Thursday, July 27, 2017

The wrath of God, Jacob 2:25-35

There are good things here.

There are tragic and painful and awful things here too.

This week we found ourselves, one morning, going down in an elevator in a nice hotel. The elevator stopped and two people got on, a middle aged man and a pretty, younger woman. He was not her father. He was not her brother.  He was not her husband.  He is not from here. As the stepped off the elevator he briefly patted her shoulder and made a comment, but did not look at her, and then headed towards the breakfast room while she turned and walked out the front door.

She walked. Back straight, across the entry, across the street, looking straight ahead, tiny dress, big platform shoes, small purse, lovely long brown hair. Solo. Looking neither left or right. Straight ahead. Contained. Contained. Contained. Disconnected.          Alone.

I HATE what this does to my sisters. I hate that I do not have the resources or the language or whatever else is needed to help them get free. I hate how it isolates them and how they must close themselves and stop feeling in order to survive. This is, in a word, destruction.

I currently live in a country and society where sex outside of marriage is anathema to most. College students I talk to are opposed to the idea of sex without marriage. And this is also a society where a family has to sell something in order to live, where if you have no healthy family support or no way to get to where that is, you definitely have to sell something. And if you have no special skills to market or no healthy connections to assist you, and there are not enough community or government resources to address that, then, even if you don't use substances, have no addictions, and do want to be able to make your way, your options can become bleakness personified. And the choices available are overwhelmingly difficult.

Every once in a while our branch builders find someone in this young woman's situation, and things start looking better, and then the “handler” steps up his control, and blackmails, and threatens to destroy people she cares about, and she is overwhelmed with it all again. Sometimes the community of saints can find resources or far away family that is needed over the long term and help her connect with those. Sometimes they can only love and pray and hope.

Jacob spoke of the effect of this using of women for personal gratification and the indignation of God when it happens. He spoke of the effect on the women and children in the men's families, and also the effect upon the young  women, "the daughters of my people", that those men used. 

He spoke to those men of how “the cries of my fair daughters...and the sobbings of [wives and children's] hearts ascend up to God against you.”

He spoke of God visiting those perpetrators with a sore curse "even unto destruction".

The tears on the face of the pretty, young woman I briefly saw that morning had dried a long time ago. But the straight ahead, self-regulated, emotional control in her walk and carriage spoke volumes about what she has had to do to her heart during her lifetime in order to survive. You can cry and your heart can sob only so long before you start to die. And if there is no balm or escape, the only way to be able to continue to live is to stop feeling anything except being alone.

That's my brother who used my sister as a commodity as she faced bleakness in her future. 

 I understand the wrath of God.

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