Disclaimer: this is weighty. I share my emotions and what I gleaned from a recent sexual assault.
Context: I had arrived in Zambia a few days prior and was processing something that happened to me during my travels there. Due to a flight delay, I had a 24 hour layover in Dubai and I was put up in a lovely hotel courtesy of the airline. I’m getting more comfortable spending time with myself, and although I was alone, I chose to sightsee and explore the city.
I bought a ticket to a double-decker sightseeing bus and spent the day hopping on and off at different sites and greatly enjoying myself. Along the way I had lovely conversations with many people (#highextrovert), and even got to share the gospel with several, while encouraging others, whom I came to learn were believers, in their faith.
While waiting at a bus stop to eventually head back to my hotel and then onward to the airport, a man also waiting there, but for a bus going to further stops, began speaking with me. Through our chatting, I asked what his spiritual views were. He said he was a Christian. He shared how he was raised in a culturally Hindi home but didn’t claim Hinduism when he reached adulthood. I asked him how he met Jesus and he said that Jesus visited him in a dream some months ago. He shared more of the dream: he’d been looking for something when Jesus appeared to him. He described Jesus as pure light. Brilliantly bright. Jesus said to him, in the dream, “You don’t need to keep looking. I am the Way.”
The man went on to share that he was trying to live for God, but didn’t really know how.
By this time, my bus had arrived and I thanked the man for sharing his story, but that I had to go. As I got settled on the upper deck of the bus, surprisingly, the man walked up the bus stairs and sat next to me. He’d decided to take this bus back to the station instead of venturing to more sites. We continued chatting a bit and I spoke really directly to him, speaking that God wasn’t disappointed in him, but pleased.
Suddenly, the man grabbed at my chest with one hand and my face with the other and leaned in to kiss me. Appalled and caught off guard, I quickly turned away. “You will not touch me!!” I said. Adamantly. He pulled away, apologized and explained that he was just overcome with all of the things I spoke to him, saying, “You are speaking deep things into my soul!”
Calmly and firmly I replied, “I’m speaking truth that Jesus says about you. But you will not touch me.”
Again, he explained that he felt overcome and he again, leaned in to try to kiss me.
He wore sunglasses. I don’t like it when I can’t see people’s eyes clearly, because eyes greatly reveal emotional and spiritual states.
“Take off your sunglasses.” He immediately did. (My authority and confidence surprised even myself.)
“Look me in the eye.” Sheepishly, his gaze locked with mine.
“You are not a bad man. You just are not being controlled by the Holy Spirit right now, but the flesh. And you will not touch me.”
At that, he immediately stood up. Our bus was at a red traffic light. He descended the upper deck steps and exited the bus in a matter of moments. And he ran, I mean sprinted, through the still traffic and into the distance.
Fast forward a few days, and I had the mental and physical space to process this incident.
The following is an excerpt from my journal December 8, 2016:
That incident in Dubai on the sightseeing bus really has me in a deeper awareness of the Father’s goodness.
Firstly, I was protected. And I operated in authority. And freedom from fear.
In that moment, I tried to discern if I had been operating in lacking wisdom or limited discernment. I don’t feel that was the case.
In that moment, I so clearly received a deeper clarity of the power (and the detriment) of being led by the flesh instead of by the Spirit; by Holy Spirit.
In that moment, I truly grasped how I won’t ever be shaken from a deep knowing and believing of the Father’s heart for me.
In that moment, I played through, “What’s truly the worst that could ever happen?” and I became reacquainted, deeply, with the truth that nothing can shake me from the love of God or my rich awareness of being His beloved.
In that moment, I re-staked my life to the mission of people always being worth it. Completely worth it.
In that moment, I became so thankful to be in a relationship with a God, a Father, who doesn’t use force or demand affection. He extends His reach and waits, patiently, to be received.
Thanks for your patience, Abba.
Thanks for free will.
And the fact that You trust us so completely with the choice to submit our will to Yours in order that Your kingdom may reign here.
In that moment.
And in this moment.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Readers, if any of you have ever had a similar experience, I’m sorry. Deeply sorry. I’ve heard a wise individual say, “just because something bad happened to you, remember that you’re not something bad.”
Revisit that moment. It will sting. You might be tempted to feel shame. But ask the Lord for His eyes. For yourself. For the person who victimized you. Address the pain. If you don’t address it fully, you give it more power than it deserves. In that moment, God did not leave you. And He did not (and will not) stop being good.