It was many, many years before I realized I was carrying the terror around with me, and that I had to forgive him to get past it. Authority figures just scared me, especially if they came across as threatening or if they succeeded in intimidating me. It wasn't easy, though I have from a distance relieved myself of his evil by forgiving him.
Here's what is odd. It wasn't until I forgave HIM that I realized he wasn't the real culprit because, like me, he was just a kid. And fear, though it was real and sometimes debilitating, wasn't my real problem. It was given to me that I was really more upset with my dad. How could he have left me with him? I know my sister and another brother corroborated my story. Yet dad continued to leave us with the older brother. My soul was trying to grapple with betrayal. My heart had come to believe that there is no use in trying to convince anyone of anything. They weren't going to believe me anyway. My lot was to suffer quietly like a good boy.
I thought the hard work of forgiveness was over, but God was just waiting for me to open up to Him before He could work on me.
After forgiving dad, the real task began. I had to confront the God who was always aware, and yet always allowed the pain. God is God. He is in charge. He can't pretend, as mom and dad would, that He did not know. He knew, and allowed it. Is it arrogant to suppose I should forgive God?
Job 40:2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let the person who accuses God give him an answer!”
Maybe real faith is hardest when the victory is nearest. When the revelation is most important, the obstacles will rise up in my flesh so as to seem so much more urgent. I am most likely to forget who God is when I find myself thinking He is most pleased with me. When my flaws (still mighty, still plentiful) are revealed to me – however gently – I still want to run for cover.
Job 40:8 “Would you indeed annul my justice? Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?”
I am not God. I am not God. The repetition is necessary. I am not God. I'm sorry, Lord, I do indeed forget which of us is mighty, and which of us is needed by the other just to stand. When God brought His revelation of my forgiveness to mind He used terror. He knew exactly how to get my attention. In my careless wandering through post home-schooling life, he reminded me there is still plenty of life to live, and still some trash to take to the curb.