Erica Hamence opens our series of 16 days of prayer against Domestic & Family Violence - Foundations for Christian Action by reminding us that we pray because our God has promised to transform the world.
Welcome to our 16 Days of Prayer!
We pray because our God is a God who has promised to transform the world.
‘He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.’ - Luke 1:52
‘Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.’ - 1 Samuel 2:3-4
‘It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken.’ - 1 Samuel 2:9-10
Welcome to our 16 Days of Prayer Against Domestic and Family Violence: Foundations for Christian Action!
Recently, I was speaking with a friend who is recovering - slowly and painfully - from workplace abuse. As we discussed the steps she’s taken to bring the abuse to light and to find justice, we felt ourselves becoming overwhelmed. There’s so little recourse available to her, and her abuser is well-connected, in a powerful position that he is exploiting for his own sake. Humanly-speaking, there seems little chance of him being brought to account.
But as we spoke, I was reminded of another reality: the one the Bible describes. It’s the reality that Hannah sings of in 1 Samuel 2, and Mary rejoices in, in Luke 1.
‘He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.’ Luke 1:52
It’s a simple truth, but absolutely essential: all of that power will come to nothing. God says, again and again in His word, that He will topple the powerful if they use their power for evil. He will bring them low. Not only that, but He will lift up the humble.
It’s a truth that offers hope not only to my friend, but to all victims and survivors of domestic and family violence.
The power of the powerful can feel inviolable, the problems systemic and intractable, and yet God offers us an alternative. Whether in this life or the next, God will bring about a reordering of things, a right ordering of things. God can de-throne even the most powerful abuser - and promises to do just that. God can re-write the story of our people - to bring goodness out of sin. God can re-orient our cultures, so that they reflect His good purposes for us.
It’s this reordering that we are focussing on in our 16 Days of Prayer Against Domestic and Family Violence.
In the past, we’ve sketched out the basics of domestic and family violence awareness - the facts and figures that make up this horrible reality.
This year, we’re changing focus to something even more foundational. We’re raising questions, and we’re offering answers, about how cultures of violence, abuse and inequity are formed in our society and even our churches. The purpose of all of this is to sketch out how these cultures can be changed.
We’ve grouped these reflections into three broad areas: broader society, church, and personal.
In these posts, we want to reclaim the Bible. To see it, use and respond to it as it is: God’s instrument of healing, God’s rich resource for our good and His glory, His timeless truth written to speak against cultures and practices that sin against Him and His people, and to build up those who have been brought low.
To that end, we’ve asked every contributor - each an expert in their field - to interact with a Bible passage and outline its intersection with their expertise. We’re enormously grateful for their contributions and we pray they will be helpful for you too.
This is my exhortation to you as you start out with us on these 16 days. Keep going. It can be hard to keep engaging with something as horrible as domestic and family violence - whether we engage from the perspective of a survivor, a friend, or a ministry worker. It can be tiring, and frustrating, and so, so sad. It is to all of this that we hope our pieces speak truth and hope.
The people who can best face the horrible reality of domestic and family violence are the ones who know its alternative, and its source. We can be those people.
God of the universe, you are unchanging in your goodness. And because your purposes do not change, because they remain good, we trust you to change what seems unchangeable. We ask that you will bring about a reordering of this world, that those who misuse their power will be brought low, and that those who have been made low will be raised up. God, we thank you that because you will do these things, we can face even the most painful of realities. Please use these next 16 days to make us people who pray and act with hope. Amen.
If you would like to know more about Domestic and Family Violence, and what resources there are for dealing with it, go to www.saferresource.org.au