As I look back on 2014, I realize that I have much to be thankful for. But there is one nagging problem that continues to resurface and steal my joy. You know that one thing that you repeatedly give to God and then take back? The burden that you release for a couple of days and then decide to start carrying again? Here’s the deal: I have been paying court ordered spousal support to my abuser for two years. If nothing changes, I will be paying him support every single month for the rest of his life. Honestly, I had hoped that God would have done something about that by now, because it is so unjust. And there is more. Things seem to be getting better and better for the man who battered me for twenty-two years. He is now volunteering as a youth leader at the local church. He hosts pizza parties at his condo complex, and initiates marshmallow fights with junior high students because he is such a fun-loving guy. He has even made sure that I know that he has a new romantic relationship. Things are going swimmingly for the man who hurt me on purpose all those years. He hasn’t repented. He has never apologized. He is now denying abusive behaviors that he once admitted to. He continues to walk in deceit and wickedness, and yet he appears to be prospering.
This kind of stuff isn’t only happening to me. Now that I have been set free from abuse, I am walking alongside other women who need support and encouragement as they attempt to break free from the men who battered them, and I am a first hand witness to the fact that justice is a hard thing to come by. Last month I sat in a courtroom and listened to the powerful testimony of a beautiful young friend who was physically battered by her dual theology degree wielding ex husband. He assaulted her while she was pregnant with their son. We were believing for a permanent restraining order to go along with the temporary restraining order that was already in place because her young son came home from his dad’s with suspicious marks on his neck. The restraining order was denied by the same judge who had previously ordered monitored visitation for her ex because of validated charges of inappropriate sexual contact with children. So this batterer/ pedophile now has overnight visits with her son and he is taking her to court for more custody. He is going after her to pay his attorney’s fees even though she is a single mom living in subsidized housing. His father is a wealthy, influential pastor, so their side has unlimited resources. Another of my friends was ordered into “family reunification therapy” even though the court confirmed that her sons were being sexually molested by their dad. Still another brought evidence to the police that her son-in-law was abusing her grandchildren, and that man is still running around, free as a bird.
These circumstances, and perhaps your circumstance, beg the question: What about justice?
The enemy would love for me and you to hang our heads and slink away in defeat. More than that, he wants us to shake our fists toward the sky and say “thanks a lot God! Way to come through for us!” His goal is for us to curse God. Well, I for one refuse to give the enemy what he wants. What if women all over the world joined together in one defiantly righteous proclamation against the enemy? That could be really cool. Let’s try it:
“Listen up fool, the righteous shall live by faith – you got that? I know that it appears that evil is winning the day, but I will walk by faith and not by sight. Someday my Jesus is coming on a white horse and guess what his Name is? Faithful and True. He has told me that in this world I will have trouble but that I can take heart because he has overcome the world. He has told me to lift my eyes up because my redemption draws nigh. And I believe him. My hope is not in the courts. My hope is in God, and he will not fail me. It may be taking longer than I wanted, it may be a lot harder than I wanted, but God is working all things for my good because I love him and I am called according to his purpose. So when my deliverance comes – and it will, I will be an unstoppable force of light for him in a dark world. I will tell of his greatness, and all glory will go to him. Jesus is my Justice and he is more than enough, so you can take a hike!”
That feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Still, sometimes our circumstances are so overwhelming and dark, that we literally don’t know what to do. That is where Psalm 37 comes in. I can’t think of another passage of scripture that addresses justice more powerfully. So I have decided to read Psalm 37 every single day until my beautiful young friend is delivered from her situation. I am calling it the Psalm 37 Pact and I invite you to join me. Commit to reading Psalm 37 every day until you are completely delivered from whatever evil is coming against you. The awesome thing about Psalm 37 is that through David, the Holy Spirit tells us exactly what to do while we wait for justice
Trust in the Lord: Dare to hope. Have faith. Believe that God will keep his promises.
Do good: Love and care for others even while being assaulted by evil.
Dwell in the Land: Accept where God has you right now and be thankful. Are you further down the road to freedom than you were a year ago? Praise God for progress, and believe for better things to come.
Enjoy safe pasture: Are you safer than you were a year ago? Praise God for what he has already done in your life. If you are still unsafe have the courage to reach out for help and run to the safe pasture that God has for you.
Take delight in the Lord: Give God the most precious place in your heart. Allow him to be the love of your life.
Commit your way to the Lord: Bring your situation before him daily, lay it at his feet ,and believe that he will fulfill every single promise that he has spoken over you.
Trust in Him: This is so important that it is repeated. Dare to hope. Have faith. Believe that God will keep his promises.
Be still before the Lord: Sit in his presence every day and allow him to pour his healing oil over you.
Wait patiently for him: Believe that he is working behind the scenes even when it appears that nothing is happening.Trust in his timing.
Refrain from anger: Give anger and hatred to him every single day. It is only normal to experience these emotions, but holding onto them is toxic to the body and soul.
Turn from Wrath: Leave the vengeance to God.
Turn from evil: If you know that you are doing something that God does not want you to do, simply repent.
Do good: Keep up the loving and the caring!
Hope in the Lord: Give discouragement and despair the boot. Get your hopes up.
Keep his way: Faithfully walk the path that God has for you without turning to the right or the left. Live life the way you know he wants you to while you wait for justice.
Consider the blameless: Read about Job, Ruth, David, and Joseph. You will see that God comes through every single time.
Observe the upright: Read about Abraham, Moses, and Esther. You will see that God is faithful to the righteous and that he fights against evil on behalf of those who trust in his Name.
Just in case you are wondering how in the world I could choose to have faith in God in light of everything that I shared, let me assure you that I have good reason for my confidence in the faithfulness of God. Every single woman that I have written about, including myself, is a living miracle. Each of us have already experienced the deliverance of God on a massive, miraculous scale. God has worked differently in each of our situations, but the end result has been the same for all four of us. We are all set free from abuse. We are all safe. We are all restored to our children. We all are experiencing the provision of God for our physical needs on a daily basis. God has worked miracles on behalf of every single one of us. I am not exaggerating – I am talking flat out miracles. God is a strong tower. God is a deliverer. God is a refuge. He has already proven himself to all of us. The enemy wants what is yet undone to lure us into forgetting about what has already been done. But he is exposed and I am not going to fall for his pathetic schemes.
So bring on 2015! The year of hope and faith! The year of of miracles and deliverance! The year of justice! The year of provision and favor! Let us proclaim with full assurance “I know I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” Psalm 37:39-40