Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.�
The Lord our God loves us. He takes delight in us and provides us with His mercy and grace. He does not continue to rebuke us, but instead leads us in songs of praise that we can know He is with us.
When Marion Duckworth was in first grade, the Depression had just ended, and talking about anything related to sex�especially sexual abuse�was taboo. So when an older man coaxed her away from her paper dolls one afternoon and fondled her, Marion felt she had to keep her dirty secret to herself. And she did.
Marion didn't tell anyone about the incident until she was 21 and engaged. Her fianc�, John, was furious. He wanted to hunt the perpetrator down, but she pled with him to let it go. She insisted the man was too old to hurt anyone else.
What Marion couldn't tell John, though, was that she had suffered from flashbacks ever since the day of the abuse. She had no visual memory of the incident, but she could feel�vividly�the man's repulsive touch. Any lurid or sleazy image would trigger these sickening flashbacks.
One afternoon, as Marion and John perused a drug store, John showed her a steamy magazine cover, disgusted by what children were regularly exposed to. Experiencing a flashback, Marion quickly agreed with him, then hurried to another part of the store to be alone. She writes in Today's Christian:
While I pretended to contemplate Noxema, the Holy Spirit spoke shocking words to my mind. "You'll never relive these feelings again." The message rang with authority; I didn't doubt it was God's voice. I decided I'd know for sure this was a genuine miracle if the feelings never returned. They never did.
Not once through the years had I asked God to heal that memory. It hadn't occurred to me that He would do such a thing. I was too ashamed to talk about it to a Christian counselor�much less to a holy God. So I simply tried�unsuccessfully�to suppress it.
From that day forward, whenever I was exposed to some image of sleaze, I reminded myself with profound gratitude of what didn't happen. There was no flashback. Just sorrow over sin and a prayer for God's intercession in our broken world.
[Adapted from Marion Duckworth, "Stolen Innocence," Today's Christian (May/June 2006)]
What things do you need to say to God? Are you holding in pains of the past? Perhaps you are struggling with issues in life. Whatever they are you have a loving God that wants to help you and help you rejoice in life.