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You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. Psalm 31:4 (NASB)

One day a Hummingbird got ‘caught’ in our garage. It apparently darted away when we came out of the house and flew into the garage. It couldn’t figure out that if it just flew down a couple feet it could go out the garage door. To rescue the small, frightened animal I took a couple butterfly nets and gently trapped it inside the nets and carried it to safety.

The small, frightened animal couldn’t have known that safety was just a few feet away. It couldn’t have known that the monstrous animals chasing it around its cell were trying to help it. I couldn’t have known that the nets that eventually captured it were meant for good, not evil.

It’s the unknown that scares us most, isn’t it? Like the Hummingbird we can go through life thinking that our safety and protection depends on our own ability to figure things out. But life isn’t predictable, and every net that captures us isn’t for our own good.

Relationships we seek may seem to be safe and fulfilling until the ‘honeymoon is over’ and anger, rage, frustration and abuse set in. Business dealings may seem ‘too good to be true’ and then we find out they were too good to be true and we lose our retirement. Friends and even lovers may pledge their allegiance and later we find out that they are saying things behind our backs, cheating on us or, in some other way, making us out to be the fool. Politicians and bosses make promises to us that turn out to be empty words.

It’s not the nets of entrapment we see that are dangerous, it’s those that are laid in secret that are our biggest threat. Like an animal walking through the forest, unaware of a pit hidden by brush, we fall into situations that catch us off guard. When that happens we end up at the mercy of our captor. The walls are too steep, the darkness to deep for us to find a way out. Desperation, fear and depression join with hopelessness to become our biggest enemies. There’s no way out.

That’s when your Heavenly Father steps in. That’s when God comes to the rescue. There is no pit too deep but that he can’t lift you out. There is no darkness to black but that his light can’t shine through it. The reason you are in the pit you are in is irrelevant. How you got there is of no concern to God, getting you out is his biggest priority.

Whatever pit you find yourself in today, God wants to lift you up. Whatever net has you entangled, he has the power to tear it open and provide your route of escape. You may have spent a lifetime refusing to acknowledge his existence or wandered away from him in the forest. None of that matters. His goal is to free you.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m trapped. The nets the enemy has thrown have hit their mark. The fear and darkness of this pit I’ve dug for myself are too steep. Please rescue me through your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.

Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly. 1 Peter 2:23 (CEV)

“Although he was abused, he never tried to get even.”

What a statement of strength, love and faith about Jesus Christ! When abuse happens, those who suffer the abuse may withdraw into a shell and lose themselves in the pain of the wound. Others may strike back at the abuser or become an abuser themselves using their victims as a way of ‘getting even’ with the offender in their own lives. 

Abuse, by definition is the improper treatment of someone else. Physical abuse brings harm to one’s physical body, but bruises heal. Emotional abuse is harder to diagnose. Emotional abuse leaves much deeper scars; the bruises are not seen by the human eye; the pain can last a lifetime.

Jesus Christ was abused for us. He suffered emotionally, physically and spiritually on our behalf. That is refreshing to me for two reasons. First of all, when I’m treated unfairly he completely understands my pain. He’s felt the pain of rejection. He’s heard the voices of insult and false accusation. He was misrepresented and misunderstood. If you are a victim of abuse, you have someone who knows how you feel.

The fact that Jesus was abused also helps me realize how I can best handle abuse. Jesus didn’t get angry at his abusers. As God in the flesh he could have wiped them out with a single word, but he made no threats. Why? How was he able to endure the words and actions of evil people against his body and emotions?

It was faith. Faith gave Jesus Christ the power to endure the abuse leveled against him. Most of us put our faith in ourselves ultimately. We rely on our own power to endure, our own power to plow through the wilderness. When we are mistreated and abused the biggest damage is done to our identity. We believe we are worthless. We blame ourselves. We become angry and bitter.

On the other hand, when our identity is placed in the hands of a loving, all-powerful and forgiving God, we endure the attacks because our value is secure as a result of his power. If today, you are a victim of abuse, not matter how harsh and how unfair, remember this. The God of Heaven sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live among us. He was abused and beaten on your behalf so you could experience the love of His father.

The wounds you bear may never heal completely, but a relationship with him is like soothing oil that heals to the very depth of your soul. Come to him. He knows how you feel.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I pray today for those who are the victims of evil acts that have destroyed their lives. I ask that they may find the relief that comes from a relationship with you. Thank you for enduring all you did for me. Thank you Father for making me who I am. Amen.

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August 2022
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