Prayer

PrayerVictims may approach a relationship with God with distrust and a lot of questions. Philip Yancey is the kind of author that communicates well to such an audience. This book on prayer is not the standard instructional manual nor the straightforward encouragement to pray. As Yancey does in his other books, he takes the questions and objections of others seriously, and admits to his own doubts and struggles. For that reason, this book may be more “in tune” with the Christian who wonders how God didn’t seem to answer a cry for help or healing. Some other books on prayer are written with solid faith that never questions and ponders before arriving at the biblical truth. Hurting people may find that reading Yancey will remove some painful barriers to prayer.

I struggle with two common assertions about prayer. Some people credit prayer “working” when, in truth, God did all the “work” as a response to prayer. Admittedly, the Bible speaks in a similar way when it says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV). And neither the Bible nor Philip Yancey can be accused of treating prayer as though prayer has a mystical power and God is not the receiver of prayer.

The other assertion some Christians make is that prayer is how you get to know God. Not: pray and learn about God from how he answers your prayers. Not: read what God says in the Bible and get to know God as you meditate on what He says. Sometimes writers assert that you pray and God speaks back to you, and you get to know God from this conversation. Yancey makes this assertion at the beginning of Chapter 5: “The main purpose of prayer not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God.” Isn’t prayer our side of the conversation with God? Doesn’t God’s side of the conversation come from the revelation about God on the pages of the Bible, and from experiencing how that revelation applies to our life? Yancey admits that he has not heard God’s audible voice. He admits that prayer often seems one-sided. Prayer is one-sided (unless it is defined as meditation on Scripture). Again, I admit that Yancey doesn’t define prayer as God talking to us as we talk to Him. He quotes Tim Stafford’s book Knowing the Face of God,

I am cautious in interpreting my impulses and feelings as messages from God. I do not want to take the Lord’s name in vain. I do not want to say, “The Lord told me,” when in reality I heard a mental recording of my mother’s voice. I have spent any number of hours talking to God, and he has not yet answered back in a voice that was undeniably his (page 56).

He talks about the experience of prayer as learning to speak to God about the world from his perspective, aligning our will with his as we pray. We begin to understand God, to know God as our prayers shift from what we want to what He wants. But I still question the statement that the “main purpose of prayer [is] . . . to know God.” Yancey doesn’t place this “knowing God” in the Scriptures, and without that explanation, will readers view prayer as the way to know God and as a result grow frustrated in the silence that follows their prayers?

To be fair to Yancey, and to challenge those who might not read his book because of such criticism (of a tiny part of the book, much counter-balanced by other statements he makes), Yancey examines prayer in such detail that many who have a simplistic view of prayer need to read his book so they stop making other false statements out of ignorance which also could frustrate those who struggle and seek God’s help. Yancey examines many questions such as the effect of a positive attitude or faith on recovery. His conclusions are far more nuanced and directed by Scripture and faith in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, than those who dismiss all discussion of how the body fights disease when teaching about God’s answers to prayer.

Yancey‘s kindliness to the suffering Christian who does not feel grateful, who is angry, resentful, and full of complaints was particularly moving. His consistent expressions of such grace may prove helpful and encouraging to those who have met rejection and frustration from Christians when they cry out in their pain. He mentions a mother who rejoices in the full time care of her invalid child, but then says, “By mentioning this woman I do not mean to compound the guilt of a mother who might wake up every day resenting the demands of her child . . .” (page 280). On the pages of this book, those who still struggle may find hope for their situation in the grace of God and in God’s promises. I was struck by this comment, “If I nurse a grudge and have not the strength to forgive, I present to God that wound, along with the one who inflicted it, and ask for strength I cannot supply on my own. (Could this be why Jesus prayed, ‘Father forgive them . . .’ from the cross rather than pronouncing, ‘I forgive you?’)” (page 313). This statement is followed by a story of a woman who interpreted praying for our enemies as applying to praying for the man who molested her daughter. She said she struggled daily to forgive and worried that by forgiving she’ll minimize the pain and suffering she caused. This example of what Yancey is talking about helps those who struggle to look closer at what Yancey just wrote about asking for strength to forgive.

