Where Was the God of Little Children
When I was Being Abused?
It was hard to answer this question, and something I pondered on for a long time. I am not a theologian, I don't possess any special insight. This was from my heart, some wisdom (I hope), some comfort for my son in his distress. It is the best answer I have, although not perfect. It helped him, I hope it helps you, too.
When you asked why God let this happen to you, my answer was that God did not let this happen, that what happened was the result of original sin. You said "What kind of a God would punish me for something that happened at the beginning of time?" It was not punishment, this terrible thing that happened to you. God is not punishing you for something mankind did at the creation of the world. When we were cast out of Eden, God's punishment was that we would bear children in pain, and that we would have to work hard for the necessities of life. He did not plan a list of terrible things to do to individuals as retribution for disobeying His orders. He is not making these things happen to us. They happen because mankind makes choices.
God gave the right to choose. He created us that way. But, what a man choses for himself is not always the best thing for himself, and is not always beneficial to others. When Adam and Eve made a choice, it lost Eden for us. God is not a God of partial measures. We have unlimited freedom to choose, not a freedom which only allows us to do good things. Your abuser had a choice, to abuse you, or not to abuse you. He chose the abuse, and it was harmful to you, the harm was not of God's making but of man's.
If you asked now "Where was the God of little children when I was being abused?" I would have an answer. I don't know that my answer is theologically correct, nor do I have any special sight that allows me to know what God is doing at any given time, but in my heart, I feel that God was surely there with you.
He was right there. Crying. His pain for you was as strong as the pain He felt on the Cross when He took upon Himself all the sorrows and evil of the world. He was right there with you, being abused as you were. Our God is one of great emotion. His anger is known throughout the Old Testament. His pride in His Beloved Son is written about in the New Testament. Jesus was a Jesus of feeling and passion. We know about His fury with the money lenders in the temple, we know about His gentleness with the children, His compassion for those who were ill and in pain. We have read about the strength of His emotion in the Garden of Gethsemane when He pleaded with God to let the cup pass from Him. This is no passionless, unfeeling God we are dealing with. Do you really think He was sitting on the throne in Heaven watching your misery as though it were an unimportant event in the great scheme of things. Above all, we know that our God loved us so much and wanted to give us something to prove His love. He sent His own Son to suffer far worse than we will ever suffer. I cannot imagine a greater sacrifice He could have made. Because His sacrifice was so great, I believe His sorrow in your abuse was great.
Each time any of us makes a choice for sin, God weeps. It is as though He did everything He could, and yet His children are still wayward and do not do the things that are best for them. I know how He feels. No matter how hard I tried, how much I tried to guide you, no matter how much I gave up for you, you did not always do the things that would have been best for you. None of my children have followed my guidance completely. You see, you each have choices to make and you do not always make the best ones. When you make a choice that is bad for you and for someone else, I cry for you and for the person who suffers the consequences of your action. It is surely this way with God. When you were being abused, God was broken-hearted for the sinner and for the innocent child who was the victim of that sin. God gave us the choice, and He will not take away that choice. Once He has given something, He is faithful to that gift. No matter how great the sorrow, He will not take away that which He has given us. No matter how much His heart breaks, He will not go back on His word to us. He is faithful, even in His heartache.
God has chosen us to be His special people. We are already His, the only choice we have is to reject Him. He has the gift of salvation, already wrapped with our name on it. He has a place prepared for us in Heaven, somewhere just right for us, more splendid that anything we deserve, a thousand thousand times more wonderful than anything we could imagine. He has His open arms ready and waiting. He sets us on the road to Heaven the moment we are born.
God is telling you, through every Word in His Book that if you will rest in His arms, He will make it all better for you. He cannot take away the evil that causes the suffering, that is part of the nature of mankind. But He can take away the intensitiy of the suffering. He knows that life has not been kind to you. He knows that you have suffered a betrayal far worse than any a child should have to suffer. He knows that! But God offers you more than a pat of comfort, He has a forever waiting for you that knows no misery. He has a forever waiting for you that does not permit betrayal, heartache and abuse. He has acknowledged the terrible things that have happened to you and is offering you an eternity in Heaven that will protect you from all this harm and where you will never have to suffer again. While you are still of this earth, He offers rest in His arms and a place of comfort.
