God Saw My Rape And He Didn’t Stop It
Editor’s Note: Our topic for May is “Rape & Unwanted Sex.” Sexual assault, molestation, trafficking, prostitution, physical boundaries that are crossed – all of these will fall under the topic. We will be featuring additional submissions that we’ve received that fall under other topics as well. Today’s post is by Kelsey. She blogs at grownintexas.wordpress.com. – Lauren
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
I never imagined that the last words that Jesus uttered on this earth would haunt me in my dreams.
But let me back up. A few years ago, I was raped by an acquaintance. It was during college, and he was a friend of a friend. I was in an unfamiliar place, with people I didn’t know very well. I’d had a couple drinks, but not enough to start blacking out like I found myself unexpectedly doing. I was whisked away to a strange, dark place. Before it even started I was crying. I said no. He didn’t care; I think he laughed.
I woke up startled, forgetting what had happened. Reality, or my hazy grasp of it, sunk in and I wandered home, too confused to make sense of what had happened. At first I denied it, then I tried to explain it away and laugh it off. Shortly thereafter, I fell apart.
A few months later, I told the truth about what happened to some trusted friends, who offered me nothing but love and grace and truth. I tried to get some counseling. I felt pretty OK, I thought. I prayed and felt peace, or at least it felt something like peace. I was OK.
A year went by. I was reading in the book of Matthew, and as I got to the end of the final chapter, a terrible, earth-shattering, soul-rocking thought dawned on me: He was there. God was there the night I was raped. He heard my protests and saw my tears and watched me get those bruises.
And He didn’t stop it.
I was now, officially, no longer OK.
This little realization plunged me deep into crisis. What in the world was I doing following a God who allowed such terrible things to happen? Around the same time, the nightmares started. I had vivid flashbacks, recurring bad dreams, and near-constant feelings of despair, hopelessness, and listlessness. I became afraid of sleeping. I walked around in a dazed, zombie-like state because I was so scared of what would happen when I closed my eyes at night. I ate either too much or not enough. I was afraid of being alone, but I hated being with people. I isolated myself from everyone I knew – I, the textbook definition of an extrovert, distanced myself from my closest friends.
If God was there, why didn’t he do something?
Eventually, feeling exhausted from the vicious cycle of either deadening my emotions or doing harmful things to awaken them, I started asking God what he felt about my rape. I closed my eyes and asked, timidly at first, what’s happening on your end, God?
The answers slowly started coming from Scripture. As I read the Psalms, and story after story that recounted God’s sorrow over sin, it became clear to me that God cares deeply about my hurt and pain. I discovered that rape was not a part of his perfect plan for the creation of a world meant to bring him glory. I learned that God suffers with those who suffer. I remembered that God took our suffering and nailed it to the cross with his son Jesus, out of absolute love for us.
God knows pain. He knows what it feels to be rejected and abused and despairing, because Jesus felt those things first. This truth is difficult. It’s not as pretty or tidy or straightforward, but it’s real.
I find comfort in the reality that God was there, because the only thing worse than realizing He was there is thinking that He wasn’t.
I am comforted that by being there when I was raped, God saw it for how bad it was. He heard my cries and He hears them now. He sees. He knows. He understands.
I may never understand why God allowed rape to happen to me. But of this I am sure: God came to my rescue in the dark aftermath of my rape and he continues to come to my rescue on my up-and-down path of healing.
I don’t believe in chance anymore. I also don’t believe that the things that happen to us are punishments or rewards based on our behavior.
In the past, I believed that every experience I have, positive or negative, somehow contains a lesson or a morsel of instruction intended to grow me – and I need to look at it optimistically and deal. But now, I’ve found grace for myself. Can God work through terrible things and use them for his glory? Absolutely. But the reality of living on this broken planet means that some things just suck and just happen, and I believe all I’m supposed to ‘learn’ is that even when they do, I can cling to truth and hold fast to the God who loves me unconditionally
My journey of healing has taught me, among other things, to stop working to find lessons that we ‘should’ find – where there are none.
There is no lesson in rape. There is only victory. As a survivor of sexual assault, I can still stand firmly on the promise that Jesus is with us always, till the very end of the age. I can rejoice that God sent his Holy Spirit to be my guide and comforter. I can proclaim that rape does not determine my identity or limit my potential. My healing is a continual process, and it’s one that I believe might not come to completion this side of eternity, but I can wait with eager expectation for the day it is completed.
Nothing has made me look forward to heaven more than this. Nothing has made the glories of heaven, a place where God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,” sound so sweet.
I once took a personality test that told me that I am an exhorter, meant to inspire others to live victoriously, so I’m starting with me. I’m choosing victory. I’m opening up about rape and pain and hurt in full confidence that it’s a gift to be able to talk about it, and in hope that some woman, somewhere will hear in my words that she is not alone, and that our God is very good. I’m standing on the promise that for those who love God “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Did you catch that? Not some things. All things. Even intense, searing pain. Even rape.
Romans 8 tells us that our victory is sure. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38).
Not even rape can separate us from Christ. Hallelujah.
Beloved, keep on conquering. Tell your story, and walk in victory.
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