The book contains many inserts—stories and comments by others that illustrate the point being made in that chapter, or provoking further thought. The inserts acted as a stimulus while reading each chapter, providing alternate voices to the authors.

A vast number of classic books have been written on prayer and Yancey catalogs many of the most famous. While I have a couple of other favorites, I would recommend this book to anyone who, having been deeply harmed by someone, has a spiritual struggle or feels estranged from God. I’ve not encountered a book that takes this pain as seriously as this book, and provides helpful and healing responses directed at hearts that have been betrayed.

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Author: Philip Yancey
368 pages

Reviewed by: James Behringer on June 9, 2015

On the Threshold of Hope

On the Threshold of HopeThis book is written by one of the leaders in the Christian community when it comes to understanding and counseling childhood sexual abuse (CSA). While Langberg speaks to survivors in this volume, it is also helpful reading for called workers, friends, relatives—anyone who is serving as a support system for those who have been affected by the sin of CSA.

Langberg not only has 25 years experience (as the book’s writing) of counseling CSA survivors, she also has a deep understanding of Scripture and a profound appreciation for the healing power of God’s Word.

Throughout the book she points to the Savior, Jesus Christ, not only as the Redeemer who lived for us and died for sin, but also as One who understands the pain of abuse. She writes,

You live in a world where you have encountered evil people. So did he. Some of you have known violence because of other’s twisted need to gratify themselves. So did he. He, too, has encountered darkness, chaos, and trash. He went to hell—the place of greatest darkness and chaos. He who is sovereign over all knows what it is like to have hideous things happen and not be in control. He who is our refuge knows what it is like to be unprotected, not only from the fury of the enemy but also from the wrath of God. He knows what it is like not to get what you need. He had no place to sleep. He who created food and water went hungry and thirsty (p. 165).

As the author walks the survivor through the healing process, she make it clear that the road to recovery is long and painful. Yet as the title implies, she indicates that there is a hope. This books helps survivors finds such hope, practically and spiritually.

If this sin has affected you, read this book. If you are a pastor, teacher, or staff minister, read this book. If you have a friend or family member who is helping someone who was sexual abused as a child, read this book. If you are a Christian counselor or social worker, read this book. You will learn what not to do and also what you can do to help victims of CSA become survivors.

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Author: Langberg, Diane Mandt.
217 pages

Reviewed by: John D. Schuetze on July, 2015

Read the review by Sheryl Cowling, LCSW, BCPCC, BCETS

Counseling Survivors

Counseling Survivors“This powerful book deals with the issue of how Christians, especially those called to counsel, can help survivors of sexual abuse find healing and hope.a

In the next three chapters the author works through the three phases of therapy and gives much practical advice. Langberg notes that a key part of the healing process is sorting out truth and lies, something that can be very difficult for victims. They may have been fed one lie after another by their perpetrators.

In a sense their experience of abuse has taught them the lies that God does not care, that he does not answer prayer, that he is not all-powerful. Langberg notes,

When confronted with evil or terrible suffering, we find our faith in the goodness, love, and power of God to be profoundly shaken. As the survivor confronts her life without pretending, she will have to rework her faith so that her relationship to God is not predicated on denying the truth. Is God good, loving, and powerful even though the evidence in her life appears to scream to the contrary? In part, the crisis of faith is whether or not truth will be derived from life’s circumstances or from God’s Word (page 197).

Part five deals with some special considerations: dissociative disorders, false memory syndrome, and male survivors. This is helpful information for those who care for those who have been abused.

In the last two parts Langberg addresses the person of the therapist and the profile of a compassionate church. The final section is especially helpful for pastoral counselors as the Christian community has not always been a comfortable place for victims or survivors of CSA. The author provides a lengthy list of survivor’s needs and another of potential hindrances to effective helping.

This book demonstrates that while a pastoral counselor will want to refer a wounded member to competent clinical care, he will also want to provide the appropriate pastoral care that will help the hurting person make the transition from being a victim to a survivor of sexual abuse. Both play a vital role in the healing process.

