The air was thick with tension in the court building downtown, and I felt it before I got off the elevator. For some, I could tell that this incredibly nervous energy was what they were used to. Their lives were always on the line in that way, and they were seemingly immune to the waiting game, legal jargon, and haggling of attorneys. I was there to support my dear friend who was trying desperately to untangle the last vestiges of a very abusive marriage. Her husband’s attorney was unfriendly and carried an aura of ruthlessness, and her husband was there beside him; he seemed unrecognizable to me. I stepped out of the courtroom briefly, and outside of it, I observed a young woman. My eyes immediately locked with hers, and I couldn’t take them off her. I tried not to stare, but found myself compelled to do so. Attempting to be a bit more inconspicuous, I came to my senses finally, and took a seat. Something was about to play out in front of me, and my spirit knew it before I did.
There are times in life where you rub up against the energy of a person that seems to match yours precisely. It’s serendipitously eerie. It’s not a match that equals where you are in your life at that moment, but perhaps at a time when you knew less—had less wisdom, but was trying with every fiber of your being to live your truest self. I saw this in the young woman, and my heart both ached and rejoiced for her.
A young man approached her, and there it was. It was the look that I knew so well—sheer terror. Outwardly, she was beautiful, and so was he; but I immediately saw right past the exteriors. Companions of fear, immaturity, obsession, chaos, and ignorance were attached to his person. I could tell they had been with him for quite some time. So much so that he no longer felt the pain of them clawing his soul unmercifully. He couldn’t see them, but finally she could, and was trying to get as far from them as possible. A restraining order had been the required method of her survival.
I ached for her because behind her beauty I saw battle wounds and extreme sadness. Like me at one time, she was in the throes of survival’s most crucial and uncomfortable phase. It is often necessary to go through it before confidence in God’s delivering power is fully entrenched in our hearts. It’s when the pull of going back to what you know is the strongest, and you have to fight hard for your life.
But I also saw hope in her. Romans 12:12(NLT) tells us, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” No matter who you are, you can’t rejoice in something unless you’re confident that good is on the horizon. The mere fact that she was in that court building, fighting to let her light shine, speaks to the reality that darkness was being dispelled. Jesus Christ is our hope, because he loves us, and he IS the light! Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do everything through him, because He gives us strength. By ourselves, we can’t accomplish much, but through faith in him, we can see the pitiful weakness of darkness, and refuse it.
The trouble that God’s Word talks about in Romans 12:12 is the fight to get to the other side. It’s being patient with ourselves even though we’re tired…even though we don’t feel strong enough, and we’re scared of what the other side might look like. Christ will be our rest. He is our refuge, and he’ll be our strength so that we have the courage to make it through.
I walked away that day knowing I had been strategically positioned to pray for her continued strength. It reinforced my belief that our tribulations leave a trace of victory for someone else. Our troubles can deepen our reservoir of compassion and insight, so that we pray well for them. A brief energy rub that day with this young woman was a reminder of how far God has brought me, how He has empowered me through the Holy Spirit to stand in courage and fight for my life. He gave me the strength of Jesus Christ when I had no strength of my own, and He’ll do the same for you!■
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
“An Energy Rub” written by Fran, edited by PMB for Overcomingdomesticviolenceorg.wordpress.com. Copyright ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!