Several years ago, I was invited to lead a Bible study in the house of a local drug dealer. One of the guys who lived there had recently given his life to the Lord after being miraculously healed (after watching the Darren Wilson documentary movie, “Holy Ghost” with a Christian friend) and he had started coming to our church.
He was about 20 years old and had been a small time dealer himself since he was ten years old. He and his friends graciously invited me to their house so I accepted. I took a young man I was discipling with me.
As we walked through the driveway to the back of the house, we could smell a slight whiff of marijuana wafting through the warm summer night air. I knocked on the door and saw no hint of the source of this illegal fragrance when we were let inside. We were greeted by about a half dozen 20-somethings waiting for us at the host’s dining room table.
After some small talk, one of the more talkative girls wanted me to know that she was raised a Christian but was a Buddhist now (found out later it was only because her boyfriend was dabbling with Buddhism). It always makes me curious when people bring stuff up like this out of the blue, so I asked, “That’s fine but may I ask why you’re not a Christian anymore?” She, in a rather surprisingly matter-of-fact manner, said she had been molested by two women in a church when she was around 12 years old. She showed no emotion about it at all.
Now, she really had my attention!
At this time, I’m praying and asking Jesus what He wants me to do. After a moment or two, I felt like He was asking me to re-introduce Him to her. So I asked her if it would be alright if we prayed about this incident right there at the table. Like many young people I meet in these situations, she was very open and said, “Sure.” Everyone else was just watching and listening. I told her to close her eyes and I prayed a very simple and short prayer. Then I asked her if she would go back to that memory in her mind once again, which she readily agreed to.
After a few more moments, I asked if she was seeing the scene in her mind clearly again. She said she was. Still no outward signs of an emotional response.
Then I asked if she could see Jesus in the memory. Almost immediately, she said, “yes.” I asked her if she could perceive if Jesus had anything to say to her.
Then, after about one awkward minute (for me!), she got a big smile on her face and tears started to stream down. Except, they seemed like happy tears of joy. I asked what was going on. She said that Jesus was embracing her and He told her He loved her so much and that this thing wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t Him who did this to her. Then she opened her eyes and proclaimed to everyone in the room, “I love Jesus!”
Needless to say, this brief encounter set the tone for the rest of the meeting! Everyone was very open to what I had to say about Jesus.
This very inadequate description of one moment with God, to me, describes what Jesus meant when He said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” (John 8:36)
It’s important you understand that I didn’t have a clever argument for her. I really didn’t know what to say. I did nothing except bring this very damaged yet very open, precious young woman to Jesus. And I witnessed what happens when Jesus reaches in and heals an innocent little girl who didn’t deserve any of this to happen to her. It was stunning and beautiful. It was awesome and humbling. And it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.
Another thing I want to stress here. I probably could’ve reasoned with her and said exactly the same things Jesus told her…and it probably would’ve had little or no effect. It would’ve simply been me trying to reach a heart with my head. But when Jesus reaches inside into the deepest, most painful part of us, we are transformed. We are forever changed.
I think about these crazy wonderful situations I’ve been in with Jesus when I read about the Samaritan woman at the well, or the woman caught in adultery, or the leper, and how they were freed from a prison of shame, rejection, and abandonment when they encountered Jesus. I’m learning that these people don’t need our clever arguments, or disengaged pity; they need to see Jesus poured out through us.
As I’ve said before, we have a tag line in a song we sing that goes, “You can love me more in a moment than other lovers can in a lifetime.” This encounter is just another example of that maxim.
It also reminds me of this song, “Defender,” sung here by Emmy Rose. Especially, the bridge….
When I thought I lost me
You knew where I left me
You reintroduced me to Your love
You picked up all my pieces
Put me back together
You are the defender of my heart
In the last 40-plus years with Jesus, I’ve seen and experienced this truth too many times to count. Beloved, He is your defender, and it truly is a glorious thing to behold.