Why does God permit harassment of Christians like this?
I was doing just fine in my faith journey, thankyouverymuch, and then the YEAR FROM HELL struck! Why? I had just been baptized and confirmed into the One, True Church after living as a devout atheist for over 30 years. Surely God should have rewarded me with a shower of blessings!
Or not. The result of my year of spiritual warfare led me through the Valley of Death (literally, as I wound in a hospital as a result of a stress-induced pulmonary embolism) AND it led me to know an intimate understanding of what it means to pray for your enemies.
Every night, D. and I prayed for those possessed souls who were harassing me. We prayed a rosary every.single.night for the conversion of their hearts. Others suffering similar harassment came to me in tears, full of curses and hate for our tormentors. I counseled prayer and love, even as I cried myself to sleep for months and contemplated suicide more than once. The humiliation, the betrayals, the incredible injustice, the mountain of lies, the blindness of others to the truth--it hurt so very, very much to have such evil directed at me. Truthfully, I despaired, at times, that God's justice would prevail, although I still clung to my prayers. I still wished nothing but love and reconciliation for the evil souls.
In the end, God's justice did prevail, in truly mighty and wonderful ways. Again, I won't go into details, but it was nothing short of miraculous that the tormenting stopped ONE HOUR after I used holy water blessed at Epiphany to bless and protect the building where the harassment was taking place. ONE HOUR, peeps. ONE HOUR. (Holy water blessed at Epiphany has extra special exorcism powers. Go get some for yourself, now!)
One year later, however, I still have occasional PTSD moments, where irrational fear will sweep through me and that familiar feeling despair begins to creep in. But all it takes is a soft reminder (usually from D., because I am not good at self-talk): it's all God's will. Whatever happens--whatever I'm worrying about--it's ALL God's will. The crucible of suffering led me to the deepest dependency on God's mercy that a new Catholic could hope to have. If God permits suffering to redeem us and refine us, then whoo boy, I got it in spades! And after the suffering . . . the glorious wonder of God's mercy and love.
Not that I really want anymore suffering, but I appreciate it now. And, this experience has allowed me to empathize more deeply with others who are experiencing difficult times (not necessarily of the demonic harassment type, but still unfortunate things happen). I can be a way to shine God's love and mercy to others, now that I have known it myself.
So in the end, suffering stinks. But I learned as a baby Catholic, it's the best thing on Earth for you!