EXPLORING HOPE TODAY
Devotional thoughts from director, Dr Peggy Banks
Faith is confidence in what we hope for!
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Several years ago, I walked into a room filled with leaders who provided care for sex-trafficking victims in India. They had come together for a four-day retreat to learn about caring and bringing restoration in Jesus to survivors of severe sexual abuse and trauma.
As I began the first session, I noticed a very petite young women in the back of the room seated with her arms crossed and a look on her face that said, “You have nothing to teach me. I don’t even know you.” I could feel the tension in the room, and after a few minutes into my first session, I stopped the presentation and asked the group what they were feeling. After several minutes of silence, they each started to share words like pain, sadness, fatigue, anger, hunger, loss and desperation. It broke my heart, but I realized these “leaders” needed more than a presentation on how to give hope to others. They needed hope for themselves!
I started to lead them in prayer and worship that provided space in which they could share with each other and with God the pain they were feeling. It turned into many hours of tears, silence and heart-wrenching prayers. What evolved was the realization that these leaders were themselves survivors who had found the light of hope in Jesus amid the darkness in their own hearts.
Even when the darkest clouds cover the sky, we know there is still a sun and moon that shine beyond them. God is never too far from our darkest moments. The young leader in the back of the room had a very dark story, and she had never considered what hope looked like in the darkness.
Her story was of a little girl who witnessed her own father setting her mother on fire, killing her. When her father remarried, the little girl’s stepmother put her on the streets. She experienced years of sex trafficking and abuse on the streets of India until she was rescued at 18 by the organization she was working for. Since her rescue, she was determined to get more and more children off the streets of India. She never stopped to think there was a God who loved her. She never considered that there was a way she could find forgiveness and peace in her heart. Yet God stepped in when she least expected it – at a retreat lead by a foreigner.
We can’t lose hope! Only God knows what is needed to find lasting hope each day. Every day, we have an opportunity to provide a word of encouragement, a safe place or just a helping hand for someone who needs to find hope as they share their darkness and pain with us. Every day, we can decide in our hearts to trust in the Lord and believe God is working in this world to bring hope in Jesus to women around the world and across generations. Yet God wants to use you and me to bring that message to others through our faith, words and actions.
Let us determine today to have faith and hope! To not be afraid of the darkness in our own lives or the lives of others because we believe that we have the light of Jesus living in us, the light that brings hope for eternity.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.
In Him our hearts rejoice!
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