A little over a month ago, I was one of the five facilitation team members on our Rachel’s Vineyard retreat who was blessed to be able to witness how God can transform our deep suffering and pain into hope. Throughout three short days, we had four men and women who entered into the retreat opportunity full of heartache, shame, pain, and suffering they had been carrying around for many years from their past abortion experiences. During the weekend, they invested themselves fully in relying on Christ to guide them through each step of the intentional and purposeful healing process based on scripture. God has promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you…” (Heb. 3:15) — He will never allow us to go through our pain alone.
On the third day of the retreat, there is a very special time and moment that happens for the retreat participants through the honoring of the children they lost through abortion. It is a time and space in which the light comes back into their lives, the darkness is banished away, and the hope they never thought possible to get back, is instilled into their hearts again.
As we have been through another Lenten journey and are in the midst of Holy Week, it has allowed the opportunity for deeper reflection and prayer time. I have been processing what this Rachel’s Vineyard retreat experience means for all who are involved, what it can do for those who trust in the process, and how it can literally transform hearts for those who believe Christ is who He says He is, and that He is strong enough to do that for us. It has also made me realize what a humbling example this retreat is of the suffering and resurrection that can happen, and did happen, throughout three short days.
On Good Friday, Christ endured unimaginable suffering because He loved us with the greatest example of unconditional love, to the point of death on the cross. He knew we are all sinners, we make mistakes on a daily basis, and we are all broken people. But He did it because He knew the hope that comes from this kind of unconditional love. No matter what you have done, how broken, unworthy, or unforgivable you feel, nothing; and I mean nothing, will ever take away the hope and love Christ has for you.
What are the examples in your life right now where you are experiencing suffering? Throughout your suffering, what is the hope you hold onto? Where do you draw your strength from? Who are you dependent upon? Do you believe in the hope of resurrection and redemption despite the suffering you may be experiencing right now?
When Easter Sunday comes, I pray it is a time and reminder of the light and hope that has been given to all of us through His Son’s resurrection.
Director of Client Advocacy