The Lord is the Friend of the Lonely Who Fear Him
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Psalms 25:14-20 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. (15) My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. (16) Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. (17) The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. (18) Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. (19) Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. (20) Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
As many of you contact us, either on this blog or through Sermon Audio, we hear your stories. One of the first things I like to do when a victim/survivor contacts us is to ask for their story. Sometimes victims just aren’t ready or able to tell it. I know exactly why. As we were writing our book, A Cry for Justice [*Affiliate link], I know that both Anna and I (Jeff) felt it. In telling it, you relive it. You see the face, you hear the words, you feel the doubt and the false guilt… so I know. But as you send us your stories (feel free to do so via email. Just ask us for our addresses), as you send us your stories and we read them, we learn. The abuser doesn’t like it. He is exposed. We are on to him. These stories rock people’s world, especially in the church where so much denial and ignorance still reigns about abuse.
One of the themes that inevitably comes through in these stories is the incredible alone-ness of the victims. One recently told me how she felt after finally being able to leave her abuser, “I was grieving for my marriage, my home, my husband, and I was all alone in a new town.” Christians to the rescue? Hardly. Some of you are STILL alone. That is one reason we began this blog. We hope it is growing into a community of real Christians who “get it.” Don’t ever be afraid to contact us. We will believe you and do our best to affirm you and share some of the things we have learned. We will believe you. I wish we had a giant place and we could just tell victims, “come on down here. We have a place for you!” We should all pray that something like that might happen one day.
But there is this alone-ness. Victims have no one, so often. Abusers work to gain allies and rob their victim of family and friends and church. The nature of abuse is ugly and most people just don’t want to get their hands dirty or have their tidy little worlds upended. So they choose. They choose for the abuser. That is how it is. Victims are alone. I read your stories and I think, “Oh, man! I wish I would have known that two years ago this victim and that victim were totally isolated. There they were, while we were just bouncing along in relative comfort.” There are victims just like that all over the place right now. At this very moment, as I type – some Christian sister is in the pit with no one to come to her aid.
Well, there is Someone, isn’t there? And that is the point of this article. As you share your stories, time after time this theme jumps right out – The Lord Jesus Christ is the Friend of the lonely who fear Him. And you tell how He came to you. Story after story. He came and He stood and He led you. He flipped a little switch in your mind and you began to see what this thing called abuse is and what it was doing to you. Most of the time He came to you directly, through His Word by His Spirit, through something you read that He put in your hand. Or you just felt Him there. These are the stories you tell, and they are very similar.
The fact that any of you have survived the terrors of abuse and are still of sound mind, having grown in wisdom and confidence, is a miracle. Don’t take it for granted. People who have been terrorized for 10, 20, 30 ,40 years should not be sane. But you are. Not only are you sane, but since I have been thrust into this ministry to abuse victims, I have met the best and strongest Christians I have ever known. They are you. And that is not empty flattery. The thing is inexplicable, except for the realization that Christ has done it. He came to you in the night, in that prison you were in, and He sustained you. For many of you He opened the prison door. Others still await that day. But for all of you, He has come and stood in the flames of the furnace with you.
If you would like to share your stories of how Jesus came to you and helped you endure the slavery of abuse, please do so in reply to this article. Of all people, of all Christians, abuse victims may well have met Christ more intimately than most any other believes, and part of what we have the opportunity to do here is to sound His praises for the wonderful things He has done.
Psalms 25:1-5 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. (2) O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. (3) Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. (4) Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. (5) Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.