At work, one of my co-workers came into the office. It became quickly clear that she had been the victim of a violent assault in her own home. A colleague and I drove her to the police station, and afterwards to the local Magistrates Court. After hours of waiting in lines and talking to officials, we left the building with only a piece of paper as ‘protection’. I was discouraged and disappointed. It felt like it was all for nothing.
As we left the building, the woman who had been assaulted turned to me, her face shining with relief and joy, as she said, “Before I had nothing, at least now I have something.” In the car on the way home, she thanked us for our support as she said “she knew she was worth nothing”.
These words rang in my head. How can someone think so little of herself, that she feels she is not even worth a piece of paper for ‘protection’? The statistics I had read about domestic violence suddenly took on a whole new meaning. To see the suffering and sorrow all around me was shocking. It is difficult to see that someone you care about is physically hurt, but for me to get just a small insight into the effect these crimes have on a person’s self-worth was even more shocking.
But what can I do? How can I help?
The list of things I can’t do is endless. I cannot give her a safe place to stay. I cannot pay for security. I cannot help with hospital fees or give counselling. And even if I could help one person in this way, what difference would it make when there are millions of people that need help?
I went home that day in despair.
That evening I prayed to my God, and received an answer.
It is written, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” That is a personal commitment I made when I gave my life to Jesus. That means that it is God who should decide what I should or shouldn’t do. It is written in Ephesians 2:10 (GW): “God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.”
There are things that God has prepared for me to do on the earth. These are things that I should say and do. Things that can only be said and done by me, to people that I meet in my life. Perhaps they will not make a difference in the way that I expect or want, but these works are perfectly chosen by God for me according to His will.
I must do what is right in front of me
All that I must do is what is right in front of me, and anything outside of that is God’s business – not for me to worry about!
Now I have rest and peace in my heart. God led me into this situation, and I was able to help in the way that God wanted me to. If I had done what I wanted, we would have stormed in and locked up the person who had hurt our co-worker. Instead, God led me down a totally different path. Without even realising it in the moment, I was able to show love and support, just by driving her to the police station. This showed her that she is worth something.
The world is full of violence, and similar attacks happen daily. I can pray for my country, and that those in charge are able to make positive changes, that the system can protect and support the persons brave enough to speak out.
But for me to be discouraged and disappointed because my small part won’t have the effect that I want? That would be a dishonour to God and a shame to my heavenly calling.
God has prepared things for me to do. If I belong to Him, then my purpose on this earth is to be awake to help in any small way that God works in my heart, in each situation that I come in. In this way, I am a part of ending the violence and abuse in this world.