Strength – Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
If you’re not familiar with who “him” is in this verse, then let me introduce God to you. This verse has meant so much to me over the years. There have been many situations that I’ve been placed in that has caused me to fall back on and be grateful for the strength that God has given me. It’s not talking necessarily about a physical strength but more of a spiritual and emotional strength. The thing is, I know without HIM, I would not have that strength. It’s not just a magic wand waved over me that changes my abilities and then I never have to be concerned about it again, it’s a knowledge that without Him in my presence, my strength would be gone.
When I moved to Kentucky and became involved in the Celebrate Recovery program, church and community, I became overly aware of an epidemic that is way more wide spread than I knew prior to my move. The topic of childhood sexual abuse continued to rear it’s ugly head and show the devastating effects on it’s victims. Abuse in general whether it be sexual, emotional or other type of physical, can cause lasting effects.
God has very strong emotions when it comes to the treatment of his children. In fact in Revelations it spells it out clearly. Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” He calls them cowardly, faithless and detestable, which is the second death. That is some strong wording.
I think he means business when it comes to the sin of these things. But we must remember that a sin is a sin and there is no level. God treats all sinners with the same grace and mercy regardless of the sin. Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”. God does not take this forgiveness thing lightly though. We must remember that he is not only interested in our words and actions but primarily in the attitudes of our heart. So regardless of our sin, with a changed heart which is seeking Christ, we can be forgiven.
David writes about it in Psalm 9:9 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”. I want to speak to those that have come from a past of abuse of any type or if you’re currently suffering in this way, there is a way out! If you’re not familiar with David, he has lived a full life of ups and downs. He came from nothing, to king, to adulterer, to murderer and back again and God still calls him a man after God’s own heart. Because in the end, he had a changed heart. So when David says “The Lord is a stronghold in times of trouble”. He knows what he is talking about. That stronghold, that same Lord is there for you as well.
God will provide us with the strength to move forward away from the effects of the abuse. Whether it’s in our past or currently a part of our life, unless we deal with it and face it head on, the effects will haunt us forever. Every decision we make will be filtered through the lenses of the abused, the victim.
The first step to moving forward is admitting it happened. This acknowledgement will be hard, it may even bring on some feelings of shame and interestingly enough, maybe even some guilt. These are 2 natural emotions felt by someone who has lived with the experience of abuse as a child. Read Isaiah 42:16
The second step to moving forward is seeking God and holding tight to the love He has for us as his children. We might find ourselves a little upset with him during this step. Thinking, why didn’t you protect me? We have to remember that God gives us the same free will as he gave Adam and Eve in the Garden. This is a consequence of a fallen world. But once we move from that to the understanding that God’s love for us was so great that he gave his child, Jesus, up for us. This love will give us strength that we didn’t even know we had. His love will cover all the shame and guilt that was placed upon us so we can move. Read John 3:16 and Romans 8: 37-39.
God is our Strength. Ask him into your heart and follow him.
If you are suffering with the effects of childhood sexual abuse or other abuse, please reach out. Or call 1-877-597-2331 (Kentucky Child Abuse Hotline) or 800.799.SAFE (7233) (National Domestic Violence Hotline) or 24-HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE 800.544.2022 (GreenHouse17 Fayette Co.)