Book Review

A testimony of how the book Reaching the Hurting changed my life! By Hope Bencho

I had run out of answers and I needed a miracle. I did not blame God for the pastoral abuse, but I blamed him for other circumstances in my life. I had no hope for the future, so I had made up in my mind that I would die on the road of guilt and shame. It had been seven months since I studied my Bible and I turned away from God. I am a student in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and I reasoned in my mind that I could apply the principles to my life and allow them to heal me. The main goal in Psychiatric Rehabilitation is recovery. Recovery is often defined as gaining a sense of meaning, a positive identity, fulfilling relationships, the role of citizen and community member and the capacity to cope with adversity. The main ingredient in PsyR and in recovery is Hope; however in life the main ingredient is Jesus, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Psychiatric Rehabilitation does work, but I needed a COMPLETE HEALING, not just a recovery. I needed the Great Physician, the One who has, borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).

God answered my prayer and gave me a miracle when He allowed the Book, “Reaching the Hurting” to be a major tool in my HEALING. When I first received the book, I thought, “great another book.” At this point in my life I was fed up with what people had to offer me; however as I began to read, it was evident that the words written in this book came directly from Heaven. The book is definitely a biblical guide for helping abuse victims. I could relate to the pain of the author and at times I would have to stop and recompose myself. The book is extraordinary, the author did not want the reader to see her; but she wanted God to be glorified and to manifest himself to each individual. As I read the book God revealed himself to me and restored my relationship with Him. The Bible studies at the end of each chapter are life changing; and if the scriptures are studied and followed there will be healing.

Examples from each chapter:

The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10); then he left me half-dead. I prayed that someone would hear my cry. I tried to get up on this road of pain and defeat, but each time I tried my feeble body would fall down again. Learning that I did not have to be a victim any longer was the first step in healing. I was rejected, degraded, shamed, and I had suffered for another’s sake; but so did Jesus. Chapter 1 asks are you willing to allow God to help you. I answered yes to this and soon found out that God is my help and my deliverer (Psalm 42:17).

I was held captive by the pastoral abuse and many circumstances held me captive. I was filled with hate, anger, and resentment and it was eating me alive. I could not take my eyes off the problems or past mistakes. Chapter 2 of the book says, “A victim must desire to be made whole (John 5:6).” I desired to be made whole, so now I could finally release the past and forgetting those things, which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things, which are before… (Philippians 3:13-14).

We are living in an age where people are not responsible or accountable for anything they do. Chapter 3 is definitely needed in the age we live in. I took responsibility for my own actions; however I was harboring resentment and hatred to the abuser and other circumstances in my life. Even though I felt like I had a right to hate, God’s Word tells me differently. How can I argue with God’s Word when it tells me, that hatred is included in the works of the flesh…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Ouch! The truth hurts some times. I am responsible for my own reactions and thanks be unto God that he has made a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

In Chapter 4 the author says, “No one can heal without having a new heart and a new purpose for living.” Thoughts of suicide were a part of my everyday life and all I could think about was my hurt and failures. If ever I needed a new purpose for living it was now. My heart was filled with so many circumstances that I did not allow room for God. Out of the heart are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23), and instead of life flowing from me death was consuming me. I give God the glory for a new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). Now, I can say that because I am of God I have overcome many obstacles, because greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

In Chapter 5 the statement that I found most helpful was, “We don’t have the power to do something about abuse and to avenge ourselves at all times…But Christ had all the power in heaven and earth and He did not do anything for the very purpose of fulfilling His part of the great plan of redemption.” Every revengeful thought I had was conjured up by my own power. I soon learned that God could do such a better job than I can. I wanted revenge for my own self and this in not about revenge for me. It is about fulfilling God’s plan! I no longer become angry when people talk about Job. I can say, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15). I know that it is in the trials and suffering that my relationship with God is strengthened.

In describing Chapter 6 I will borrow from the words I wrote in the Bible study. Learning the attributes of God allowed me to renew my relationship with God.

In God’s Sovereignty, He created all things in heaven and in earth. I like this verse, John 19:11 Jesus answered him, Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above. I reflected on this verse and began to realize that the things that have happened to me could not have happened, unless God allowed them to. God is in full control of everything and He does what he wants, But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever he pleased (Psalm 115:3).

God’s Goodness has allowed me to have friends that supported me through dark times. In His goodness, He gave me an apartment and a job with benefits. In His goodness, I have a boss that cares about me. God even allowed me to keep my two pets that I love dearly. By His strength, I have kept my grades up and made the dean’s list. By His goodness, I have my mother and grandmother. When I was ready to end my life HIS GOODNESS allowed me to find the The Hope of Survivors. His loving kindness does endure forever and is faithful unto all generations! Nahum 1:7 Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. I will take refuge in Jesus and I want to stop asking, “Why”; therefore, no matter what God allows in my life I want to be able to say He is still GOOD!

I have learned that God’s Providence is His eternal plans, the plans that were laid before the foundation of the world. God hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Chapter 7 corrects the saying, “you need to love yourself,” “you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.” This chapter goes on to talk about self-esteem and our identity. I have learned that my identity comes from God and the Bible tells me that He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). I am totally dependent on God, it is in him I live, and move, and have my being. I never want to be self-sufficient again, because I made a horrible mess of everything.

From this chapter I have learned that I do not want to allow what happened in my past to “shape and define who I am today.” I will trust the Lord and allow him to heal me completely.

By the time I begin to read Chapter 8 I was ready for change and I realized it was necessary. God began to change me before I got to this chapter and I am still undergoing major construction. Through God’s grace I was able to complete the checklist. I give God the praise that I was able to stop being a victim and now He is changing me and making me into what He wants me to be. In writing about this chapter, I thought about 2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. My prayer is that Jesus keeps changing me from glory to glory.

It is awesome to hear the truth in a time where no one has to be accountable anymore. I did not have a problem with Chapter 9, because I knew I had done wrong. The great thing about Chapter 9 is that it confirmed what God showed me already. This chapter allowed me to have balance, it helped me stand firm on Romans 8:1, there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Satan has nothing on me and I know that makes him furious, because he loves to accuse God’s children. Yes, I am willing to surrender all to God and allow Him to be Lord of my life!