If someone has been abused, what do you say about why God allowed it? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yesterday I wrote about abuse, but I didn’t say much about why it is allowed. This is always the kind of question you don’t really want to get because in many ways, the person is searching for answers perhaps to try to make sense of their lives. Many of us have gone through a trial of suffering and wondered what was going on.
When my divorce was becoming a reality, I prayed hard every night. I wanted a healing for my marriage. I wanted this nightmare to go away and things to be the way they should. I wanted God to show up in a remarkable way, or really just any way, so that the day could be saved and I would have a happy marriage. Surely God would want to do this! Right?
All I can say is God allowed me to get divorced and well, I don’t like it, but I have also learned He didn’t owe me a marriage and I just need to keep serving regardless and hope that door opens again someday. That being said, I know that’s not the same as abuse still. After all, in abuse, you are actively being hurt and seeking an end to pain. I say it though because I want those of us dealing with this to think about what is the greatest pain in our lives we went through that God DIDN’T answer the way we wanted.
The thing is, an abuser in many ways becomes a controller. One lives constantly with the pain that has come about because of the abuse. This is something that occurred to me as I had to move in to my parents’ house again after my divorce, feeling like a failure in many ways as a 40+ year-old man having to do this again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to them for taking their son in again, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be as much as I love my parents.
Yet I told myself that I have been playing games all my life. Will I not try to approach this the same way? I can either keel over and be a victim, or I can get up and be a victor. The motto “Play to Win” became an anthem in my life.
Ultimately, I also encourage people to do this. Choose to be a victor. I know some people going through divorce can seek revenge. I earnestly battle not to within myself. The only exception is this other saying I try to live by. “The best revenge is a life well-lived.” Holding hostility does no good.
For abuse victims, I wonder if it could be the same. Can you learn to be a victor? Can you be able eventually to forgive internally at least your abuser? Could you want their well-being to take place? I think about someone I have met who has made a ministry from overcoming her abuse to helping others overcome abuse. You can find her here.
Yet the question is still unanswered. Why does God allow it?
Folks. Unless you are 100% absolutely sure that you have a divine message, which I seriously doubt you do, the best answer is really, “We don’t know.” Does that mean atheism is true? Not even close. If anything, atheism just makes the problem worse. As I have argued elsewhere, you gain nothing removing God from the equation. After all, you still have the evil. You have just removed the source of goodness and justice.
We can say generally the reasons God allows evil, but why a particular evil is allowed? That cannot be said without divine revelation. Too often we in an effort I suspect to appear spiritual try to act like we know the will of God. We do more harm than good. Scripture instead tells us to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.
There are good works out there on the problem of evil, but the best answer to one in the pain is not an argument. It is a friendship with them. It is showing them love and being willing to bear their suffering with them. Will there come a time later to discuss the problem of evil? Of course, and it should be done when the person is ready.
Some of you might be disappointed by that answer and were hoping for some major insight you could use in this situation. There isn’t one. Evil ruins so much and we need to realize that. We know Jesus is the answer ultimately, but we don’t have all the answers on an individual level. We shouldn’t claim to.
We do know we should love on an individual level.
Let’s do what we know.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)