It can’t be lost on us that this is a particularly vulnerable time for those who for whatever reason are still in an abusive relationship. Even for a person with a naturally calm demeanor, a crisis will add a dimension of stress to their lives. Many assume that those who have been in an abusive relationship for a while are somewhat accustomed to handling a tense environment. But the restrictions caused by the pandemic may be bringing them in closer proximity to their abusers for longer periods. This can potentially cause an increased level of stress and volatility in the home. I personally know the frightening uncertainty of living with the constant threat of abuse. Even without the pressure of extraordinary external circumstances, it’s a rollercoaster of terror. So, it’s concerning to think of those that are living with abuse under the new stay-at-home restrictions. Like me, you may have wondered if there’s anything you can personally do.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus Christ instructs us that in everything we do, we must seek God first. In looking at how we might serve all our brothers and sisters in need during this time, our best course of action is to have confidence in the power and healing that Christ provides. In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ extended an invitation to us all. He said, “28 Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” This is a beautiful passage that many have recited and it brings tremendous comfort, but sometimes we can hear a familiar truth so often that we no longer comb the depth of it and allow the never yielding enlightenment to impact our hearts and minds. The first time we hear a wonderful passage, it strikes us, but many of us have allowed ourselves to forget the flavor of our most delicious meals.
The words of Jesus never lose their flavor, and he invites us to the table to taste them again and again. And the beautiful thing about his invitation is that no one is excluded. “All” means all! Our precious Savior didn’t give his life on the cross for just the believer, but for the unbelieving as well. He died for all, that all might know the goodness of God! Most people will not accept God’s love. They will reject it and not allow it into their hearts. Even so, it is important to know that God loves all people, whether they accept His love or not.
Many of us were carrying heavy burdens before this pandemic crisis, and now it feels that our load has increased even more. Jesus offers rest to our souls, and we desperately need it. And to the person that is wrestling with all the emotions and trauma of abuse, there is peace in the arms of the Lord. To worry is not to rest. To have stress on every turn is not to rest. We also know that in an abusive relationship, there is no rest. There is the weight of fear, disappointment, insecurity, powerlessness, and despair. The person who knows this kind of weight is exactly the person Christ is speaking to. They may not feel as though anyone can help them, but he can, and he will through faith.
Luke 18:1(NLT) says, “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.” There is no power that equals the power of God. This is the reason our Redeemer has commanded us to pray as often as possible. It is the way to petition his power and strength; not just for our lives, but we can pray and intercede on behalf of others. James 5:16(NLT) tells us, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Each of us has the distinct honor and privilege to pray for all people, especially those who have the added burden of abuse, homelessness, and disabilities that have made them particularly vulnerable during this crisis. As many of us are confined by the restrictions and guidelines caused by the pandemic, lets be sure to carve out time to get into our quiet places and pray. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Pray”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!