How to explain to an abused child that God did not allow the abuse

How do I explain to a 10 year old boy that the sexual abuse he suffered was not a case of God not loving him enough to protect him? My heart is breaking for this child who believes in God, but can’t reconcile an all powerful, loving God with the question of why God let it happen to him?
Thank you

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Samantha-Lee, my heart breaks :sob:! These types of things make me so angry and sad at the same time that I cannot imagine how the poor child must feel. Are you able to provide more detail as to the child’s personality or other things that may help to formulate a helpful answer?

I do not believe that God’s love can be explained on an intellectual level in this case. Knowing and believing are different. He probably already knows the truth. He is at the fork in the road where he decides whether to believe or disbelieve. I think that probably being Jesus for him is the best answer, because you can provide the concreteness that he needs for belief at this moment. Would he be open to reading some Psalms with you? The crucifixion of Jesus may also be a good thing to consider.

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Hi @sami-lee, this is such a heavy question for a young one to be asking. Thank God your young friend is asking! Many victims never probe these questions deeply until later in life.

I very much agree with @blbossard, that one of the most important things at this time is to live out the love of Jesus to this young one. A good Christian counselor will also be of great help! A compassionate, listening ear and a safe place to process his pain will be a gift.

One line of thought that I have come across in my reading is that victims of childhood sexual abuse may believe several things about God (and of course this is very generalized). They may believe (1) He exists but was either uncaring about them in particular, or impotent to stop the abuse, or (2) that He doesn’t exist. The first group will often struggle with feeling close to God or trusting Him. They may see Him as a distant, cruel, or capricious God, or else a sentimental powerless being. The second group may acknowledge the abuse, but in trying to make sense of what occurred, conclude that the world is a harsh place in which to live, and that God cannot possibly exist or He would never have allowed such things. Your young friend’s question illustrates how deeply and universally runs the question of suffering.

One good thing to acknowledge about your young friend is that he is believing that God exists. I think allowing this young one to express his thoughts and feelings about God is a really good place to start. The skills you learned in the Core Module regarding listening to another will be an asset to you. Don’t feel that you have to provide a quick and easy “answer” for him. I don’t think there is a quick and easy answer. He will have to grapple with this for some time to come, as will you. A companion for the journey is God’s gracious gift! Abba is faithful, and He loves this young man. Prayer, as always, is crucial. Your prayers and support are again God’s gifts to him!

Your young friend will need reassurance that he is loved, and having someone with “skin on” who genuinely loves him will go a long way in helping him come to believe that God loves him too. It might prove helpful for him as he grows in his faith, to spend time with you examining people in the Bible that went through very difficult times, and yet were clearly and dearly loved by God and for whom God had a purpose. I think of Joseph in particular. Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the lives of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel as well.

One thing to keep in mind is that this young person is not fully mature yet, so his understanding of a very difficult experience will not be mature either. This is one place where quality Christian counseling should prove helpful. As he grows, so will his understanding. He will most likely never fully know, this side of eternity, why God allowed this event to occur. And yet there is help and healing and hope.

A book that has been of value to me is a book called “The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse” by Dan Allender. As the title indicates it is written for adults who have survived childhood sexual abuse. It is not a book for your young one, but it may prove helpful for you in understanding the journey that lies ahead of him. Most assuredly I would say, do not embark on this journey alone and without qualified and quality help. I am praying for you and your young friend!

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@sami-lee There’s a Christian brother by the name of Victor Marx (All Things Possible ministries) who went through all kinds of abuse including sexual abuse as a child. Check his story out. I think his life story could be helpful, and may God bless you as you minister to this precious child who is so loved by the Lord. What a sick world we live in :disappointed_relieved:. Please explain to this child that God has a purpose much bigger than he can imagine, and He won’t let evil win, and one day He will show him what it all meant.

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Thank you for your reply.
I’m doing my best to show love for this little one. It’s difficult to assess how deep his hurt goes, but a good sign is that he believes God exists. I have continued to reinforce that God is loving and kind; not a punitive punisher, neither is He absent when we struggle. My fear is of the questions that will continue to arise as he reaches puberty and the teenage years.

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My dear sister, I love your heart for this young one! He will face difficult questions in the years ahead. And I know it is overwhelming to you as well as you approach those years. But what I know from experience, is that Jesus is greater than anything this young man has experienced! God is willing to draw near, and He is willing to travel this road with you and this young man you care for. Our God is mighty to break the power of sin and of death!

Your road will be unique. God will give you (and your young one) the grace sufficient for each day. I know that may sound cliche` at the moment, but it is so true. Press in to the Lord, find reliable help, and pray, pray, pray! The beauty on the other side is worth the struggle. How I wish I had easy and concise answers for you. Each story is different, each individual is unique. In the midst of that, God will meet your young one in a way that is intimately crafted for his heart and experiences.

Isaiah 61:1 says,
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all whom morn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland intstead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

In Luke 4:14-21, Jesus enters the synagogue following His time of testing in the desert, and after reading from the above passage in Isaiah, He makes this bold assertion about Himself, (v.21) “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus, Himself, is the answer for your young friend, and for your own heart.

It is beyond the scope of Connect to provide specific counsel in these matters, and that is good because most of us here are not professionally trained in this area. (And I know this is not what you are asking for.) But Connect is certainly here to prayerfully walk alongside you as you make this journey. Take one step and one day at a time. The Word of God is living and active. Saturate yourself in it. God will speak to you in unbelievable ways as you do. Help your young friend to develop this life pattern as well. Read, question, grapple, and come to trust, that our Father has you in His sight, and in the palm of His hand. One of the greatest gifts you can give this young man is to model for him what it looks like to seek Jesus in the midst of unanwered questions and suffering. Don’t underestimate the example of faith lived out in your life. You are on a blessed, though painful, journey. God has beauty in store for both of you!

Praying for you both! You are my heart!

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Amy Orr-Ewing has a new book out called, “Where is God in All the Suffering”. I have not read it yet, but it is at the top of my “to read” list. I trust it would be a blessing and a comfort to you, dear one! :pray:

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My husband and I are trying to adopt from foster care, and I have thought about what I would say to my own child someday. This is what I have come up with:

It was not God’s will for you to be abused/neglected. God wanted you to be loved and protected. But we live in world where people do as they please without any mind as to what God wanted, and sometimes, they do truly and utterly horrible things. Even nature is corrupt, and does horrible things to creation. People get cancer. Why? Because we humans thought we knew better than God; we let all this happen. God has given us all free will to choose him or choose disobedience, and so often we choose disobedience to him to the ruin of ourselves and those around us. But Chist has entered into our chaos and taken it upon himself. He knows what it is to suffer and to be abused. He took on death itself, and has risen victorious. And we now have the promise that not only will Christ walk with us and support us through this life, but that he has the power to heal every wound and every trauma, and the day will come when our brokenness will be fully healed.

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