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Author: Langberg, Diane Mandt
299 pages

Reviewed by: John D. Schuetze on 5/20/2015

Rid of My Disgrace

Rid of My DisgraceRid of My Disgrace – Hope and Healing of Victims of Sexual Assault

As a Christian psychotherapist, I found Rid of My Disgrace to be a very well-researched, thorough analysis of the issue of sexual assault from both a clinical and biblical perspective. This is likely a reflection of the co-authors, John Holcomb, a pastor and professor, and his wife Lindsey Holcomb, who has counseled victims of sexual assault and trained leaders to care for them.

They quickly establish a tone that is compassionate, supportive, encouraging and Christ-centered to victims of sexual assault. I appreciated their emphasis on how “God restores, heals, and re-creates through grace” (p. 15) in contrast to secular notions of healing based on self-help, self-healing and self-love.

The book is divided in to three parts. In Part One, titled “Disgrace,” the pair provides a thorough, detailed definition of sexual assault that emphasizes the traumatic nature of such an experience for both female and male victims. They offer facts and statistics that put the epidemic of sexual assault into a sobering, somber perspective. The authors detail potential biological, psychological, social and spiritual injuries that can result from sexual assault. Again, I appreciated that they draw the reader back to God’s ability to heal when they write,

What grace offers to the victim experiencing disgrace is the gift of refuting distortions and faulty thinking and replacing their condemning, counterfactual beliefs with more accurate ones that reflect the truths about God, yourself, and God’s grace-filled response to your disgrace” (p. 45).

In Part Two, titled “Grace Applied,” the pair offer vignettes written by both female and male victims of sexual assault. These testimonies convey emotions and experiences that grab the reader’s attention and empathy. They then write about denial, distorted self-image, shame, guilt, anger, and despair. These are approached from a perspective that seamlessly combines sound clinical information with scriptural references. They do note how forgiveness is different than reconciliation, although I wish they would have expanded upon this even more, as often the two are considered one, which can be a significant hindrance to forgiving. The pair consistently point the reader back to Christ and Scripture as the source for all comfort and healing.

In Part Three, titled “Grace Accomplished,” the authors talk about how sexual assault is the result of sin—against the victim and against God. “In addition to being a sin against others, sexual assault is also a sin against God because the blessing of sexuality is used to destroy instead of build intimacy” (p. 170). They note how sexual assault can change how victims relate to other people, and also how they relate to God. They go on to detail grace in the Old Testament, emphasizing that, “Not only does God hear, God also sees. And out of hearing and seeing, God knows the suffering of people” (p. 180). The authors end with a chapter about grace in the New Testament that focuses on the redeeming work of Christ on the cross. “The work of Christ is to deliver us from suffering, corruption, and death, as well as from sin” (p. 207).

Overall, I found the book to be very informative and thorough. Its strengths seem to be in the details about what sexual assault is and how it can impact victims, along with the need for Christ for complete healing. Pastors and loved ones of victims may find this especially beneficial.

The book may leave some victims wanting more detailed strategies about how to heal, as it is not a workbook with exercises that might help one to apply the knowledge contained in it.

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Author: Holcomb, Justin S. & Holcomb, Lindsey A.
288 pages

Reviewed by: Sheryl Cowling, LCSW, BCPCC, BCETS February 2015

Mending a Shattered Heart

Mending a Shattered HeartIf your world has been turned upside down and your heart shattered from finding out that your loved one whom you have trusted has lied and deceived you and is suffering from sex-addiction, this book was written with you in mind. The collection of writings from various authors who wrote this book seek to help you as you work through the questions and confusion you must be feeling.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One: “For All Partner of Sex Addicts” addresses eight questions, the answers of which are “intended to support you as you begin to learn about sex addiction and what your options are as a partner of a sex addict.”

Part Two: “Specific Situations” contains “specific information about sex addiction based on your particular situations. Not every chapter will apply to you. Concentrate on what you need to know and leave the rest.” Examples of material in this section are (9) What you would choose to tell the kids depending on their age; (10) What if my partner shows an interest in minors; (12) Straight guise; and (14) Can we make it as a couple?

