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Abuse threatens to destroy the joy of innocence and wonder. But spiritual renewal brings fresh hope.
In a world where, for many, childhood is not a happily cherished memory, I have found this Bible statement to be extremely comforting: "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25). A locust eats nearly all the living plants that make the land beautiful and useful. Isn't that what abuse seems to do to children—to strip beauty and purpose from them? As adults, once-abused children may, at best, feel that they have missed out on their childhood, that they were forced to grow up too soon.
But there is a sense in which childhood is not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence where some are lucky and others are not. Couldn't we think of childhood as any period when spiritual growth occurs and God-bestowed innocence abounds? If so, then the more we become acquainted with God, the more we will find that God restores our innocence and wonder. We do not have to feel cheated or left out. In fact, I have found that, in surprising ways, childhood can be restored to us.
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Rosalie E. Dunbar
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