Treasures in the Darkness: Discovering the Intense Beauty that Emerges from Torture and Deep Pain

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

"I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. — Isaiah 45:3

God's ways are not our ways. He is not the one who brings torture or pain. He does not hurt His children in any way. But we live in a dark world, and the innocent ones are tortured by the evil around us. We become targets, in fact. So I can't explain why God allows this suffering, only that He has a plan and we can trust Him, like the prophets did.

“A broken soul is not the absence of beauty, but a cracked and torn soul reeks of the sweet incense it contains.”
C. JoyBell C.

I once had a dream in which God was choreographing a complex ballet. Inside a grand theater there was a line of people trying out for parts in the ballet. In horror, I watched as each candidate was put through a series of tests. In one line, each person was put through torture – a machine that rivaled medieval torture chambers.

As I watched the candidates ahead of me in line, I could not imagine the pain they were enduring and I wondered if I would be able to stand the test. Many candidates hopped out of the line and disappeared from the theater. It's no wonder, for what purpose was this torture? What in the world does it have to do with ballet?

My turn arrived and I laid down on the torture table. The pain was beyond endurance but I willed myself to stay. At the end of the line, each candidate was directed to one of two rooms. One room was reserved for those who had survived the torture without complaining, and those were the ones chosen for the ballet. To my amazement, I was chosen to be part of the ballet! It was truly amazing, because I was not one who had "stand out" talents.

The other room led to an exit. There was the sense that only those who were prepared could be chosen. Passion and perseverance were more important than talent. It reminds me of Matthew 25 and the 10 virgins. Only those with oil were allowed into the wedding banquet.

I think of Jesus, God's only beloved son. I think of Moses, Paul, all the apostles… and David. They went through the preparation of the torture chamber, too. That is, the wildnerness.

“David was caught in a very uncomfortable position; however, he seemed to grasp a deep understanding of the unfolding drama in which he had been caught. He seemed to understand something that few of even the wisest men of his day understood. Something that in our day, when men are wiser still, even fewer understand.

And what was that?

God did not have – but wanted very much to have – men and women who would live in pain.

God wanted a broken vessel.”  ― Gene Edwards, A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness

In the darkness, even the dark night of the soul, there is the most incredible light and beauty. It's like a dance, a grand performance of God's own design and purpose.

I think of Bethany Deaton's suffering and death… and I recall that she truly believed God ordained her marriage to the man who it appears ordered her death.

I think of myself, having done the same thing – how I prayed and did my best to do the right things -and still, I ended up in a place of extreme pain and torture. It was so very dark for many years. But as I sat alone in the darkness, lights began winking on – all the more beautiful for the darkness showcasing their brilliance.

It's the daily practice of writing that opened the curtain and showed me the beauty of God's Love and Truth as it pierced the darkness, even the darkness in my own heart. 

Into those very wounds, God's Light began pouring in. And the light within grew and grew, and now it shines through me, my friends tell me. I'm grateful for the torture and pain, even though I still don't understand it all. Maybe I'm just starting to see the beauty of it all… even inside of the sociopathic abuse.

All I know is that GOD is the KINDEST person I know. He is GOOD! And today I'm committing to write my whole story, even that place that was cordoned off with "crime scene tape". For I dare to be vulnerable, resting in the assurance that God has treasure for me there.

It's interesting that a few hours after I wrote this article a friend asked me, "Hey, do you want to watch a movie? How about "The Right Stuff" an older movie about test pilots in the 40's and 50's who eventually became astronauts in the 60's.

The first astronauts were put through incredible tests – more like torture – prior to being chosen for the space program. Only those who survived, and even learned to thrive, in the torturous environment went on to ride to the rockets to the moon. Sometimes, pain is a gift. When you really want to change the world and do something big, in God's justice system it means greater trials, as preparation for the greater things. I believe God wants ALL of us to be chosen and to win the race set before us!

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With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2016 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyn Rogalski February 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I cannot imagine God’s thinking in situations such as this. I know He has a plan for His Purpose, but in my finite understanding, I’m at a loss as to why.
How wonderful to hold onto His Promise, to trust Him with your whole being…such Grace…


Susan Schiller February 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm

I know God isn’t responsible for the evil, nor would he torture His children. He doesn’t deliberately cause us anguish.

We live in a dark world, though, and for those who are innocent at heart, the darkness is torture to us. I don’t understand all of God’s ways. I just take baby steps forward, learning to trust.

I like what you say, Cyn, that we can trust Him with our whole being – that is real grace, for we can’t do it on our own strength. I know I can’t, anyway!

I’m honored by your viist – and I thank you for your words, Cyn, from a heart who well knows such grace and mercy!


Susan Schiller February 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene on a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul … Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes


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