Devotional Week 27 Tuesday
“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as You promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand…because I trusted Your word.”
Psalm 119: 41, 42
The Message Bible
“Faith has nothing to do with feelings; or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances…Faith rests on the Word of God. When we take Him at His Word the heart is at peace.”
Today’s Study Text:
“For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4: 8
New International Version
“Loss Versus Hope”
“Innocence” – The quality, state or virtue of being uncorrupted or exposed to or defiled by wickedness.
I Have Lost Nothing
“I have lost nothing in my life that I could not find again with God.”
Corrine de Winter
“He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Isaiah 61: 2, 3
A Cry From the Heart
“Lord – why? What have I done to You that can let this happen to me? I thought you cared, I thought you were good; why have you turned against me? No, don’t give me textbook answers about the how and why! Just – please – give me some sense of being held while the questions are wept and swept to a stillness within.”
Women of Prayer
What I love about the teachings of Jesus when He was on earth is that they were easy to understand because He used practical and common lessons which contained spiritual principles.
A perfect example is found in Luke 15. Jesus told a story about a woman who had lost a coin. We don’t know whether she was a poor widow or a mother with small children depending on her. However, in this story, the woman originally had ten coins. As she counted her money she found one coin was missing. It was lost. Gone.
Let’s stop for a minute and look inside our lives. Do you feel like something valuable is lost in your life? Someone took something important away from you without your permission. They stole something you treasured.
In the case of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, it may be someone you trusted who violated you. A bond that once existed was broken. It may have been in the relationship of parent and child; husband and wife; teacher and student; or a relative, neighbor or friend who abused you. Now the security you felt has turned into distrust and fear. What’s more, the painful memories that haunt the passages of your mind and heart, unexpectedly appear when you least expect, shattering your confidence and destroying your fragile seed of hope.
If we apply the experience of the woman with the lost coin to our own personal experience, we find the lady did two things to retrieve what she had lost. She lighted the area and she swept and scoured the area.
Shining God’s light and love into the painful crevices of our hearts helps to illuminate those wounded areas that need to have the “old stuff” swept out. For most of us, those old memories have a way of rotting out our emotions making it nearly impossible for God’s healing to take place. However, with God’s light helping to pinpoint the spots that need the dirt of the past washed away, we can find ourselves being cleansed and refreshed in preparation for fulfilling the purpose God has for us.
But I have to be honest with you, I have struggled greatly with understanding how God, always portrayed as a man, could understand the violence a woman feels when hit by a man or the violation a woman feels when sexually abused. And I’ve asked, how does God understand the pain, the heartache, and the struggle of women?
As I discussed this topic with my husband, he offered me one of the most beautiful and comforting perspectives on God and I want to share his thoughts with you. Please remember, this is a thought, not a Biblical fact! My husband noted that throughout the Scripture, God was portrayed as a man, as men were the Biblical writers. However, God specifically told Moses, no man has ever seen the face of God. Now God tells us that He created men and He also created women. In order to create something from Himself, God had to have all the feminine characteristics present in Himself because those qualities come from Him to you and me. So here’s what my husband suggested. When we humans someday look into the face of our Father, we will see Him as we are! A man will see God as the man He is. A woman will see God as the woman she is.Please don’t think I’m being weird or trying to bring a high and holy God down to the level of humanity – however, God did come down and take on the frailty of humanity in the life of His Son Jesus – and I believe my Heavenly Father’s heart would be thrilled if His daughter Dorothy someday looked into His face and recognized a part of herself in Him. And if this is the case, then our Father/Mother understands even better than we do and feels even more than we do the depth of pain that comes when His precious daughters and sons, too, have been used and touched by abusive hands that were created to extend love to another.
In the book of 1 Peter 2:24, in describing His dearest friend Jesus, the disciple Peter, who found out firsthand the depth of forgiveness and love extended to God’s children, writing about the sacrifice of His Beloved Master said, “He used His own body … His wounds became our healing.” Oh, how I love those words! He felt the whip. He felt the lash. He felt the nails. He felt the spear. It was His blood that spilled in the street and in the courthouse and on the cold, bare earth. It was His body that was exposed and derided as it hung bare on a wooden cross. You and I never again have to feel He doesn’t understand. He feels what we feel.
Several years ago, this beautiful text we just looked at from 1 Peter inspired a sculptor to create the figure of a woman, arms outstretched as if crucified, and this figure was hung below the cross of Jesus in a chapel in Toronto. After seeing this moving portrayal, an anonymous visitor wrote the following poem. I have to admit I wept as I read the words for it deeply touched my heart. These words are the light that shines on our pain – and Jesus’ love is the cleansing that heals all the hurt.
By His Wounds, You have Been Healed
through the image of a woman
crucified on the cross
I understand at last.
For over half my life
I have been ashamed of the scars I bear.
These scars tell an ugly story,
A common story,
about a girl who is the victim
of sexual abuse.
In the warmth, peace
and sunlight of your presence
I was able to uncurl
the tightly clenched fists.
For the first time
I felt your suffering presence with me
in that event.
I have known you as a vulnerable baby,
as a brother, and as a Father.
Now I know you as a woman.
You were there with me
as the violated girl
caught in helpless suffering.
The chains of fear
no longer bind my heart and body,
a slow fire of compassion and forgiveness
My tears fall now
for man as well as woman.
You were not ashamed of your wounds.
You showed them to Thomas
as marks of your ordeal and death,
I will no longer bear them gracefully.
They will tell a resurrection story.”
“Wash me O Lord, and I shall be clean.”
“O God, Giver of Life, Bearer of Pain, Maker of Love,
you are able to accept in us what we
cannot even acknowledge;
you are able to name in us what we cannot bear to speak of;
you are able to hold in your memory
what we have tried to forget;
you are able to hold out to us
the glory that we cannot conceive of.
Reconcile us through You
to all that we have rejected in our selves,
that we may find no part of your creation
to be alien or strange to us,
and that we ourselves may be made whole.
Through Jesus Christ, our lover and our friend. Amen.”
Janet Morley, England
“God’s name is a place of protection – you can run there and be safe.”
The Message Bible
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus