as to how God works. Once he shared that with me something snapped inside and I started praying that God would use me as a means to other hurting women.
Like Elihu told Job, basically God doesn't have to give man a reason as to why things happen in our lives. I will not know why God allowed my dad to treat me the way he did and I'm OK with that. I do know that God has used it not only for my good but for the good of another Elihu in my life. This Elihu didn't effect my life immediately but his words and the love behind those words still remain with me. At the time he would tell me time and again to smile because things can't be that bad and that I looked better when I did. I don't know if he ever knew how much he would infuriate me when he said them. In my mind he was clueless as to what was going on at my home. I had told no one what my dad was like. Yet his words stuck in my mind and echoed throughout my life. It wasn't until years later that I found out how much of an impact I had on his life. Not only did he challenge me to not let what was going on get me down, I challenged him to be a better person. I also found out that he did know what was going on and that it was his love for me that want to take the hurt away and see me happy. After I had learned all this, my why did God allow this was not so much answered. Instead, it was as if God was saying that He was always there with me and that no matter what I'm going through, no matter how hard I try to hide what is wrong there are people that know you that can see
The Elihu that answered, why I can't get rid of the hurt even though I forgave my dad it still hurts, has had the biggest impact in my life. What he said about letting go of bitterness or I would never be healed hit hard. When you think about it, bitterness keeps us from feeling the true emotional hurts and from fully forgiving the person/s that caused the hurt. Once I grasp that concept and that letting go of the bitterness was the beginning of true healing emotionally and physically, with a box of tissues close by I just started peeling back the bitternes one hurt at a time and the hurt was finally healed.
We all have Elihu's in our lives that speak life to us. We need to listen to them and recognize that they have been put there by God to prepare our hearts to hear Him next. Had I not taken heed to what my Elihu's had to say to me, I would probably not be writing this today. So give an ear the the Elihu's that are out there.