I have been involved in a few discussions on sexual abuse. I shared my healing journey there and what I am doing now to help women with sexual abuse in their past. A few have told me faith is not the answer. My journey has led me to say that Jesus is the reason I am whole and functioning. He is the reason I now see God’s role in my salvation and life after with a new set of “heart eyes”.
And yet I realize this faith thing is a minefield for many because sometimes the source of their abuse was connected with a priest, pastor, deacon, Sunday School teacher, youth worker, etc. Or they saw God as impotent to protect or stop the abuse and so He cannot care or even be real. I do not have experience with the first in relation to my abuse, but I totally get why it would cause a crisis or breaking of anyone’s faith. They were people who claimed to know God and to have a relationship with Jesus, but who were either fooling others with that profession and using it to hurt others, or they were fooling themselves that they were walking with the Lord and temptation won the day. Either way, I want you to know how terribly sorrowful it makes me for you. You see your wounds as directly related to what I am saying was my healing and restoration.
The second one I have written on in my “50 Year Discoveries” series: Ship-wrecked Faith.
As I grew up I loved to learn God’s Word, pray and share Jesus with others. Then I was sexually abused at 14 years old. I shared this last week in the emotional discovery, but it affected much more than just my emotions. It blew up my faith. If God was all-knowing, all-powerful, my protector, how could this have happened? Why would he let this happen to me? Can he really be trusted with my life…my eternity? A crisis of faith. I knew Jesus was the only way me, a sinner, could be saved. Yet He had allowed this awful thing to happen. I believed in Him for my eternity, but I took over the role of protector of me and those I loved from that day forward, holding a bitterness against God, yet knowing I needed Him. That is a really broken faith.
The lies of Satan use the broken behavior of other sinners against us to question the LORD’s sovereign control in the universe, His ability to protect us, as well as His existence at all. Brokenness makes us believe God is distant or non-existent. Our wounds are so massive and all the promises in the Word of His power and protection, a refuge to run in to ad we are saved, fall flat in the explosive damage of sexual abuse. It must be grappled with. Why? Because it affects our eternity. You don’t want to brush this question to the side and believe by blind faith. Neither do you want to reject Him outright without looking for the truth.
Blind faith leaves you with questions about God’s character and ability to be your God and Savior, that will always undermine living for Him and any growth He wishes to work in your heart and life. It is a surfacey denial of your hurt in light of who He is. It is a mask without power to live in freedom and healing. Outright rejection leaves you without a Savior when you are in desperate need of one – eternity is longer than this short span of life as a human on planet earth. This latter state leaves you hard and unable to love others without first protecting self in every situation. Both are ugly places to live. I know. I tried to live in the “no-man’s-land” in the middle from a teenager until I was 40. I do not want that for you.
So this week and for some weeks to come, I want to explore the journey from brokenness caused by others and God’s role in the journey to healing and wholeness. Just as an introduction, I want to say that all you have to do is walk out your font door and watch the sunrise or sunset, smell the freshness of life after a rain, take a hike through nature, watch the four season faithfully march one after the other year after year and decade after decade, to know there is One who brings order to the world in which we live. Look at your hand as you write or your feet as you walk, the intricacies of every system within your entire body, that without even one, the others start falling apart. The fact that when we trip or fart or burp we look around to see if anyone saw that: self-awareness that the animals do not have. The ability to run experiments and expect the same results in this century as they were in the last: predictable constancy, not disordered chaos. God is a marvelous creator. He is a God of details, with imagination and smarts and wisdom so far beyond us. And yet, so intricate in every detail: my height, the color of my hair, the peculiarities of what I love to eat, the sounds I can hear, or the sights I can see. Nuances of taste, hearing, sight, feeling, emotion. This world is not an accident. It was planned. We were planned. An answer to sin in all its forms was planned when mankind chose to deny God’s care in the Garden and choose their own way.
The consequences of that decision, choice, and action are why we can doubt His goodness or existence. But He IS real. He made the world and us. We need Him. I need Him…
Next Week: Exploration of what He allows to happen in the world He made.