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Through the Darkest Valley – Psalm 23:4

Pain and heartache arrive in most of our lives at some point. May God be our hope for the future in the face of trauma and broken relationships.

How much longer?

My sister is crying again. She hardly makes a sound. There’s just the silent shaking of bony shoulders, and tears rolling down a pale face. Her daughter, Meiling, sits at the table. It looks like she’s focused on her school work, but her eyes stare through the page. Any moment, her tears will start to fall too.

I look at my sister and her tears, hoping against hope for a fresh idea, some way to help her. At least our mother isn’t home right now, giving the usual answer of, “不要想太多,just don’t think about it so much.” Or even, “You must have given him some cause to be so angry.” As if daily struggles and drunkenness weren’t cause enough for a man to beat his wife.

I know mom’s generation have had a lot of experience with suffering. And I know that she believes in our tradition: a father has authority in his home. But is ignoring what happened really going to give my sister her life back? Even if it could, my sister can’t just forget about it. She barely eats or sleeps. When her daughter cries out, “我不要这个爸爸: I don’t want him to be my dad,” my sister has no answer.

My thoughts silently slide back my sister’s description of that night. His foot against her eyebrow. The plumbing pipe against her legs, her back, her head. A man, drunk, and completely out of control. Her son and daughter weeping, screaming in the corner of the room, utterly helpless.

Then the desperate running the next day, bringing Meiling with her to our parents’ home. Her son left behind because he was with his grandparents that day. No way to tell him, no way to explain. All she could manage was escape.

I shake my head, dragging my attention away from that scene and back to the problem of the present: a mother and daughter haunted by memories and pain. I don’t know how much longer we can go on like this.

Will you pray with us for China’s families?

Domestic violence occurs all around the world, in all different communities. Lift up to God’s throne the women who face abuse and trauma in their homes. Pray for them to turn to the Good Shepherd for comfort. Pray for good friends who can give wise counsel, and help them to find a way to move forward.

Islamic traditions state that Muslims should not drink. However, alcoholism is a problem in some Muslim communities, especially among men. Many of these men want to change, but have never experienced a different way to face life’s troubles. Pray that they will get to hear what Jesus teaches about how to handle difficulties.

Parenting on China’s Silk Road usually focuses on children’s academic achievement rather than their relational or emotional needs. Pray for counsellors in Silk Road areas who are working with young people. Ask God to help them bring comfort and hope to these young people, and good advice to their parents.

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