Picture this in your mind:
You’ve had a rough life. You parents didn’t care whether you were educated or not, and you knew physical abuse in the home. You were married off as a young woman to relieve the burden on your parents, who had other mouths to feed.
Marriage didn’t change anything. Your husband yelled at you, physically abused you. Though you gave him three children, he forced you to abort two more. He even divorced you once, but later took you back, though you’re not sure why.
The abuse continued.
Then you ended up moving around, because your country was in turmoil. You’ve lived in tents and as a refugee in several locations. The thought of coming to a better place gave you hope, but the reality said different.
The physical abuse stopped, but the verbal never wavered. The children are a mess. Your oldest son hates you, taking his father’s side in everything. Your daughters are traumatized, and their health suffers. One hasn’t been to school in two years.
Your parents and siblings are killed in a horrific way in your home country. The trauma forces you to be on medication and take disability. The little money you do get has to pay for everything for your family’s needs. Your husband will only cover the rent. He has extramarital affairs, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You can’t speak the language of your new country. You’re illiterate even in your native tongue.
How would you even begin to think of a way of escape from such an existence? You’re in a foreign country, where you can’t speak the language and have no friends or relatives.
Just because I returned to my home country does not meant that I’ve left the mission field. This scenario is not just a scenario — it’s a true story. I met this woman recently. I heard her story. I was one piece in the puzzle of a group of people who were trying to help her find a life of safety and security with her two daughters.
She went back to her husband.
Will she live to see the New Year? Only God knows.
What do you do when the worse possible thing happens, and there is nothing you can do about it? You do what you can, but ultimately, it’s not under your control. Where is God in all this?
I saw him in her face, when her eyes lit up as she heard me speaking Arabic. She couldn’t believe that an American woman would be able to understand her, speak to her, and show her love and care. Because of her inability to communicate and stand up for herself and her children, she fears everyone and everything.
Though I do not know what today looks like for her, I know that God was there in that day. He showed her that she was loved and valued, as I communicated that to her with a smile on my face and in words she understood. I can only hope that she remembers that moment in time, when everyone around her was rooting for her and working to help her. I pray that that memory will encourage her to find another opportunity to be brave for the sake of her children and her own life.
The worse-case scenario may seem like death, but to me it’s another thirty years of life in a foreign country with an abusive husband and no hope for a better future.
What do you do when you’re serving among the nations, whether overseas or in your home country, and the situation looks hopeless? You remain ready to be speak truth, even if it’s only for a moment, to offer hope and love — in Jesus’ name.
We have a simple bag of seeds to spread. Our job is to be faithful to spread the Good News of hope. His job is to bring the increase.
Though my mind wants to seek vengeance for this one, I cannot. God will deal with those who oppress. In the meantime, I pray — I pray for her most of all, but I also pray for the children and then, for him, the oppressor. He’s not beyond the hand of God — for salvation or judgement. I’ll leave it at that.
Remember behind each set of eyes, whether foreign or native born, is a life, a story. May God help us to see the hurts and bring hope, even in a worse-case scenario.
Grace and Peace