Pulling into a truck stop for a much needed bathroom break on our way to visit our daughter and son-in-law, I noticed a semi trailer parked by the side of the road with a large cross and something written about Jesus on its side. I was reminded of an article from World Magazine about truck stop evangelism and happily said to my husband there would probably be a Sunday church service in that trailer. With this realization lifting my spirits, we parked and visited our respective places of “rest”. (Ahem….I will try to say this delicately.) As I was “resting”, I heard groaning and muttering issuing forth from the furthest stall down the line. First wondering if someone was very sick, I came to the conclusion there was a deeper issue being expressed. Frantically praying, my mind raced…should I say anything, do anything or reach out to her in any way? Then I remembered….mentioned in the same magazine article were truck stop prostitutes called lizards: women who scuttle from truck to truck selling their services. Could she be one?
She was at the sink when I emerged from my ”resting” place, and I tried discreetly (hopefully) to observe her. A young women, probably in her early 20’s, obviously in some sort of emotional distress with an underlying, frightening almost animalistic quality running through her expression of pain. She continued her low indistinct utterances and soft moaning oblivious to my presence and then went out the door. Right or wrong I did not speak to her. Disturbed by her distress and not having conveyed my concern, I continued to pray as we paid for our snacks and went to our van. As we drove away, I saw her walk toward a cluster of trucks parked behind a building somewhat separate from the station. Leaning forward with head down, her steps determined as though approaching an unpleasant task, she adjusted her bra strap under clothing that draped unkemptly on her frame. Certain she was selling herself, I desperately pleaded with my God to deliver her…perhaps He would touch her through those ministering at the stop in Jesus name.
Approximately a week after arriving home as I began to move through a new day, my shoulders and back felt like they were being compressed by a heavy weight. Moaning a bit and muttering to myself, I stopped in my tracks. I sounded like a less agonized version of the woman at the truck stop. Quieting my spirit and listening for the still, small voice of my Counselor, the knowledge came that I was sharing the heavy yoke of sexual abuse with all those who have been violated and with all those who have perpetrated that despicable crime. I also realized as we carried our burdens together, we were made sensitive to each other in a way that enabled me to discern the reason for my chance encounter’s suffering. (Later, mental pictures of me showed my stride at times had been similar and my clothes had at times been as carelessly worn.) Knowing this yoke needed to be lifted and broken, I prayed to my God to do so. He raised it off my shoulders, and I broke it through the power of the name and shed blood of Jesus whose death and resurrection has destroyed the curse of sin’s dominion over those who believe. Immediately the oppression lifted and the tightness in my back eased. In awe of this revelation of the truth of His word, my spirit bowed amazed before my great and mighty God.
As the deft hands of my physical therapist probed tight muscles, I told him of my experience, wondering if he would find the knots in my back loosened. Although pockets of tension still existed, he did notice a significant change elsewhere…a place in my neck, he had once described as an old wound always similar to an immovable rock, had begun to become flexible and pliable. Like muscle instead of stone, for the first time he could press it and feel the vertebrate. An old wound…certainly old, since I had been forced into the yoke of sexual abuse at age two. Certainly a wound…inflicted like an axe chopping at the jugular, my dad’s shattering acts had drained my life force. With this yoke removed, hardness had become pliable; release and freedom were being accomplished. Rejoicing, I knew my God would carry on to completion the good work He had begun (Philippians 1:6), and I looked forward to experiencing further fruit from His labor.