Do you feel that God will reject you? He won't, you know. There is nothing you can do on this earth that will make Him stop loving you.
Do you feel that because someone important and special in your life here on earth abused and betrayed you and did not keep his promises that your Father in Heaven will do the same thing? He won't. You learned to expect certain behaviors from your abuser over a period of time. He lied once, you trusted him less the second time. He lied twice, you trusted him even less. Soon the pattern was such that you knew to expect lies. The same with the abuse. Once abused, you came to expect abuse. Look at our Heavenly Father's promises to mankind. He has kept every one. He has never broken a promise to us yet. He won't break His promise of Eternal Life to you, nor will He stop loving you
And just because you are angry with God, doesn’t mean that He will turn his back on you. He knows you are angry and understands it. It’s okay. You asked if you were angry with God does that mean you won’t go to Heaven. Of course it doesn’t! You’ve had a place in Heaven from the day you were born. No matter what you have done in your life (and let me be clear, this abuse was not of your making and we aren’t talking about the abuse when we discuss any sins you have committed in your life!)
What do we have to do to get to Heaven? We need only believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. We have to accept the gift of salvation He has given to us. That is it. There are no other strings attached.
Some of us never pick up this gift that God has given us and we never know the wonder of His love. We never understand what God has planned for us. He chose us as His own, He gave the gift of eternal life, but we never know how wonderful the present beneath the wrapping paper.
Some of us open the present, look at it and toss it to one side, preferring other gifts that seem more 'fun' at the time. Much as a child might toss aside a wonderful book whose story will last forever in favor of a plastic car that will not last out the day, but is brighter and more colorful.
Some of us open the gift and set it on a shelf, thinking, that is a wonderful present. I had better put it here, because it is so fine. I don't deserve to have it or use it. I will just put it on a shelf and look at it, then I will dream that I deserve it. I will think about it and one day, when I deserve it, then I will get it down.
But our God's gift is not a gift for Christmas and Easter only. It is not a gift to be viewed from a distance, or placed on a shelf. The gift of salvation that God has given us is a living, breathing gift, that ,once tasted, leaves us thirsting for more.
If we accept this lovingly-given present and open it and taste of it, it changes our lives. All of a sudden we are looking at a world through the new eyes that God has given us. It is a passion that we can never put away again. If we put aside that gift, once we have used it, everything else will be colorless beside it. Everything else will be empty and in vain. Next to the gift of salvation, everything is pale and meaningless. The frustration and dissatisfaction that we feel in life is often because we crave the taste of the wine of heaven and we seek it here on earth
We cannot ever be sinless, but if we live within the circle of His arms, God can protect us from the desire to sin. And when we fail Him? He will never reject us. He will never walk away in disgust, or give up on us. He will never say hurtful and rejecting things to us. He never expected us to be perfect, but looks at us through the eyes of grace. Just as a mother sees only the beauty in her child, God sees only the beauty in us. Those things that we do wrong, He forgives and does not hold them against us. We all have a responsibility to try to be free of sin in our lives, just as a children have the responsibility to do everything their parents tell them to do. There are no perfect children and there are no perfect people. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love them anymore. I have loved you no matter what you have done. I will not stop loving you. Nor will God cease His loving you, no matter what. That does not make your sins permissible. That only makes them forgiven. That doesn't mean that, when you do something wrong, it is okay to just say "Mom will love me anyway" and continue to hurt her. In turn, that does not mean that you can continue to do things against God's Word without hurting Him. He will always love you. But, you cannot continue to hurt someone without damaging your relationship with that person. Even if that person forgives you over and over; you will either feel guilty that you are continuing to hurt them and your guilt will be the focus of what you do and think, or you will feel contempt for them because you think they are stupid for continuing for forgive someone who continues with their lack of respect for rules.
What I am trying to say through all this is just this:
God is not the author of your sorrow.
God has promised better things for you.
The sins we each deal with in our hearts are not an issue of salvation if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. If we listed to His Word, we will know in our hearts what is sinful and what is not. The Bible lays it out quite clearly. You must deal with the sins in your life as I must deal with the sins in mine. There are sins that are an ongoing struggle, day in and day out. These may never go away, and God will forgive me for those. The wrong in your life is between you and God and can be forgiven.