This book does not seek to give spiritual direction. Its reference to the twelve step model with the term “spiritual awakening” does not refer to Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit but returning to the “core integrity” of the person. The book presents sex addiction as a disease and does not address sin.

The appendage of the book includes “The Twelve Steps Sex Addicts Anonymous,” “Resource Guide,” “Recommended Reading,” “Notes on each chapter,” and “Biographical Sketches of the Authors.”

Personally I would recommend the book to a counselor, pastor, or person well-grounded in our Christian faith as a resource since the book does address questions a person may have that I might not even think of. The authors do suggest ways to approach and discuss the problem of addiction. The importance of sin and grace need to be supplied. The support of God’s grace and forgiveness is the only way to mend the shattered heart.

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Editor: Carnes, Stephanie
220 pages

Reviewed by: Elsa Manthey, April 2015

On the Threshold of Hope

On the Threshold of HopeThis book is written by one of the leaders in the Christian community when it comes to understanding and counseling childhood sexual abuse (CSA). While Langberg speaks to survivors in this volume, it is also helpful reading for called workers, friends, relatives—anyone who is serving as a support system for those who have been affected by the sin of CSA.

Langberg not only has 25 years experience (as the book’s writing) of counseling CSA survivors, she also has a deep understanding of Scripture and a profound appreciation for the healing power of God’s Word.

Throughout the book she points to the Savior, Jesus Christ, not only as the Redeemer who lived for us and died for sin, but also as One who understands the pain of abuse. She writes,

You live in a world where you have encountered evil people. So did he. Some of you have known violence because of other’s twisted need to gratify themselves. So did he. He, too, has encountered darkness, chaos, and trash. He went to hell—the place of greatest darkness and chaos. He who is sovereign over all knows what it is like to have hideous things happen and not be in control. He who is our refuge knows what it is like to be unprotected, not only from the fury of the enemy but also from the wrath of God. He knows what it is like not to get what you need. He had no place to sleep. He who created food and water went hungry and thirsty (p. 165).

As the author walks the survivor through the healing process, she make it clear that the road to recovery is long and painful. Yet as the title implies, she indicates that there is a hope. This books helps survivors finds such hope, practically and spiritually.

If this sin has affected you, read this book. If you are a pastor, teacher, or staff minister, read this book. If you have a friend or family member who is helping someone who was sexual abused as a child, read this book. If you are a Christian counselor or social worker, read this book. You will learn what not to do and also what you can do to help victims of CSA become survivors.

Buy Now
Author: Langberg, Diane Mandt.
217 pages

Reviewed by: John D. Schuetze on July, 2015

Read the review by Sheryl Cowling, LCSW, BCPCC, BCETS

Wrestling with God

Wrestling with God

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:1

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

The writer of this prayer is being completely honest with the Lord, explaining how he actually feels. He wonders why the Lord seems so far away. And more importantly he wants to know where the Lord was when he was experiencing so much trouble and suffering. Was the Lord hiding himself? Was he scared of his enemies? Did the Lord just not care that this Psalmist was suffering?

You might be surprised to hear a man of God being so honest. Can we really say what we feel to the Lord? Can we really be so bold? Can I really say, “Lord, where were you when I was getting abused?”

Not only can you say those words, but Jesus himself said something similar. From the cross, Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

So today, allow yourself to be completely honest about your feelings to the Lord. Lament, mourn, grieve, and cry out to him. Let your deepest wounds be exposed to the Lord of the universe. He not only gives you permission to be so honest, but the opening words of this Psalm give you the very words to cry out to him.

Prayer

Lord, there is so much pain that is deep within my heart. And at the depths of my soul there is a question: Why? Why, Lord? Why did you stand so far off when I was suffering? In your mercy, let me be honest with you about what is stirring in my heart and soul. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

The wicked are proud of their evil

The wicked are proud of their evil

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:2-6

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

If we are going to walk down this road of being honest with God, we need to be able to voice what we see with our eyes. And that’s exactly what the Psalmist does in these verses. He sees that the wicked man is arrogant. He boldly goes after the weak without fear. And he boasts of what he does. He thinks it is just a game. He boasts of the cravings in his heart. He is so full of himself that he has no room for God. He has such a bloated of himself that he believes nothing will ever shake him.

