The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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A Love Story That Only God Could Write

          This is an amazing true story of tragedy and triumph.  The story begins with a young Catholic boy named Victor who grew up in the Polish ghetto of Chicago in the early 50’s. Victor was attacked by his babysitter when he was 4 or 5 years old, and was stabbed 27 times.  Miraculously, he survived. When little Victor got out of the hospital, he asked his priest, “if God is all-powerful, and all-knowing, why did He let this happen to me?” His priest didn’t have an answer for him, and mumbled a vague response: “I don’t know, son. You’ll just have to take it on faith.”   Victor later entered seminary as a young man, feeling he owed a debt to God for allowing him to survive the brutal assault, but was told that did not equate with a call to ministry.  Victor’s puzzled mind couldn’t take it in. He entered the military during the Vietnam War and quickly became one of an elite squad, not yet known as the Navy SEALS.  In the bloody fields of the jungle, Victor had finally found a channel in which to funnel all his rage and unanswered questions, and relished in killing his enemies.

            At the same time, on the other side of the globe, a young California girl named Christy went with her elementary school classmate to see Billy Graham, and her life was forever changed that night.  Although Christy’s family didn’t go to church, and didn’t share her newfound faith, a fire was kindled within her young heart that day that was never quenched.  She later became a missionary, fell in love, and got married.  But Christy’s fairy-tale life was a mirage. She did not know it when she had said her vows, but the man she had married was abusive.  Believing that Christians should not get divorced “no matter what,” Christy resigned herself to a life she knew was far less than God’s best.  One night, during a vicious beating, she knew her life was ending and she breathed what she thought would be her final prayer: “God, I said ‘till death do us part.’ I don’t understand it, but if this is Your will for me, so be it.”  Her husband continued to kick her repeatedly after she lost consciousness, and left her broken and bloodied body for dead.

         But the story does not end there: although Christy laid down her life, God raised her up. Surprised when she awoke, she was even more surprised at God’s instruction to leave her husband, saying: “You can’t do anything for Me if he kills you.”  God led Christy to a battered women’s shelter, and also led her through the steps to rebuild her shattered life, which included changing her name, her identity, her career, having reconstructive surgery on her face, and relocating several hundreds of miles away.

            Years later, Christy (now known as Christine ) was introduced to Victor through his friend YoHan, whom she had met at the gym.  Christine had long since before told the Lord that she would remain single unless God chose a spouse for her, since she had chosen so poorly last time.  God made it clear to her that Victor was the one He had chosen for her, even though Victor was an agnostic.  Once again, God surprised her with His instruction: “He’s not a believer yet, but he will be.” Knowing that she could trust the word of the Lord, Christine obeyed and they were married.

            About nine months later, Victor told Christine about the attack he’d endured as a child, and how he had turned away from God as a result. He asked her the same question he’d posed to the priest. The words God gave her to speak to Victor answered the very same issue she herself had struggled with, too: “It’s the wrong question. It’s not ‘why did God let this happen to me,’ but ‘why did God work so hard to make sure you survived’?”  Thus, the accusation became a search for purpose in an otherwise meaningless existence.

           Victor would never have believed it was possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (a foreign concept to a Catholic), but he witnessed it in his wife on a daily basis because of their marriage.  Victor’s journey led him first to the waters of baptism, then to Bible school; he plans to become a chaplain for wounded veterans when he retires. Christine founded The Lazarus Project, a ministry for abuse survivors, and runs a support group called “From Victim To Victor.” In God’s sovereign, unfathomable way, He used one homicide survivor to minister to another; and, in doing so, showed that God’s love turns death into life, hatred into hope, and deep woundedness into profound healing.

Posted on 02/14
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