‘Time heals all wounds.’

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about trauma imaginable. Trauma pins us in time. It stakes us to the moment of pain. It puts a spear through us so that we can’t remove it and distorts our perception of time from that moment on. Time is not a healer, it is an abuser.

I was chatting with someone who ministers regularly to people who’ve been physically abused in their childhood. He mentioned that, in his experience, there are two things such people invariably say to him. The first appears to be a question but isn’t. It’s: ‘Where was God?’

That, as he pointed out, is really an accusation. It lays the groundwork for seeking a false refuge.

The second thing people always said to him was that one good thing to come out of their experience is that they know they can get through anything in life. They’ve survived. They’ve got through the abuse. They’ve endured. These things always end.

And, in saying that, they’ve identified their false refuge: the belief that the pain and abuse will ultimately end.

This expectation is often, in the future, tested to the very limit. Even beyond it. Until the anticipated end seems to recede so far that hope shrivels and withers to nothing.

The day after this conversation I woke early and touched my face. For weeks I’d been suffering from a hot gravelly rash that nothing would shift. In a half-sleep state, I thought, ‘It’s getting better. It’s just a matter of time until it heals.’

I jerked upright, abruptly fully awake, remembering the conversation of the previous day. I recalled the false refuge constructed from a belief that pain will ultimately end.

‘What am I complicit with?’ I asked God.

‘Time,’ He responded.

The moment He answered, I thought of the old, old stories about Kronos and realised immediately it was the ultimate abuser. Until that moment, it had never dawned on me that time was a face of abuse.

It was a devastating, crushing moment. For years I’d thought of myself as standing firm and resolute in opposing abuse and, in a shocking instant, I realised I was totally complicit with it. I spent the day weeping, lamenting and repenting to God.

‘But how,’ I asked Him, ‘do I change? Humans are immersed in time. How do we not form agreements with it?’

‘You step into the eternal,’ God said. ‘You put your hope in Immanuel, God with us, and you seek His presence as He is present in the now.’

Easier said than done. I am still in the process of divesting myself of a social, cultural, mechanistic, linear construct of time that clearly isn’t biblical. But, as I sit listening to the tick-tick of the clock, I choose eternity, not time; peace, not pain; life, not death; and above all Jesus, not any of the clever counterfeits who beguile us with their lies.

This is Grace Drops. Choose eternity, not time; peace, not pain; life, not death; above all Jesus.

Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.

More on the spirit of Belial can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Belial: Spirit of Armies and Abuse, Strategies for the Threshold #8. More on the spirit of Kronos (another face of Belial) can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Kronos: Spirit of Abuse and Time, Strategies for the Threshold #9.