Do You Have Hope?

Victim or survivor?

When I first started hearing people refer to themselves as abuse survivors, I thought it was just a silly exercise in semantics. That was many years ago. I have since changed my mind.

bandaging the woundsWhat changed it? Two things. It started to look like our society is way too full of people who consider themselves victims—maybe for no reason other than they’ve been offended by something.

The strongest reason was when I realized that to be a victim is to elicit sympathy or worse, pity. It can become quite easy to use the “victim” status to take advantage of others.

But to be a survivor is to be strong. Better yet, it is to be healed, or at least in the process of healing. Notice I said, “healed.” Not recovered. Not fighting the good fight.

I can just hear some of you asking “is that even possible?” Your hope has been dashed too many times. Maybe you’ve never had hope. Been there.

Okay, so let’s talk about hope.dove of peace rising

Dictionary definitions include:
(Noun): the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
               A person or thing in which expectations are centered (like Jesus!)

(Verb): to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

Neither of these meanings fit what a lot of people define as hope. They’ll say things like “I hope such and such happens” or “I hope I get out of debt someday.” The problem with this attitude is that is doesn’t come near to true hope. It’s wishful thinking. Another term for it is “magical thinking”. It’s too easy to allow ourselves to be stagnant, to not pursue healing, and in the avoidance of the work we slip into wishful thinking. Not good.

It also tends to keep us from putting our hope where it belongs – in Abba.

Where else do we put our hope?

Lots of times we put it in ourselves. Our experiences have taught us that we are the only ones we can trust. The only ones who have our best interests at heart.

We often put our hope in our families, knowing they will take care of us if we need it.

We put hope in our church and pastor. Or in our job and money. Maybe in our community status.

None of these things are bad in themselves; they can all be part of God’s provision for our lives. We do have to put some hope and trust in ourselves at times. After all, when God provides a gift for us we still have to reach out and take it. Trusting our families and church are all right in some circumstances. Likewise with our jobs and our, cross and crown of thorns

However, people go overboard, especially when they are deeply wounded. The hope is misplaced. They hope for salvation from other sources, even knowing Jesus in the only Savior.
And salvation is much bigger than we believe. It encompasses healing, strength, mercy, grace, provision . . . a whole lot more than just a ticket to heaven.

If our hope is not in Jesus, it’s not truly hope. It’s just wishful thinking.

this is part 2 of a series on abuse recovery

Part 1| Am I Alone in my Pain?

all illustrations courtesy of