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Posts Tagged ‘where was God?’

River in Valley (c) Lynda Bernhardt

+++++ religious triggers +++++

One question that many abuse survivors wrestle with is where God was when the abuse was happening. Considering that God might have been the only entity aware that the abuse was happening, and assuming that He had the power to stop the abuse, then why didn’t He?

A reader left a comment with these kinds of questions on my post, Christmas After Child Abuse: O Holy Night. Her comment prompted me to write about this topic.

Like most abuse survivors who have held onto some sort of faith, I wrestled with this question for years. I had already been through another challenge in my life without leaning on God (when my father passed away), and I had been through the challenge of infertility while leaning on God, so I knew that having a faith to lean upon made things easier. However, as I faced flashbacks of horrendous abuse, I repeatedly questioned where God was during all of this.

I have learned that the best way to get answers from God is to take my questions directly to Him. I do not need a middle-man like a pastor to give me the answers: I can get my answers directly from God.

One of my answers was that God never promised us a life free from abuse. In fact, Jesus was very clear that life would be difficult:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

It is right there in black and white in the Bible: “In this world you will have trouble.”

Many Christians like to believe that they will be spared pain if they do the right things and lead a “good Christian life,” but that simply is not biblical. Jesus was crucified, and most of his disciples were martyred. So, there must be a purpose to our lives that runs much larger and deeper than being spared from pain.

Also, Jesus’ first job description was as the binder of broken hearts in Luke 4:

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

He was quoting Isaiah 61:1, which says:

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

So, I believe that God’s role is not to prevent tragedy from occurring but to bind up, or heal, broken hearts. In our anger, we child abuse survivors sometimes lash out at God and blame Him for our abuse when He was not the one who abused us. I believe that He sobbed as He saw how our abusers chose to use their free will and grieved ever creating mankind.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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