Why would God allow a child to be sexually abused?

I have been mentoring/witnessing to a young lady for about 5 years now. She has so many scars and major traumas in her life that often it’s hard to disentangle what’s what in her mind. She was sexually abused by a great uncle when she was around 7 years old, however, and that definitely is the root cause for a lot of what’s happened since. She regularly comes back to the point that she believes in God but can’t trust him if he’d let her go through that when she was so helpless.

I am familiar with the premise of God needing to give everyone free will in order for there to actually be any love/choice in our relationships with Him. But to say this in this instance I feel like would only communicate that God cared more about her uncle being free to rape her than he did about all the trauma that freedom would bring into her life.

Is there a different way to try and answer why God would allow that to happen that is more emotionally healing? Or is it basically the fact is that we don’t know why, but we do know that He loves you so you have to work out your faith and trust.

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@Amy_Walker That is so heartbreaking. I am praying that Jesus would comfort this young lady with His presence and by His Spirit begin to heal those deep wounds inside.

It may be helpful to share with her how you process your deepest pain when you do not have an explanation. When I am the most downcast, the path back to joy and faith for me is through worship and the presence of God. Different songs speak to me at different times in my life, but one I like is “Gold” by Leeland. I think she would learn a lot as you open up your heart and process your tears together in God’s presence.

For me, this process is not a one time event where I worship once and suddenly that inner turmoil is gone. It is a continual process of taking the pain and grief of this world to the feet of Jesus. I am not completely healed yet, but one day I will be!

May God’s love surround you both as you walk this journey together.

Gold by Leeland

Thinking Through the Question

When asked “Where was God on 9/11?” a pastor said “On the cross”. At the end of the day, I think that is always the best answer to the where/why questions. We may not know why we suffer, but we know this—we do worship a God who understands our suffering and was willing to suffer for us and wants to comfort us in our suffering.

Below are some additional threads that I hope help you think through this very difficult issue.

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I really believe God is saddened by the immoral actions on the part of His creation.

Genesis 6:6 NLT shows us that
The Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

My heart aches over the one evil act that leads to many other devastating life choices from both victim and assailant. I myself at 10 was sexually abused by a family member. I also made many adverse life choices. Another 9 year old girl i knew was also abused. I have met many healed of those prior circumstances. I must confess I dont know why things happen but I realized that the perpetrator was also a victim of the enemy. He/she was decieved by the enemy to commit those acts.
Our desire to be free of emotional pain is a powerful influence that affects our life choices. The only answer for me was genuine forgiveness of my offender and myself which was a conscience choice, only made possible through Christ. Breaking that soul tie through forgiveness released me to love not hate and freed me of the emotional pain which drove me. I am praying for complete freedom and healing in her life and wisdom beyond your years to help her.
Mike

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I was once part of a mission trip in Romania and a young woman asked a very similar question. I started my answer by explaining how pernicious a thing sexual trauma is. My Pastor’s mother started a very successful ministry (I mean successful in that many people came through and found healing) called ReClaim Global to help victims of sexual abuse. It affects nearly every area of a persons life in many ways that not even the person who experienced it understands. It is like this background noise in a person’s life that they need help to work through. So, I would encourage you to encourage this person to have the strength to seek professional help. They will be glad they did.

The next part of my answer laid out the argument from free will. As you mentioned you are familiar with that argument. I rushed through it because this question is not one of the head it is one of the heart. Especially when it is being asked by someone who has experienced it or there is someone close to the person asking who has experienced it. So I told the questioner, that answer deals with the head, now let’s deal with the heart.

Most people who experience trauma in their life want to know if God cares. If God could not stop it because it would undermine free will, does it affect him? I brought up Jesus when he goes to see Lazarus who had died. When he gets there, Lazarus’ sisters are weeping and angry. They asked the same question many ask, “Jesus! Where were you! If you had only been here this would not have happened!” Jesus doesn’t get angry. He doesn’t question their faith. He doesn’t give them a theology lesson (not directly). He weeps.

Their pain touched him. He shared in their pain. He was there, he was “God with them.” What is so fascinating is that Christ knew he was going to raise Lazarus. He knew he was going to set things right. Yet, he still condescended (a positive word) to meet their emotional needs of having someone their to weep with them in their time of grieving. He cares and is touched by our pain.

In the end, God will set everything right. There is no tear that is shed which will not be wiped away. God will ultimately heal those who are broken and resurrect that which is dead. But, in the mean time he is touched by our heartache, he has borne our sickness and disease, he bears our stripes with which others have marked us. He carries it with us in that he carries us. And he looks forward to the day he will fix that which is broken.

God loves your friend.

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I am well acquainted with this issue as I have gone through it personally as a child. Maybe my perspective will help. I really and truly believe that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes. In my own life, it is the trauma that I have endured that makes me more compassionate toward others. It has encouraged me to open my home to children in need and provide them a safe space. It has taught me the virtue of forgiveness.
I am not trying to make myself out to be a hero. I am simply explaining that I think that the hard things I have gone through brought me to a point where my love for others is not based on their actions but on Gods love for me and the comfort he has given me by showing the truth of Jesus and His commitment to my salvation even though it meant death for himself.
I also think of Joseph. His own brothers sold him into slavery. The man he was trying to honor threw into prison but even so God was with him. Joseph knew it. Many years later he was able to glorify God for allowing him to be sold into slavery because it brought salvation to his family from the famine that they would have died from.
Maybe you can ask her if she can see any redemption as of yet and if she cannot, encourage her to look for it. We don’t always get to see why and how’s of Gods providence. We can’t always understand but His love is true. Jesus wouldn’t have died for us if he didn’t love us so very much!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to thoughtfully respond and for all the other discussions you drew to my attention. My friend loves music and so I will definitely suggest she listen to this song.

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@Amy_Walker Glad it was helpful and praying the love of Christ works through you powerfully in this young lady’s life :slight_smile:

@Cynthia_Parrish Thank you so much. What you have described of your life is the hope I have for her and I have tried to cast a bit of that vision for her. Saying things along the lines of that God promises He doesn’t allow anything for no purpose in our life. Thank you so much for sharing in detail.

If you don’t mind me asking, in the moments when you were first beginning to come to grips with y’all of this, was there a time of blaming God? And if so was there one thing in particular that kind of helped you move past that?

Thank you very much @Joshua_Hansen. That last part about Jesus really experiencing and entering into our pain is something that has been dawning on me more this advent season. Thank you very much for bringing it to mind again.

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I guess a little bit but not to the point where I was like… “God you did this to me.” I had enough exposure to Gods word to truly believe that the devil is real and the destroyer, so if any super natural being gets the blame its going to be him. God maybe didn’t stop it but He also definitely didn’t cause it. I allow things in my own children’s lives that are uncomfortable because they need to learn. I watched them make poor choices in friends, school, and with money in order for them to grow safely with me to catch them and bring them back up when they fall. Sometimes people hurt them that I knew would hurt them but I didn’t allow it in order to Cause them pain, I allowed it in order to give them a chance to grow. I know its not the same but with my limited knowledge I cannot claim that an omniscient God doesn’t know best.

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All so true. Thank you.