(I wrote about 12 different intros to this, trying to be witty so I could catch your attention. But the truth is, this isn’t a thought that calls for witticism or humor. Take it or leave it.)
I have really enjoyed working at a women’s shelter. Domestic violence is a seedy section of society that is not talked about too much and most people know little to nothing about it. I have enjoyed learning about DV, and more importantly I love getting to be there for these women and children in a time of great need. Most of the time, I handle the sadness and pain okay but about every 3 months, a client comes in that really breaks my heart. I was really upset this week by hearing a new client’s story. Everything about it seemed so unfair, so unbalanced. While at work, I shoved my feelings about it to the corner of my mind but when I got home, I was UPSET.
I was laying in my bed, crying for this client, crying for all clients, and I asked God where His justice was. Why aren’t these awful, terrible, no-good men rotting in jail for what they have done to their wives and children? I know that suffering isn’t God’s fault but it’s still hard to acknowledge and process. As I cried out for justice, I prayed that He would give me a verse to assure me that He was in control and that He could take care of the situation.
In His infinite wisdom, He did not lead me to a “I will cut them down with a sword” verse, which is what I wanted. I wanted to know that these men would suffer as their wives had, but no, God wanted to show me something better.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful.
At first, I didn’t get it but slowly He showed me that if we ask, He will rebuild and renew us. Instead of His justice (which He promises will happen), God showed me His mercy. He showed me His heart for these women. Yes, most have had lives full of abuse, not only from partners, but family, friends, and bosses. All have suffered under the hand of someone they loved. Their lives thus far haven’t been great…
God wants to rebuild them. He wants to strip off the old “victim” and “weak” self and replace it with a new creation who is confident that God, the Creator of the Universe, loves them deeply.
You see, that’s the beauty of God’s plan. Because of Christ, God can take this pile of a broken person and piece them back together to make a new creation that is unimaginably better than the first version. God is in the redemption business, all you have to do is ask Him.
So many times, people get discouraged (understandably) by their crappy circumstances and they just give up. God wants you to know that He is ready to say, “Out with the old and in with the new!” You can be a new person with a new outlook. He doesn’t promise perfect circumstances free of suffering, but He does offer us a new attitude full of joy and hope in our circumstances.
That truth makes it easier for me to do my job. Sure, there will still be heartbreaking days, but I can hope that God will redeem the lives of these women that we’re helping.
22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.