I woke up this morning with the song “Come Out Of Hiding” playing through my head and heart. What a glorious picture of Christ’s heart for us and the description of his desire for us to call out to him, for us to draw near because he wants to help us, he wants to be our “home.” Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help — perhaps its pride while at other times it’s that we know we need help we just don’t know WHAT help we need. What can be really discouraging is when we finally gather the courage to seek out help and either get ignored or denied. That little spark of hope gets smothered out and now we feel even more alone than we did before. But Jesus tells us that he is ever for us and ever with us. This is the description the prophet Isaiah gives of our Saviour:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.
This morning on my Twitter feed there was a post from a lady who asked church leaders for help. From what I can gather she had experienced abuse in her marriage and the church has not been helpful at all. She is basically being wrecked emotionally and financially and the church is standing by and watching. Unfortunately, this story is not an isolated one. Months ago I decided I would try Twitter and within two weeks I was ready to quit. If I thought Facebook was a ‘forum of fools’ Twitter was a ‘SWAT meet of snipers.’ The worst of the lot were Christians. It was a bloodbath! But then….then I felt a whisper that I shouldn’t quit Twitter and I just needed to delete anyone who drained my spirit and see what God might have for me.
Since then I have found wonderful leadership feeds that inspire me and theological discussions that challenge my understanding of the Bible and God…and its been really good! On top of that, God has led me to listen to women who have been or are in the midst of abuse — particularly in the church. These women crush my heart with their stories — how they just want to be heard, valued, respected, loved — and, in particular, how they have been ignored, blamed, or villainized when they have sought help. The worst is that pastors, in particular, are some of the most harmful and least helpful…some of them ARE the abusers!!!!!! Thankfully, a number of them have been willing to dialogue with me on how I can better listen and give care when/if there’s ever a time someone comes to me in similar situation. I believe God is using these women to grow compassion in me and a desire for justice on their behalf and in that, giving a glimpse of His own heart regarding injustice and abuse and how the church should NEVER be a place where that occurs and is tolerated. God help us! God help us listen and see and love and step into the mess because we love with YOUR heart! I think its God’s heart position that will enable us to do so. I think of the Psalmist who wrote,
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you-you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
I can hear this plea echoing from these ladies story after story. My own heart has cried out in this way when I felt lost and needing help. O Lord, break our hearts and hone our sensitivity…I feel so overwhelmed I can’t even put into words, or into a prayer, the depth of “feel” I have for these situations. The more I listen the more I become aware, the more I become broken, and the more I just want to show love. How can anyone treat another person like this?! How can the church be silent?! O Lord, help us!
This “devotional” feels more like a rant in a journal and I apologize with it’s lack of clarity.
When people are abused they withdraw and hide for self-preservation and protection. They don’t know where there is a safe place or person for them. When they have shared they have gotten shut-down or reaped even more abuse and so intimacy isn’t even something they hope for because who is there for them? Jesus wants to be our safe place to come to and invites us into intimacy to share BECAUSE he IS THERE. I think when our hearts get transformed by him we too desire to be that for others…we want to be a place of safety…we become the hands and feet of Christ. Everyone needs Jesus — some just need human hugs that display his heart.
God, please help me to become more of a “safe” person where people can know they are cherished. Help me to run to you when I feel like hiding in my own brokenness. Fill me with YOUR sacrificial love so I can run to others. Be with all of these ladies who are strangers to me but have tugged on my heart and filled my prayers. May they find peace and support in You and with a healthy church family to give them support and hugs. Amen.
Out Of Hiding (Steffany Gretzinger)
Come out of hiding — You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover — What I already see
You’ve got your reasons — But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lock-down — And I hold the key
’Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home
And now I’ll be your lighthouse — When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate — Everything
No need to be frightened by intimacy
No, just throw off your fear — And come running to Me
And oh, as you run — What hindered love
Will only become — Part of the story
Baby, you’re almost home now
Please don’t quit now
You’re almost home to me