Psalms 35: 10, All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” (NASV)
Look over there, do you see her? She’s a victim of domestic violence.
A woman whose man has torn the fabric of her life to shreds.
Once filled with dreams of a hopeful tomorrow, she’s now broken and wounded, and trying desperately to hold on to some dying shred of dignity and truth.
There’s no plan for the future, no ability to plan one, just an aching prayer to make it through this one minute. Over and over, this one minute takes her places she’s both afraid to face and hungry to embrace. Maybe it will bring the change, the hopeful future, she longs for. More likely, the crawling seconds will bring more of the same deadness, the same pain, full of fear and confusion, that has haunted her life for years.
As fear grows, hope diminishes until she is afraid to hope.
As the blows from her husband intensify, as his words pound in her ears, she retreats further inside herself, afraid even to look up, lest she make him angry.
The life she lives, she lives alone. Afraid of the consequences she’ll face at home for reaching out to others, and of others reactions should they find out the secrets of her life, she hunkers down and cries out at the foot of the cross.
Does God see her? Does He care for her pain, for the pain of her children? Does He want her to stay? Will He enable her to leave?
How can she provide for her children if she leaves? How can she protect her babies if she stays? How can they make it through another minute, let alone another day, of life on an endless battlefield?
Thoughts and prayers, hopes and fears, bump hard into one another during long fearful minutes. In the late night hours fears intensify giving her yet another night of fitful sleep and horror-filled dreams. Every sound terrifies her. What if he explodes? What if he comes home drunk? What if…? Begging God to intervene, to send someone to help her, she finally falls into a restless sleep.
But no one ever comes.
You wouldn’t know by the responses of the church that anyone cares.
She has tried reaching out to the church only to be told to go home and “suffer for Christ”.
Only to be turned away and told, “We can’t help you.”
Only to hear the words, “If you tried harder to be a good wife, he wouldn’t do these things.”
They are more willing to ignore their abused sister than they are to get involved. Refusal to listen, to help, to get involved, crosses all denominational lines. If advice is given, it’s usually bad. “Go back home, serve him, keep praying and know that you are suffering for Christ,” seems to be the most widely used piece of junk advice Christians have to offer. Junk because in that one sentence, they are both linking Christ to her abuse, and excusing themselves from having to extend any effort to help her.
But her abuser still rages. Her pain remains. The tears keep falling. And she is all alone.
Church, do you hear the Savior biding you to help those who weep? To comfort those who are oppressed? Do you see her fears? Do you hear her crying? She is broken, and dying inside; will you not care?
Do you not hear the gut-wrenching sobs of her little ones?
Do you not remember that the same God who told you to rejoice with those who rejoice also said to weep with those who weep? She is weeping; will you not join her? Will you not weep with her? Will you not weep for her children? Will you not be Jesus’s hands to them, gently wiping away their tears?
Will you not lift them up?
She is your daughter, your sister, your friend. These are your children. Will you not care?
Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.