International evangelist, author and activist Christine Caine had to fight for years to really trust God and truly believe in his goodness. Once she did so, she became an upstoppable force.
Visiting Sydney from her California base to attend Hillsong’s Colour conference this week, Caine says she was “all in” for Christ from the moment she attended Hillsong Church in January, 1989. For many years, though, Caine’s passion for Jesus was marred by her own sense of unworthiness.
“I never knew then I would be doing what I’m doing today,” says the woman who travels the globe teaching the Bible at Christian conferences. She also heads up the A21 anti-slavery movement with her husband, Nick Caine.
“But I did know that I was all in; I wanted to serve Jesus 100 per cent and I wanted to lead every human being I met into a relationship with Jesus Christ. So evangelism and mission were always at my core.”
“I was abandoned at a hospital, left unnamed, unwanted…” – Christine Caine
Abandoned at birth at the Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney, Caine was adopted by an Orthodox Greek couple. But they did not tell her of her origins until she was 33. Adding to her sense of brokenness and shame, she was sexually abused by several people from the ages of 3 to 15.
“I was abandoned at a hospital, left unnamed, unwanted, endured sexual abuse for many years of my life. I was so broken, so marginalised, second-generation migrant Greek – in the 60s and 70s, it was not cool to be a Greek in Australia. I was very marginalised because of my ethnicity, my gender; I grew up in a government Housing Commission house,” she tells Eternity.
“To be abandoned at birth – there is so much rejection and shame that comes with that. I was adopted into a household where I wasn’t even told until I was 33, so my parents bore the shame… So I think I was conceived in shame, I was left at hospital in shame, I was brought into shame, it was my constant companion.”
“When you first start being abused, you think what is happening to you is wrong – but it keeps happening. You start to think ‘there’s something wrong with me. That’s why it keeps happening.’ I think all my recollection of most of my life has been ‘what is wrong with me?’ – and if I’m not careful and if I’m not walking in the power of the word daily, I can easily default. And so… my instant default is ‘what did I do, what’s wrong with me, it’s my fault.’”
‘Well, Christine, if God is good, why were you abused?’
Caine says her transformation began when she replaced the lies of “the Enemy” with the truth of the word of God. She says the Devil has always assaulted the word of God since Genesis 3 when he tempted Eve by saying “Did God really say?”
“For me, it was a matter of getting to the place of ‘did God really say?’ And then when I discovered what God really said, would I believe it? Because Eve said to Satan – ‘God did say?’ So you can know what God said but not really believe it. So you believe that lie – and that’s what I did.
“A lot of it was undermining the character of God… to make you think you can’t trust God. So in my case, he says ‘well, Christine, if God is good, why were you abused? If God was good, why didn’t he stop it sooner? If God says you’re beloved, you’re chosen, you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, why were you left in a hospital unnamed? Why did your parents never tell you?’ So then the journey is internalising what he said and really believing it.
“It’s one thing to know the Scriptures and another thing to really internalise it, so it gets into your bone marrow.”
“God has no dark side. I truly believe that God is good.” – Christine Caine
Caine says she spent a long time in Bible study and memorising chunks of Scripture before the revolution happened in her own life. The spark was discovering the Scripture that God is light and in him there is no darkness.
“It took me years of truly focused learning the word, being in Bible study and internalising it to the point where I could go to bed at night thinking ‘God has no dark side. I truly believe that God is good, what he does is good, that all things – including all the bad things that happened to me – will work together for my good,’” she says.
“Once I got there, things started to explode in my life and ministry because then you become an unstoppable force. Because it’s not about you, it’s your faith. It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
“You have got to trust the character and nature of God because bad things do happen to good people.” – Christine Caine
Caine says she has to remain focused on her daily spiritual disciplines in order not to burn out from her workload.
“I always say it’s not what you do for God that’s going to burn you out, it’s what you don’t do. So if you neglect your spiritual disciplines that is how you’re going to burn out. It’s not how much you do because my life has proven you can do a lot and it hasn’t slowed down and I’m 50 years old. But as long as I’m in the word and I’m in intimate relationship with Jesus – Christ in us is unstoppable.
“But you have got to trust the character and nature of God because bad things do happen to good people. Suffering does come, trials do come; none of us are exempt from it.”
“I’m a total faith woman but Jesus said ‘trials are going to come.’” – Christine Caine
Speaking three years after she was healed from thyroid cancer, Caine says she is writing a new book called Unexpected that is about the “divine tension” between faith and suffering.
“I’m such a faith woman, so people go ‘is there room in your life for suffering?’ Well, I’m the girl that talks about abuse. I’m the girl that talks about having cancer and holding that divine tension of God can heal me instantly, through surgery – it’s not an either/or – or take me home to glory and I’m going to be whole. So, I have none of the conflict holding all of those truths simultaneously in that sort of tension,” she says.
“That’s why I’m a total faith woman but Jesus said ‘trials are going to come.’ Suffering does come, no one is exempt and it actually strengthens your faith truly in the midst of all of that. I think that’s what gives me my fire to go, you know, the Devil at his best can’t get me on my worst day.
“I’m still here; we’re still fighting.”More