This is a very good question. Although humans cannot grasp galaxies of outer space, or the complexities of one another, or the mind of God (Isaiah 55: 8-9, NIV), God gave us the Bible as a tool to begin to understand Him. Therefore, scripture will provide our answer.
First of all, you are correct in stating that God does ALLOW abuse (Job 2:4-5, NIV). Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV)
God is in control of everything that happens; however, God never CAUSES wickedness.
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; … Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:13, 17, NIV)
Cruelty occurs because the abuser chooses to be perverse.
“Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways. For the Lord detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence. The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (Proverbs 3:31-33, NIV)
All evil is initiated by satan.
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NIV)
Since God could prevent the abuse, why doesn’t He? He is preventing much more than we realize. “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’” (Job 2:6, NIV)
God measures all disobedience as the same.
In every sin, we are choosing to do what we want instead of honoring God. In every sin, we are placing our desires as a higher priority than God. God says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10, NIV).
Although, I teach parenting and pray to be a good parent, I am a child abuser. I have neglected my children’s emotional needs, I have spanked in anger, and I have given them junk to eat.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10, NIV)
God alters satan’s evil into fertilizer for our benefit.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)
I am grateful for the torment of Job, because his life teaches me that tragedy happens to righteous people. He provides me with an example of trusting God that I want to emulate. (Job 2:10, NIV) Joseph also recognized God’s power to bring good from cruelty.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
God holds abusers accountable.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, NIV)
In Exodus 1:15-22, the Pharaoh of Egypt kills all of the Hebrew baby boys because he is fearful they will lead an uprising against Egypt. It appears there is no retribution for this horrendous crime. However, in Exodus 12:29-30, God sends the death angel throughout Egypt, killing every first-born son of man and beast. Only the families who obeyed God by painting the blood on their doorposts are spared.
Quotes from 3 victims of child abuse.
They have experienced what Isaiah describes.
“In all their suffering, He suffered, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. He redeemed them because of His love and compassion; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of the past.” (Isaiah 63:9 HCSB)
“God has shown me that He was holding me very close every time my father came near.”
“I know that I would not have been the loving, generous mother I am today, without having endured that torture.”
Brooke Lynn says, “If given the opportunity to go back in time and relive my childhood in a happy and perfect home, I’d have to decline. My traumatic and abusive past has made me who I am today. I’ve learned to cling to Jesus for every need, look to him to wipe my tears and cry out to him through all my pain. I’m stronger, resilient and have learned to persevere because I’ve become a victor and not a victim. I know that in and through it all God proves true to his word, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) Most importantly, I’m now able to help others through their challenges and trials; they have someone to look to who has been there, done that and made it through. Regardless of what the enemy tries to use for harm, God will work it out for good! It’s not easy to have hope in bad times, but keeping our faith and focus on God will see us through!”
Apply what you know.
Of course, anytime we know of any child being abused we are to do everything we can to stop it. (Matthew 7:12, NIV; Matthew 25:40) We might be the tool God uses to restore both the abused and the abuser. God wants us to pray against all evil, especially that done to children. (Matthew 18:6, NIV)
If you were abused as a child, please know that God loves you. He wept with you then and longs to heal you now. If you will surrender your pain even in small increments, He will grow joy and peace in those devastated places. It is okay to get professional help. The abuse was not your fault, you can trust Him.
◊Answer to the question why does God allow children to be abused, further questions on this topic, or your story of redemption in the comment section below.
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