“Where was God when I was abused?” This question is extremely important for Christians that have survived abuse. In fact, it is a life defining question. As you know, I am on a journey to learn how to walk alongside people that have been abused in their quest to find healing. I am blessed to have a friend that has been guiding my journey, and one of the book she lent me is called, “Good News About Injustice,” by Gary A. Haugen. I am only 40 pages in, but the spiritual perspective he shares is invaluable.
God Was There
One thing Haugen points out is that when Jesus ascended into heaven, He left two things behind: the Holy Spirit, and believers. He then goes onto explain that God expects us, you and I, believers of Jesus Christ, to seek justice, rebuke oppressors, and defend those that cannot defend themselves. If survivors and victims of abuse don’t qualify for this protection, I don’t know who does. He also writes that God feels very strongly and speaks specifically about abuse and injustice. Here are the scriptures that Haugen uses to prove this point:
“When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.’” -Isaiah 1:15-17
“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.” -Psalms 72:12-14
“He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; Seek out his wickedness until You find none.” -Psalms 10:8-15
“The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. … “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. … “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” -Ezekiel 22:25, 27, &30
“So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” -Isaiah 59:15-16
Failure in the Christian Body
God has appointed Christians to seek out wickedness, intercede, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow, to stand in the gap! The church is guilty, guilty, guilty of victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence, but that is not God’s desire. Where was God when you were abused? He was weeping and asking where all the Christians were who should have stood in the gap for you. Do you see where it says in Psalm 10:15 that we should seek out the wickedness until we find none? That means that Christians must look for those that have been victimized, traumatized, and made helpless. I strongly believe that if we would be more vigilant to obey God’s Word, there would be a greater awareness about abuse. We would also be wise to remember that God’s plan for survivors of abuse is that “He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight,” as we see in Psalm 72:14. The victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence is sin and must stop.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
God never commanded us to avoid dealing with the effects of sin if they make us uncomfortable. Instead we are instructed, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” in Galatians 6:1-2. That means I am commanded to consider the sin you committed, or was committed against you, remembering how I feel when I am tempted to sin, or when I am sinned against. Then I am to respond to help you be restored spiritually, in a spirit of gentleness. If that isn’t clear enough, Paul clarifies with this specific command to “bear one another’s burdens,” so that I can fulfill the law of Christ. It’s a law of Jesus that I bear your burdens, and that you bear mine. That doesn’t mean I can dump all of my problems on you. I must always pray and be lead by the Spirit, acting in gentleness and with love.
Those that have been abused and silenced need someone to listen to them as God restores their sense of voice. They cannot share in the burdens of others at that moment. That is ok. This falls under the aspect of God’s perfect timing. God knows when we are brokenhearted and the Bible says during those times He is near to us (Psalm 34:18). During those times He will bring someone to help, to be near as He is near you in a supportive role. It is extremely unfortunate that so many Christians refuse to obey the commandment to bear one another’s burdens because it leaves a huge, gaping wound festering in the body of Christ. Will you pray with me that this will change?
Man Fails, God Does Not
We have to make the distinction between man failing to meet us in our most desperate need and God failing to be there. God is there, God was there, and man’s failure to obey should not discount God’s presence. This is a struggle to realize, and takes time, prayer, and proper support for survivors of abuse to accept.
I’m praying for you, and with you. And if you are standing in the gap to represent someone that has been abused, please don’t grow weary in doing good! You are obeying and honoring God in your actions. If you are the one that needs someone to stand in the gap for them, keep going! It is God’s desire for you to be redeemed from all the oppression and violence. You are precious in His sight!