Jesus said to them, “(T)o sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” Mark 10:39-40

Those of us who work to end sexual trauma may feel we have an intrinsic understanding of both victim/survivor and predator. This theory was proven false quickly when I spoke to two hundred and fifty convicted sex offenders at the Minnesota Prison-Based Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) during Victim Impact Week a few years ago. Having survived a sexual assault at gunpoint myself, I believed I was more than qualified to know all about these offenders. I was told all of the program participants are male, and each had admitted he had done wrong and had pledged to help end sexual violence upon release. Not every participant of the two-year program “graduates” and gets released on their first try. I had spoken to many groups about how I turned to God for healing following the assault, and I thought I was ready to share my miracle story of God saving me from certain death with this group. I could not have been more naïve!

As I heard the heavy metal prison gates close behind me, I quickly learned that I knew very little about this population. I was facing a very diverse group of men: young and old, from many ethnic groups and backgrounds, all dressed in prison garb but mostly just looking like ordinary guys. Correctional psychologists explained that these men were motivated to perpetrate for many reasons, but the understanding of the causes and origins of sexually abusive behavior still remain elusive. My message was the same as always: how life-altering the experience had been of first being sexually violated, and then being revictimized by a broken system of response. But I was humbled by my inaccurate expectations of my audience.

In Mark 10, James and John asked Jesus to let them sit at His right and left hand in heaven, not realizing the magnitude of what they asked (vs. 35-39). As their friend, they believed Jesus would be just fine granting their request. But they didn’t know what they were asking. Jesus made it clear to them, and later to the other disciples who were annoyed at James and John’s hubris, that places of honor before God were set aside “for those for whom they have been prepared” (v. 40).

We as crusaders in the quest to end sexual violence must be clear-eyed and realistic about the complex nature of the work we do. Just as James and John overestimated their ability to know Jesus, we must be open to learning as much about sexual predators as we may know about victim/survivors.

God of Justice, help us broaden our understanding of who sexual predators are so we are able to help victim/survivors in more meaningful ways. Amen


Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go.’” Exodus 5:1

CNN recently reported, “‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is known as the Black National Anthem, but it is more than that. It’s a history lesson, a rallying cry, a pledge of unity, and as people gather to fight for equality and justice, it is an ever-present refrain.” The song was written in 1899 by Black brothers, James and John Johnson of Jacksonville, Florida, who worked in the early pursuit of civil rights. James was the principal of a segregated school, debuting the song sung by 500 children at a Black history event.

Following the Civil War, slaves were legally freed in 1865. But the Blacks’ “freedom” was replaced with oppressive state laws during the “Jim Crow” period of segregation, unlawful arrests, violence, and lynching. The lyrics of the song speak to the entire spectrum of Black suffering, but also of hope and peace. The work is “full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” yet “full of the hope that the present has brought us.” I marvel at how the Black people’s faith in God has survived ever-continuing setbacks in their quest for equality, and how their hopes are not dashed by racism, not just in the United States, but across the globe. I would challenge any White person to take the place of one Black and do as well.

The last stanza goes on to acknowledge that God has “brought (the people) thus far on the way,” and asks that God not let them become “drunk with the wine of the world” and forget Him. The song ends with the words, “True to our God, true to our native land.” Would that each Christian, most of all me, would endeavor not to be swayed by this earthly life and hold dear the faith expressed in this beautiful hymn!

Recently, the National Football League featured Alicia Keys singing “Lift Every Voice” before its season opening games, prompted by police brutality and racial justice protests following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. The performance exposed millions of Americans to a moving and inspiring song for our times.

Abiding Lord, lift up all people of color and end racial injustice in our world! Amen


JacobJacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak….Then he said, “Let me go….” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:24, 26-28


Jacob wrestled with “a man” on the banks of a river on his way back to Canaan. Various interpretations of this story portray the “man” as an angel, a prophetic vision, the Christ, or even God the Father. Jacob prevailed in this wrestling match, which seems unlikely to happen if the “man” were God. But prevail he does, and then this “man” asks Jacob his name. When Jacob tells him, the “man” tells Jacob his name is now to be “Israel” (which literally means “contends with God). Jacob then believes that he has “seen God face to face, and yet (his) life is preserved.”


This story reminds me about all the times, mostly in the middle of the night, when I have “contended with God.” When sleep evades me, my thoughts often turn to the things in my life that do not seem fair or right. I discuss these things with God, often with tears and silent rage. “Why did a twelve-year old girl at our church have to die?” “What can I do to help my four-year old great-granddaughter with her delayed speech when I live so far away?” “How can I stop using swear words when I get angry?” “How can I stop getting angry?” “When will I be able to balance my checkbook and clean out my closets?” Usually, I end up making peace with God for the moment, and then I sing myself to sleep. I almost never feel that I have “prevailed” in my struggles with God, not because He is stronger than I am, but because He is more patient and forgiving than I am. His grace has always allowed me to commune with Him through prayer. I eventually come to a place where I accept that seeking His will is a better choice than my continuing to complain.


Lord, You showed us through Jacob that it’s okay to “wrestle” with You. Thank You for loving us even then. Amen


Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, or from .