The Realist Laments: Because Hope Friday Does Not Always Feel Hopeful

The Realist Laments: Because Hope Friday Does Not Always Feel Hopeful

To the survivors of abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministry (SGM) churches, who are enduring heartache as men (who should know better) defend the indefensible and choose to stand with the man whose spiritual responsibility it was to rid his flock of evil … SGM Survivors, your cries are heard today and you are not alone. Survivors of abuses within other faith communities, for whom this turn of events triggers old wounds, your cries are heard today and you are not alone.

Trigger Warning: Child abuse and spiritual abuse

How long will the wounded sheep stumble? How long will they be beaten down unjustly? How long will your justice be stayed, oh Lord?

As for me, I wish that the wolves would be slaughteredI have no use for those who use children to satisfy their lusts. Take them away. Lock them up tightly, and throw away the key, for they do not deserve to freely roam. They anger me, yes. I abhor their wicked deeds and the blood that drips from their mouths. But, God, I have to tell you, it is the errant shepherd who turns my blood cold and keeps me up at night.

The man armed with his staff and your Word, who binds tongues instead of wounds. He looks the other way as the wolf enters the pen. He busies himself plucking fleas from the fold, while a ravenous beast gnaws away the very souls of the smallest sheep. And then, only when the cries can no longer be ignored, he will survey the damage, shoo the wolf to his neighbor’s farm, and nudge the injured to keep on keeping on.

shepherd-quoteThis is the enemy, God. This is the enemy, and my soul aches that sheep still trail after his sandals, never questioning, never realizing that a better shepherd exists.

The wolf will always be a wolf, but the shepherd, God, the shepherd has a higher calling. He was called to follow in your footsteps, God the Shepherd of All. To provide green pastures, protection and comfortnot a cozy-on-the-couch comfort, God, but the comfort of compassion and safety. That was his calling. And he failed. He failed to be a good shepherd. He failed to protect the sheep, but it was so much more than a momentary lapse in judgement. He failed to stop the wolf from hunting again and he failed to gently treat the tiny sheep whose life blood seeped from ragged gashes both seen and unseen.

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He failed.

A few good shepherds have noticed, Lord. I know they have. They wave the wounded into the safety of their own flocks where healing can begin. They are watchful for the wolves and they keep a steady eye on the shepherds who lack a gentle hand. But I long for a day when you will set the errant shepherds before you and unleash your holy judgment. I long for the day you will remind them that their duty was to the sheep, not the fence, because they love their fences, God, they really do. And they will brag for all to hear about the quality of their fences, the walls between them and the rest of the world, even though these walls fail to keep out the wolves. And I long for the day you will remind them that their duty was to keep the wolf from biting another, even if it meant facing off with the beast. Even if it meant losing the fight. Because there will always be another shepherd, God, waiting to take in their sheep. A good shepherd. A better shepherd, as those who come after us usually are. And the sheep will not forget the sacrifice of a good shepherd. No, the sheep will remember, just as they remember the shepherd who busied himself with pesky fleas while the wolves had their way

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Meet Tamara Rice

    Tam is a lover of words and Jesus and family, though perhaps not in that order. She’s an editor, writer, a breast cancer survivor, and an advocate for mental health and for victims of sexual abuse.