"Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God."
1 Peter 1:21 (NIV)
Recently, I was asked if I would talk and pray with a lady who had experienced really horrible and extreme trauma. Upon meeting her, I noticed her whole demeanor was that of a badly abused and wounded person. She was totally filled with deep-rooted bitterness and anger, so much so that she was consumed by them and could not see past her current situation. I might add, she had good reason to feel this way.
As I sat beside her, she started to share her story. Even though I had just met her, she felt she could open up to me. I found myself at a loss for words as she continued talking. Then she said, “Even God wouldn’t want to help me,” which left a sting in my ears.
My first instinct was to “defend” God, but the Holy Spirit held my tongue until she finished her story. Afterward, I asked if I could pray with her, and she agreed. During our prayer, tears began to fall from her eyes—very gently at first—and then the tears turned into sobs, followed by her asking forgiveness for having doubted God.
How many times is our faith put to the test? Whether it’s because we lack trust or are fearful and lose hope as we look for the worst in every situation, our lack of faith can cripple us until we are unable to move forward. We can even get to the point that we may think “even God wouldn’t (or couldn’t) help us."
In talking and praying with this woman, the Holy Spirit gave her a measure of faith to tell her story to a stranger and acknowledge that she needed Jesus to help her survive another day. Even though she still struggles with the things that happened to her, she is growing and getting stronger in the Lord each day. God is peeling off the layers of hatred, anger, and bitterness and replacing them with faith, hope, love, and joy.
During this time of Lent, let us focus on the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
Father God, thank you for sending your only Son, Jesus, to take away our sin and shame so we may walk upright before you. In your holy name, Amen.