“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
How many songs, prayers and scriptures tell us that our God is good? If you grow up in the church, you are taught that God is your father. He loves you and He will protect you.
But what if He doesn’t protect you?
A reader wrote a letter to author and blogger Mary DeMuth addressing this painful question. Explaining that she had experienced childhood abuse, the reader said that she now struggles to trust God and questions God’s goodness, though she is a Christian.
“I want to trust him. I want to surrender to Him in the moments of my life. But I can’t. I am afraid. I cannot make simple answers out for things and I cannot pretend He is with me,” she said.
DeMuth, who is also a survivor of abuse, responded in a blog post that the reader's question resonated with her.
For some people, God’s unwavering goodness seems like an established fact. But when a person has been physically or emotionally hurt, doubts arise if God is truly the good and perfect Father that we believe him to be.
As DeMuth phrased the question, “...why would God the perfect Parent choose NOT to rescue me?”
Unfortunately, the question does not have a concrete answer. However, there are a few facts that those who have been hurt can ponder to find healing.
1. Jesus bore the sins those who hurt us.
We live in a fallen world and we are all sinners. But Jesus took those sins away when he died on the cross. DeMuth writes, “When the questions holler louder than God’s goodness, I try to picture Jesus on that cross, bearing the weight for my sin, your sin, everyone’s sin.”
2. Our pain draws us closer to God and teaches us empathy for others.
Experiencing pain gives us perspective to help others who go through similar trials. DeMuth said that she became “a more loving, forgiving person” because God used her pain to create empathy.
She also continued to walk with God as she endured horrible life circumstances. Though DeMuth says she would have rather the trials not have happened, those times in her life were when she grew the most in her faith.
3. Our world is fading away.
Earth is temporary for Christians. One day we will will go to Heaven and our pain will be healed fully. With this in mind, DeMuth says, “I don’t live for the wholeness now or even demand it. I wait on tiptoes for the wholeness that will come.”
4. God is sovereign.
We must remember that we are human and God is God. We may not understand why we must experience pain, but God is sovereign and His will is beyond our human comprehension.
DeMuth wrote, “I’m happiest when I don’t stay in that place of figuring things out, but when I lift my hands in surrender and honestly tell God, ‘I don’t get it.’”
No one should have to endure the pain of abuse. But in our fallen world, abuse exists, along with innumerable other sins that can cause suffering. But take heart in that we as Christians can take anything to God in prayer (John 14:13-14).
Crosswalk.com blogger Whitney Hopler writes, “Rather than pleading with God to take your suffering away, view it as a gift that God has allowed to come to you so you will seek Him more and experience His grace in deeper ways.”
She continues, “Decide that you will respond to any type of suffering… by surrendering it to God in prayer, asking Him to use it for good in your life and trusting Him to do so.”
DeMuth says questioning God’s goodness when you have been hurt does not “nullify your faith.” But drawing closer to God will bring you healing and regain your trust in Him.
Carrie Dedrick is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com.