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  • janetmchenry

Moving Past Seasons of Pain

Suffering and pain define seasons of our lives, don’t they?

I still find myself thinking of events as “pre-trial” and “post-trial.”

Some of you may not know that my husband Craig was wrongfully convicted of six felony counts of animal cruelty in May 2005. Hmmm . . . I hadn’t thought of it until now–but that’s been fifteen years this week.

And just because I don’t want to leave you hanging there, we appealed the case with the California Court of Appeals, and the conviction was overturned in 2017.

But the horror of that experience still lives with us. I found myself wondering this weekend . . . was that vacation with Mom and sister Nan the summer after the trial? Or several years later?

And as I am reading through Job right now, I wonder if his losses defined his thinking for the rest of his life. Job lost everything but his wife: his herds, his sons, his daughters, his health. However, God restored him and his fortunes, actually providing twice what he had had, and he gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters.

God redeemed Job’s losses, but did those losses forever scar him? We never hear anything from Job’s wife after her initial complaints (“Curse God and die.” -Job 2:9). Perhaps she was busy with those ten additional children.

I know that God redeemed our situation–we grew closer together during that time. Craig and I handled the appeal ourselves, detailing 250+ incidents of how the judge mishandled the case. So, there was a true sense of God’s guidance that we felt during those two interim years.

But I’ve got to be honest: there still is a sense of loss that we feel. You don’t regain a reputation. Even though Craig has since that time served on our city council and completed more than fifty civil works projects as a volunteer, there are still some, I’m sure, in our community who think he got away with something.

If anything, we learned that God is completely trustworthy when we put our lives in his hands. Man is not. But God is.

And no matter your situation–how painful it may be right now–he is worthy of your trust in him.

Janet lives with her husband Craig in the Sierra Valley in northern California, where he is a cattle rancher and where she worked as a high school English teacher and academic advisor for 26 years. She is a national speaker and the author of 24 books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and 50 Life Lessons for Grads. She would love to connect with you:

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