God’s Promise of Hope for Victims of Abuse

I posted this story nearly three years ago, but for some reason God brought it to my attention again. I felt His nudge to share it again. Perhaps there is someone who needs a reminder of hope. This is an edited version.

She was standing at the windows covering one wall. A nun staring out the window. As she stood there, a rainbow broke through the stormy clouds and brightened the sky.

The glory of the rainbow drew me to the window next to her. We were hushed with awe for several minutes.

“I asked God for a sign,” she whispered, “Now I know this is where He wants me to be.”

She opened her heart to me and shared her story of devastating abuse from a priest and how afraid she was to be at this retreat (for women victims of clergy abuse).

I was afraid, too. Shame, fear, and hopelessness consumed me, and I had almost run right back out as soon as I entered the building. But now I knew, too, that I wasn’t alone, and I needed to stay.

The rainbow inspired in both of us hope that God was on our side, He always keeps His promises, and He will never, ever abandon us.

Those days were gut-wrenching as we worked through the unspeakable pain of sexual and spiritual abuse from pastors/priests/ministers from various churches. I probably didn’t get as much benefit out of it as I could have if I had dared to open up more, but God still boosted me on the road to healing.

Two women pastors led the retreat, and on the final day, they held communion to whoever wanted to join them. Love, acceptance, and support warmed the atmosphere. One woman stood rooted to the floor several feet away. Her pain was so deep, and she wasn’t sure she belonged. Could she trust the love Jesus offers? Did He even want her? We gathered around her with love and assurance and God broke the chains of shame. She stepped forward with us, and with tears flowing, we together remembered how Jesus offered up His broken body and poured out His life blood for us to free us.

I was still in deep pain, but I had a renewed hope that God held us in His loving hands. Even though the healing journey would be painful, He would be with us every step of the way. And He has been, even though there were countless times when I felt like He had abandoned me. In hindsight I can see He was there even in those dark times of despair.

As one of the projects, each of us were handed a piece of construction paper with our name written in the middle of it and uplifting stickers on it. We were to write an encouragement or praise on each person’s page. After we went home, the leaders sent our page to us. I still have mine 25+ years later.

I want to share with you what one of the other women wrote to me, and I hope you will apply it personally to yourself.

“Keep talking. Don’t allow Satan to take anymore from you than he has. You know where your power lies. In the Creator of the universe, the Creator of you. Call on His healing. He loves you, (insert your name here), and so do I.”

If you have been abused, in whatever way, whether male or female, don’t let Satan silence you or discourage you with his lies. Don’t let him rob you of your God-given voice. His power is nothing compared to God who created you. God has the power and the willingness to heal you. He even finds joyous delight in healing you.

Even when we feel like a bruised and bleeding body tossed to the side of the road, not believed or cared about by anyone, Jesus loves to tenderly pick us up and hold us to Himself, cradling us with His love and compassion.

Yes, the healing process can be long and painful and overwhelming, but He is right beside us longing for us to trust Him as our Safe Refuge, to open our hearts to His love, and to allow His grace to heal us.

God is faithful and always keeps His promises. He will never abandon us. He is beside us even on those days when we can’t “feel” Him or see His signs.

“For every one of God’s
promises is ‘Yes’ in Him.
Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken
through Him by us for God’s glory.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.”
Genesis 9:16 NIV
“Be strong! Be courageous!
Do not be afraid of them!
For the Lord your God will be with you.
He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 TLB


Overcomer
by Mandisa

Hanging Onto HOPE In This Chaotic World

“So God has given both His promise and His oath.
These two things are unchangeable
because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge
can have great confidence
as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT

On February 3, 9-year-old Serenity Dennard walked out of The Black Hills Children’s Home Society, a private nonprofit that provides residential treatment and programs for children who are victims of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or other trauma.

Dozens of people have searched for her for days, also using a helicopter and 7 scent and cadaver dog teams. Because of cold temps and snow, it turned into a recovery effort. But still no Serenity.

I keep praying, “God, please help them find her!” I keep checking up on the latest search news. But still no Serenity.

God, why won’t You answer the prayers of all the people who are praying? You know where she is. Help, Lord!

When something like this happens, I always think the worst. I fear someone who doesn’t have honorable intentions has picked her up. I’m so scared. Not only for Serenity, but for children who are missing everywhere. My heart aches for them and for their loved ones who must be agonizing on what has happened or is happening to their child, grandchild, etc.  

It’s hard not to get distressed or depressed when we know the evil that is happening in this world, whether openly or secretly, to vulnerable children and adults. So much pain and sorrow. So much hate and discrimination. So much abuse and injustice. It can wrench us to the depth of our souls. It can seem so hopeless and we can feel so helpless.

I have been upset with God, because I know He knows where Serenity is. I have been focusing too much on all that is happening in this chaotic world. I have listened too much to all the lies that Satan whispers, sometimes even without my realizing it, that all these things are far too big for God to handle. I have hung onto my pride that my plan is better than God’s. I have let it overwhelm me and I have refused to allow myself to unclench my fists of rebellion and give it all to Jesus.

In Psalm 42, David was taunted, too. He described himself as a deer panting for water brooks, hunted by its enemy. Day and night he wept for God’s help. His enemies scoffed, “Where is this God of yours?”

Two times in this Psalm, David cried out:

“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!”

Despite all the raging emotions in his heart and the taunting of his enemies, he pushed past all the discouragement that was drowning him and grasped onto the hope there is in God. He remembered his Savior, his Refuge, and his Promise-Keeper who never lies. He recalled how strong and trustworthy our Anchor of Hope is.

Yes, we live in a broken world where bad things happen. Where people choose to hurt people. Where Satan is still fighting to discourage us and keep us from our Anchor of Hope. But God is still in control. He is still the King, even though we don’t understand everything that happens.

Someday we will understand. Meanwhile, however much it hurts, may we together remember God knows and loves and cares. Nothing bad that ever happens will change that truth. Without that truth, we have no hope.

I Have This Hope
by Tenth Avenue North

“As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go…”

It Hurts When People Wrongly Judge Us, But Jesus Never Condemns Us

My thoughts bounce like ping-pong balls in my head or else my mind goes blank and doesn’t remember what I was going to do next.

My heart hurts. Not only because we lost a loved one. Also because someone judged and condemned him. Someone who has judged me in the past. So painful memories are triggered, memories of being judged and condemned by many, even those who I thought were my friends.

Have you ever been wrongfully judged and condemned by people? I’m so, so sorry. My heart hurts for you.

There is Someone infinitely greater who hurts for us far deeper than anyone ever can. So much that we cannot even fathom it. Jesus cries when we cry. He knows and cares so deeply and strongly. He never condemns us. He is all about LOVE and GRACE. Unhurting. Unending. Unfailing.

How priceless is
Your unfailing love, O God!

    People take refuge in
the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 36:7 NIV
“So now there is no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 NLT
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
    a refuge in times of trouble.”
Psalm 9:9 NLT
“I am leaving you with a gift
— peace of mind and heart!
And the peace I give isn’t fragile
like the peace the world gives.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 TLB

“Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled”

by Helen Steiner Rice

“Whenever I am lonely and lost in deep despair,
I bundle all my troubles up and go to God in prayer.
I tell him I am heartsick and lost and lonely too,
that my mind is deeply burdened and I don’t know what to do.
But I know He stilled the tempest and calmed the angry sea,
so I humbly ask if in His love He’ll do the same for me.
And then I just keep quiet, and think only thoughts of peace,
and if I abide in stillness, my restless murmurings cease.”

“Healing Is In Your Hands”
by Christy Nockels

“No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love
How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands…”