If we are honest, this is a very accurate view of what it seems like in the world. It seems like the wicked get away with their wickedness and they are even proud of it. It makes us sad and angry that the wicked would ever have their day in the sun. There are no words to describe the agony of knowing that someone has gotten pleasure from our pain.

Prayer

Lord, do you see the arrogance of the wicked? Do you see how they boast about their wickedness? Do you see the pleasure that some have gotten from my pain? Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

The wicked harm the weak

The wicked harm the weak

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:7-11

7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”

I wish for one day I would open up the newspaper and there would be nothing to report. No violence. No shootings. No robberies. Just a blank page. But since Adam and Eve sinned, this world has been marked with violence. In fact, Adam and Eve’s firstborn son was Cain, the notorious murderer.

Being a Christian means that we want to see all the good in creation. We want to praise God for the flowers of the field and the taste of blueberry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But it also means that we don’t have to ignore all of the wickedness and violence. The truth is we can talk to God about the violence in the world, and most importantly, the violence and abuse that has been done to us.

The Psalmist says, “(The wicked) lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under strength. He says, to himself, ‘God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.’” He is saying, “Look at what the wicked are doing! He thinks he’s getting away with it. Do you see this Lord?”

We can say the same things to God. “Lord, violent people waited for me. They hurt me. And I was crushed. He thinks he got away with it. Do you see this Lord?”

Prayer

Lord, violent people seem to be all over the world. Violent people have been in my life and they have hurt me. Lord, did you see that? Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

Turning the corner

Turning the corner

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:12-13

12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?

In verse 12 the Psalmist begins to turn the corner and have some hope. Up to this moment he has been honest about his feelings of sadness and despair. He has wondered why God has allowed him to suffer, he has been honest about the arrogance of the wicked and their ability to destroy lives. But now he seems to find some hope.

The writer says, “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.” It’s amazing to see the Psalmist calling out to God even after he has suffered so much. You might expect him to give up on God or deny his existence, but deep down he knows that there is a good God. And if he really is a good God he will hate what is evil.

How about you? Even after being a victim of unspeakable pain, can you still believe that a good God exists? Maybe one way to begin is by taking a walk. Walk through the green forest. Get outside. Or enjoy a tasty treat. Eat a bowl full of fresh strawberries (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course). Look around you to see God’s good fingerprints everywhere. Then look inside of you. Your body is an amazing, complex living machine, filled with advanced technology that is beyond our wildest dreams. You also have incredible gifts and profound emotions. There is no escaping it. You know a good God exists.

Then, if you are ready, find that good God where he most clearly reveals himself: The Bible. You might begin by reading the first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and it was very good.” Because a good God exists, he will hate what is evil. He will call the wicked to account.

Prayer

Lord God, I don’t see you, but I do so some of the many good things you have made and done. Convince me again that you exist and that you are good and that you hate what is evil. Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

God sees me

God sees me

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:14

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.

The writer began this Psalm by saying, “Lord, why do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” When we suffer it seems like God was sleeping at the wheel. But now the writer says, “God sees the trouble of the afflicted.” I wonder what happened in his life that he had a change of heart and viewed God’s love differently. Did he read a specific promise in the Bible? Did something extraordinary happen in his life? How did he go from doubt to faith?

Whatever happened, I pray it happens to you. I pray that you might look back on your pain and sadness and see that God was there. He saw you and continues to see you. Do you know why I know that? Do you remember when Jesus was up on the cross and there were all those people ridiculing and challenging him, saying, “Jesus come down from that cross and save yourself! Prove that you are the Messiah!” He most definitely could have come down from that cross. But Jesus didn’t. He stayed up on that cross. And do you know why? He saw you. He was thinking of how much he loves you. He would not come down from that cross until all your shame and guilt and pain were bleached clean with his blood.

