I’ve been listening to Don Miller’s book Scary Close on Audible for the second time. There’s just something about this book that causes me to feel more hopeful about life. Lately, I’ve needed to be reminded of this hope, and have been listening to the book on the way to work.
In the book, Don talks about a conversation with his friend, John Cotton Richmond, who takes down criminals in sex trafficking rings and is a civil rights prosecutor with the US Department of Justice.
Don tells John in a conversation over lunch that he’s realized that in order to have healthy relationships he has to trust that there are more lifeguards than sharks in life. John, who has seen the worst of criminals in his day to day work, surprisingly agrees with Don.
John said he’s discovered a common thread that runs through the lives of those he arrests, and it’s that most of them believe someone is out to get them. Many have been abused, and have just learned not to trust others adopting a mentality where they see life as a kill-or-be-killed drama.
I don’t know about you, but at times when I think about all the evil I’ve seen in a lifetime, it’s easy to determine that life is all about protecting ourselves from the evil around us. Sometimes it causes me to want to crawl in a cave with my family and never let anyone else in.
A couple of weeks ago a man just down the street was arrested for possession of child pornography. My husband had actually met this man and his family recently in his line of work. Needless to say, he was surprised that such a seemingly normal family had such a dark secret that someone in it was keeping.
Two coaches at a neighboring school were arrested for innapropriate relationships with students.
A recent internet search for convicted sex offenders in my area reveals that one even lives in the neighborhood across the street from our family.
And these are just a few evidences of evil around me.
Sometimes it feels like sharks are circling all around us waiting for just the right moment to devour us.
The day our little girl was sexually abused was one of the worst days of our lives. A shark had been staying at our home, and we didn’t even know it. He had appeared to be such a polite young man, usually saying yes ma’am and no ma’am, please and thank you. How could we have known he would do so much damage to our little girl? But we had no idea, until our little girl told us about the terrible thing that happened right in our own back yard.
Parents, warn your kids about sexual abuse as soon as they are old enough to understand. The book God Made All of Me is an excellent resource for parents to educate their children. Also, provide an environment where your kids know it’s never good to keep secrets. Too many terrible things are allowed to continue to happen, because kids have been asked not to tell.
Everything I’ve written so far has been about sharks. It’s so easy to get focused on the bad. Sharks leave behind a bloody mess that everyone around them can see. And one need to only turn on the TV to hear another horrible story.
But the truth is if we stay focused on the sharks too long we will find it almost impossible to trust others around us. I know because for the past two years of dealing with the aftermath of my own trauma I’ve fought this battle regularly.
Sometimes I want to go to church and believe there are people there who really care. Memories of relationships with people from my former church who were lifeguards when life was overwhelming come to my mind, and I miss them so much.
But sometimes I think of how deceived I was and how many lies were told and how much blood there was, and I want to run from everyone.
Sometimes I want to bite someone before they bite me.
But God has known how hard it has been and has gradually brought safe people into my life, however none of them are people that I go to church with. Maybe one day that will change, but right now I think God knows it’s just too hard for me to trust in that area of life.
God knows our weaknesses and has great compassion on us. We can trust Him to provide exactly what we need.
He’s also provided a job in these past two weeks where I’ve had an opportunity to see real lifeguards at work. I began to really see this two days ago that He’d done this when I saw a coworker tear up, because someone wasn’t going to get the help they desperately needed. She was a lifeguard, and she inspired me to keep being a lifeguard, too.
Lifeguards watch out for the sharks. They also rescue when others are drowning or have been attacked. It’s been my desire all along that this blog would comfort the painful wounds of others who have been viciously attacked by evil.
I so abhor the evil that sinks it’s sharp teeth into our very souls and rips out a big chunk, leaving little behind. And so does God. He weeps with us. He prays for us when the pain is so bad we cannot find the words. He fights for our lives when we do not want to live another day. He saw evil’s vicious attack on His childen and He stopped at nothing to rescue us. He walked into the water and allowed Himself to be eaten by the shark, all so that we could be saved. He is the ultimate Lifeguard.
He’s called us to follow in His steps. We’ve all been attacked by the shark, but we do not suffer alone. He’s shared in our suffering. And just as He weeps with us, He has called us to weep with one another and hold one another up when we want to drown.
I thank God for the lifeguards He continues to bring into my life. I’m beginning to see that there really are more lifeguards than sharks.
On a side note, I just need to say that there’s nothing good about the evil that has been done to us. It’s such a cruel and insidious thing, and God promises judgment and justice will come. We must trust this so we won’t lose hope. Often we don’t see justice this side of Heaven, but rest assured it will come.
One day the shark will be locked away forever and so will all of those who’ve lived for evil, too.
God promises to bring good out of what the enemy meant for evil in our lives. But make no mistake the evil that has been committed against us is a terrible thing. There is no good in the evil at all. I give evil no credit for anything good that has happened to me. Evil is not my story, nor will I thank evil for making me stronger or better. Only Jesus Who suffered and died for me will receive my gratitude. His loving compassion is the good that I cling to. He is my story. He is my song. He is the real hero and it’s through my weaknesses that His strength is revealed. We must weep over all that has been lost. God will deliver on His promise to transform the darkness into life, but a grieving process must take place first in order for us to be healthy. It is in the fellowship of suffering that we find true fellowship with one another and with Christ. It is through the pain of childbirth, that we are delivered into new life.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”