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Introduction to Wrestling with God

If you’ve been a victim of abuse, you know that healing is a life long journey. The physical bruises and pain last a short time compared to the damage that has been has done to your heart and soul. These devotions are not meant to be a “quick fix”, but maybe they could be used as one more way that Jesus might bind up your broken heart.

Wrestling with God

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?

The Wicked are Proud of their Evil

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.

The Wicked Harm the Weak

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.

Turning the Corner

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.

God Sees Me

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?

I Can Fall Into His Arms

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.

Lord, Break Their Arm

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.

Walking in Peace

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!

Suffer the Children

Used with permission, this article by Victor Vieth from Jacob’s Hope reviews the ten stages of developing an effective child safety policy.

What Would Walther Do?

Counselors and theologians failing to understand the dynamics of child sexual abuse cases often apply the concept of law and gospel incorrectly. When this happens, perpetrators are emboldened to offend again and many victims leave the church.

Pastoral Theology Brief: Matthew 18

A pastor is counseling a couple in his congregation. In the course of the session it’s revealed that the husband has sexually abused his 12-year-old daughter. He admits his sin. He recognizes it was wrong. It happened three months ago and he hasn’t done anything since. He seems crushed. He cries. He promises never to […]

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

There are numerous federal and state laws that define child abuse and neglect. In determining whether or not a specific action violates civil or criminal law, it is necessary to consult with local authorities. The following general definitions of child abuse and neglect are taken from the World Health Organization and the International Society on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Understanding and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Parents, grandparents and other caretakers often have many questions about speaking to their children about abuse and in otherwise keeping them as safe as possible. This article poses a number of common questions and provides answers written by the staff of the National Child Protection Training Center.

A Lutheran Approach

Using the writings of Martin Luther and C.F.W. Walther, this article outlines a Christian approach to ministering to victims and perpetrators of child abuse. The article begins on page 21 of this issue of Caring Connections.

Speaking with Survivors Has Changed My Life

4 Positive Reasons to Talk about Abuse As I think about you, the reader, I imagine that you are probably one of two people. Either you are a survivor of abuse, which means you are most likely suffering in silence. Or you are a friend of a survivor. You had no idea that some of […]

If God is Good Then Where Did Evil Come From

  I want you to trust every word of the Bible . . . . . . even from the very first page. I believe the main objection to Christianity is not scientific. You see, much of the debate around Christianity today is not whether you can trust in Jesus as your Savior but whether […]

100 Percent of People are Affected by Abuse

How you can help protect children and support survivors. Some statistics are so staggering you just can’t un-see them. That’s how I felt at a conference two years ago on child protection. The main speaker revealed two facts that were so astounding that, after hearing them, I knew that I would never be the same. […]