1in6 Thursday: Hope – Part 1
Hope is essential to life, especially for those who are forced (or choose) to deal with painful experiences from our past. By biblical (and practical) definition, hope is only possibly when we have not yet obtained that which we are hoping for. “Hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:24-25). To endure painful circumstances we must develop a vision of a brighter future, one that is free of our current pain and hardship. For me, great encouragement came from the support of my family and my friends and for that, I am forever grateful. But my hope, my vision of a future free of the pain and the shame, was found in the Lord.
In the fall of 2004, when I made the decision to open the door of my heart and shed light on my past abuse, I had no idea that the journey ahead would be so painful and that closure would be continually pushed just beyond my grasp. Proverbs 13:12 says, “hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Over the next year-and-a-half, my heart was made sick several times. As you may know, our justice system is not perfect. There are many loopholes in the fine print of the law that can be used for better or for worse. In my situation, as the very strong case against Chris, my abuser, was inching forward, his lawyers used every loophole they knew to delay, delay, delay. The first trial date was set just six months from the time I came forward. Based on some fancy legal footwork, the hearing was delayed an additional six months until October of 2005. We (the two other victims and myself) were warned by our attorney that this might happen, so although I was somewhat discouraged, I was not caught off guard and felt emotionally healthy enough to handle this delay.
As October approached, I was very much looking forward to the closure I had been anticipating all summer. Things in my life had continued to spiral downwards. I was very depressed, spending far too much time alone and having a hard time keeping my chin up. During this time, I came across a beautiful song that fed my soul and encouraged me in huge way and kept me going. The song is based off of Psalm 13 from the Bible and sung by Shane & Shane. The Psalm (very similar to the lyrics of the song) read as follows:
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.
Those last few verses define that season as well as the entirety of my life. Two weeks before the October date, I received a call. Chris’s lawyers had employed another tactic and delayed the process yet again. Now we were scheduled to meet in December. I was in my car, parked, when I hung up the phone. Overwhelmed with an array of emotions, I couldn’t hold it in any longer; I lost it. I began to scream at the top of my lungs. I banged on my steering wheel so hard I was surprised I didn’t break it. I cried, I screamed some more, I even tried to rip my steering wheel completely off to no avail. After what felt like an eternity (although it was probably only a few minutes), I was utterly exhausted.
Awaiting the new December trial date, I meditated on several verses that helped me maintain hope that this truly would be over eventually and that the pain would end. I reminded myself that,
“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).
And I was encouraged to, “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23). One of the greatest encouragements for me was to know that I was not alone in my fight to maintain hope under painful circumstances. Not only did I know that were there two other boys enduring this process along side me, but that there were many historical figures found in scripture that endured much worse, yet maintained their hope and trust in the Lord. Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Aaron Kesseler was born in 1986, married the love of his life in 2010 and is currently working for his step-father’s commercial heating business in Seattle, WA. After high school he attended Northwest University in Kirkland for two years. Aaron has volunteered as a camp counselor for five years with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp as well as three years with Royal Family Kids Camp, a summer camp for the most abused and neglected children in the area.
The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.
1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends, and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.
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