He always sees you. And one day soon, you will get to see him.

Prayer

Jesus, it is hard to believe you see me and love me because I was treated like I don’t matter. Open my heart to believe that I’m important to you, that you love me, and because of your blood I’ve been bleached clean. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

Fall into Jesus Arms

Fall into Jesus Arms

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:14b

The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

Now comes the really hard part. In fact, it is so hard only the Holy Spirit can make this happen. Now, the Psalmist calls on all victims to commit themselves to the Lord as their helper. It is hard and impossible to do this on our own because our reason and emotions are telling us, “How can I commit myself to the Lord? He seems to have been absent in the past?” But the Psalmist, who was also a victim of abuse, has taken the first step, and he encourages us all to follow him.

Committing ourselves to the Lord is like participating in a “trust fall”. Have you ever done one of those team building exercises where you just fall back and trust that the person behind you will catch you? That is what the Psalmist is encouraging us to do. Just fall back into the arms of a loving and powerful God. Because Jesus died for you, you are a child of God and your heavenly Father is behind you to catch you.

What does feel like to fall in the arms of your heavenly Father? You feel safe and loved. You feel clean and forgiven. You feel like it is good that you exist. You feel like you have a reason to live today.

Prayer

Father in Heaven, I’m scared to trust you. I’m afraid that if I fall back into your arms you won’t be there. Lord Jesus, wash away my doubt. Holy Spirit fill up my heart with a new faith. Amen.

Two minutes of silence

Lord break their arm

Lord break their arm

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:15

15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.

The Psalmist doesn’t seem very Christian in this verse, does he? I thought Jesus said we are to turn the other cheek? I thought we were supposed to forgive and forget? Well, the only way I can “turn the other cheek” and let go of my anger is by knowing that God will right every wrong. The reason I don’t need to drink the poison of envy and hatred and bitterness is because God is in charge and he will judge all wickedness.

In a strange way, hell is a very comforting teaching in the Bible. God hates wickedness so much that he created hell so that the devil and all his angels would suffer eternally. But also, if the wicked don’t repent and plead to the Almighty God that their wickedness be forgiven for Jesus’ sake, they will have to spend eternity paying for their wrongs as well.

We know God takes wickedness seriously. Just look at what Jesus went through on the cross. Jesus suffered hell so that you would never have to. May the Lord lead you to leave all of the injustice in your life in his capable and just hands.

Prayer

Almighty God, I get so angry with those who have hurt me. I want them to feel the pain that I have felt. I want to get my revenge. Forgive me Jesus. I hand over all the wicked to you. You are their judge. I don’t need to carry that burden any longer. Now give me your joy and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Two minutes of silence

Walking in Peace

Walking in Peace

Two minutes of silence

Psalm 10:16-18

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

The Psalmist has come a long way from where he began his prayer. He began crying out to God in despair, pounding on his chest, and now he is praising him. He calls him his king who rules over all things. Then he speaks sweet words of faith to the Lord, “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them and you listen to their cry.” What a change!

Are you there yet? Has the Lord turned your pain into praise? Maybe not. And that’s ok. The wounds of abuse cut deep and they can take a long time to heal. The Lord knows something about time. At the beginning of time the devil brought pain and shame into his beautiful world. It took about 4000 years until the healed that pain through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on the cross. And he is still taking time until he returns and restores his creation to the way it was always supposed to be.

Your story is not a short story. And as your story continues to unfold I want you to believe what this Psalm says. Look again at the verse above: The Lord hears your deepest desires. He will encourage you. He listens to your cry. He will defend you. And finally it is his will that you would no longer live in fear. May the Savior who has washed you clean, convince you that you are loved, forgiven, and safe.

Prayer

My dear Lord Jesus, I have a very broken past, and a long road ahead of me. Would you carry me down that road? Would you listen to me and encourage me? Would you defend me and love me? Grant me the peace that surpasses all understand to guard my heart, mind, and emotion. Lord Jesus, in your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

Two minutes of silence