In the Dallas Morning News Max Lucado writes about how he was groomed for sexual abuse when he was a child. The Wondering Eagle just wanted to add the post as sexual abuse comes up from time to time at this blog.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16 ESV
Cherry tree in bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
For the past couple of years Max Lucado, who pastors a church in San Antonio, Texas has shared about his experiences with sexual abuse when he was a child. The first time he opened up about it was at the GCN event at Wheaton back in 2018. And from time to time he has raised this issue. If you would like to read more about this you can do so in Christianity Today’s, “Max Lucado Reveals Past Sexual Abuse at Evangelical #MeToo Summit” and Relevant’s “Max Lucado Opens Up About The Trauma Of His Own Sexual Abuse.” Earlier today in the Dallas Morning News Max Lucado published a column about how he was groomed for sexual abuse. Since this blog writes about this topic from time to time I decided to do a quick post about this topic. If you would like to read the original story you can go to, “Max Lucado: After I was molested as a child, Jesus met me in my storm.” Otherwise you can read the column below.
I was old enough for baseball, football and bike riding but I was not old enough to process what came my way that year: sexual molestation at the hands of an adult man.
He entered my world under the guise of a mentor. He befriended several families in our small town. I remember him as witty, charming and generous. What I did not know — what no one knew — is that he was a predator.
He would have us over to his house for burgers. He would take us on drives in his truck. He took us hunting and hiking and offered to answer all the questions of life and love and girls. He owned magazines, the kind my father did not allow. And he would do, and make us do, things I will not repeat and cannot forget.
One weekend campout was especially perverse. He loaded five of us in a pickup camper and drove to a campground. Among his pack of tents and sleeping bags were a few bottles of whiskey. He drank his way through the weekend and worked his way through the tent of each boy. He told us not to tell our parents, implying that we were to blame for his behavior. By swearing us to secrecy, he said he was keeping us from getting into trouble.
What a scoundrel.
I came home on Sunday afternoon feeling filthy and shame-ridden. I had missed a Communion service at church that morning. If ever I needed Communion, it was that day. So I staged my own Eucharist. I waited until Mom and Dad had gone to bed, and I went to the kitchen. I could not find any crackers, but I found some potatoes from the Sunday lunch. I could not locate any juice, so I used milk. I placed the potatoes on a saucer and poured the milk into a glass and celebrated the Crucifixion of Christ and the redemption of my soul.
What the sacrament lacked in liturgy was made up in tenderness. Jesus met me in that moment. I sensed him: his love, his presence. Don’t ask me how I knew he was near. I just did. Jesus was present in my storm.
Peter learned the same lesson. “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” (Matthew 14:24)
Peter and his friends knew they were in trouble. Winds whipped the sails, leaving the disciples “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves.” Apt description, perhaps, for your stage in life? Perhaps all we need to do is substitute a couple of nouns.
In the middle of a divorce, tossed about by guilt.
In the middle of debt, tossed about by creditors.
In the middle of corporate takeover, tossed about by powerbrokers and profit margins.
The disciples fought the storm for nine cold, skin-drenching hours. And at about 4 a.m. the unspeakable happened. They spotted someone coming on the water. ” ‘A ghost!’, they said, crying out in terror.” (Matthew 14:26)
They didn’t expect Jesus to come to them this way.
Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone and residential archway. “It’s all right. I am here! Don’t be afraid.” (verse 26)
Power inhabits those words. To awaken in an ICU and hear your husband say: “I am here,” to lose your retirement, yet feel the support of your family, “We are here.” When a Little Leaguer spots Mom and Dad in the bleachers watching the game, “I am here” changes everything. Perhaps that’s why God repeats the “I am here” pledge so often.
“The Lord is near.” (Philippians 2:5)
“You are in me and I am in you.” (John 14:20)
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
“Nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.” (Romans 8:38)
We cannot go where God is not. Look over your shoulder, that’s God following you. Look into the storm, that’s Christ coming toward you. He is still the great I Am. When we find ourselves in the midst of Galilean waters with no shore in sight, He will come to us.
Max Lucado is a San Antonio pastor and author. This essay was adapted from his forthcoming book, You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Power and Presence.