I Take Your Hand
by Sharon Betters
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Grace flows through Tamar’s story. God includes Tamar, a Canaanite woman whose moral judgment appears deeply flawed, in the legal bloodline of our Messiah. Judah, a man who helped sell his brother Joseph into slavery and whose word and integrity appear worthless, takes responsibility for his betrayal of Tamar and repents of his sin, actually applauding Tamar's behavior as more pure than his own. Judah and Tamar are key elements in God's plans for our Messiah.
Maybe you are Tamar. Are you shocked to see a rejected and abused woman included in the line of our Savior? Has abuse from those who should have protected you diminished your view of God, or made you feel small and worthless? Imagine sitting with Tamar by the fire after a long day’s journey. Listen as she encourages you to see yourself through the eyes of our faithful Father and to trust that though you may not see Him, He sees you, He is ever with you, keeping the promise of His presence.
As we travel with Tamar on the journey to Christmas, this sister reaches back to you with a message of grace, forgiveness and redemption. Take her hand and know that there is room for you in the heart of Jesus. God redeems the pain and consequences of our sin and the sins of others. This is a mystery but we know that through repentance and genuine sorrow, God creates a testimony of His amazing grace. Forgiveness of sin and redeeming grace go hand in hand as a priceless gift that cannot be broken. Unwrap that gift today and hold it close as you journey to Christmas with the midwives of the Messiah.
Read Genesis 38 and dig into Tamar’s story. Imagine yourself as Tamar, rejected by men who should have loved you, abandoned, frightened. How does the way God brought beauty from the ashes of Tamar’s life encourage you that He is doing the same for you? Write in your journal: My God forgives and redeems, no matter how sinful, forgotten, or rejected I see myself. He welcomes me as His child.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview “Breaking the Chains of Sexual Abuse: A Conversation with Tom Stewart" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Tom Stewart experienced a decade of sexual abuse throughout his childhood by his Scout leader. His story is not easy to hear, but he pulls back the shades on decades of the cover up of horrific sexual abuse in a highly respected organization: The Boy Scouts of America. Through Tom’s sometimes excruciating words, other victims of abuse will hear a resounding declaration of help and hope, no matter how shattered by the actions of another.