HomeWord - Sept. 8, 2008

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Set Free
This devotional was written by Jim Burns

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:32 

Erin looked happy on the outside. She was very, very pretty, a cheerleader, and she had lots of dates. What else could a seventeen-year old want? Yet no one, absolutely no one, knew the deep agony of her soul. She often tried to forget those horrible nights; there were times when she tried alcohol to deaden her pain. Even the alcohol only worked temporarily and when she was sober, she hurt all the more.

One day at a youth event called "This Side Up" Erin heard a speaker talk about sexual abuse. In fact he said, "If you have been sexually abused it's not your fault, it's the fault of the abuser." He went on to say, "Today is the day to seek help; please don't suffer in silence." He offered hope. For the first time in her life she heard that God cares. If Jesus wept for the death of his friend Lazarus, then he weeps for people like Erin who have been abused.

Erin's story is far too common. Her stepfather had molested her for years. She told no one for seven years. At that youth conference Erin got up the courage to seek out a counselor. For the first time she shared her story with her new friend and counselor.

That was a year ago. To say it has been an easy year is not true. Erin has been through a loving, caring treatment center, just finished several court appearances, and her stepfather is now in prison. Erin still seeks out her Christian counselor on a regular basis to talk about her life. This year Erin asked Jesus Christ to come into her life and to fill her hurt and emptiness, instead of what she used to use-alcohol.

I asked Erin the other day, "With all that has gone on this year, do you wish you would have never made a decision to seek help?" She looked at me and laughed. "To say it's been easy is a lie, but I would not have wanted to change one moment of this last year. I've found new life. I once was lost but now I'm found."

Just in case you have a trauma similar to Erin's, please don't wait another day. God's desire is for wholeness and strength. He will walk with you through your pain. Erin made an important decision to seek help. You can't wish away issues like this. If you or a friend has been abused in any way, today is the day to seek help.

GOING DEEPER:

If you have ever been abused and you have not thoroughly talked about it, then please talk to a trusted adult counselor, pastor, youth worker, or leader today.

PSALM OF PRAISE

Come to you, LORD, for protection; never let me be defeated. You are a righteous God; save me, I pray! Hear me! Save me now! Be my refuge to protect me; my defense to save me. You are my refuge and defense; guide me and lead me as you have promised. Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me; shelter me from danger. I place myself in your care. You will save me, LORD; you are a faithful God. Psalm 31:1-5

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