Since early this year, I’ve been working on a huge sex abuse case involving a large, local Assembly of God church.
The human carnage and shattered lives have been great.
I take on these kinds of cases not only because I believe in justice, but because I also believe in redemption. Often, I have the privilege of seeing God’s grace shine through as healing comes and the survivors begin to find the strength to reclaim their lives – and their stolen voices.
As I interview and get to know various survivors and their families, I’m often asked if the pain will ever stop. I tell them how I have seen God bring beauty from ashes time and again, both in others and in my own life.
It is hard, but once we pass through the fire and begin to see what God does with the ashes of our lives, we experience gratitude for who we start to become.
In my own life, about five years ago I had lost everything that I thought defined me. But someone cared enough to reach out to me and to minister life to me, and the Lord mercifully met me amongst my ashes. He gently spoke His truth to me about things – like abandonment, my broken body, pending death, betrayal, exploitation, and infidelity – that had caused me unbearable pain and wounding. The Lord then said I had a choice: to emerge from the fire as an emotional cripple or whole.
I chose wholeness – although there was much that still needed to be healed.
God never left me or deserted me in that process, and my life now is wonderful beyond measure. In His grace, the Lord knew that getting to wholeness could not have happened without going through that fire and letting everything first turn to ashes.
And for that, I remain grateful.
Yes, to the survivors. Yes, to the husbands and parents and families. You have gone through the fire. All seems to have turned to ashes. But God is a God of wonder – and He delights in bringing beauty from those ashes.
The fire will not define you, but it will transform you into someone wonderful, strong and beautiful beyond belief as you let the Lord use it to bring healing and wholeness.
This the Lord’s grace. This is His promise.
For a related blog, and to understand more about God bringing beauty from ashes, read Sufficient Grace.