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12.1.12

posted Dec 2, 2012, 1:00 PM by Susannah Francis
By Zachary T. Francis

As I was compiling my notes from previous interviews, online conversations, e-mail etc from the cutting projects, a few messages stuck out to me. 

You pushed me to this God. Where are you in this?

Elizabeth was very confused about God. Is this what he wanted for her? She prayed "God, stop Uncle Phil," but the abuse went on. Didn't God care about her? Was he powerless? Why didn't God answer her prayers?

If there was a god, how could god allow repeated and ongoing rape and abuse and torture of me and other children, murder, etc.

These are hard questions for any of us to answer. When Job lost his family, his income, and was covered with soles all over his body, his friends Eliphaz, Bilidad and Zophar were trying to figure out why bad things were happening to Job. “Who being innocent, has ever perished,” Eliphaz started. “Does God pervert justice?” Bilidad continued. “Surely he recognizes a deceitful man” Zophar added. In other words, the conclusion his friends came up with is that Job deserved this punishment somehow. But the truth is that none of them knew why Job was suffering and they were only coming up with the best conclusion they knew. For Bilidad, Eliphaz and Zophar, they were trying to help Job by giving advice when in reality they were making Job feel worse.

Why does God allow my abuse?

Like Eliphaz, Bilidad, and Zophar with Job, is this a question we can answer effectively? And if not, how can we help?

My father died when I was 12, and one of the things I will always remember is who came to see me after he died. I remember my best friend Eli sitting next to me as we rode in the car towards the cemetery. He never said anything, but he was there. I remember my aunt taking me to see “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” In neither case did I remember words of wisdom. I never heard someone say something that answered questions like, “Why did my dad die so young?” or “Why would God need a carpenter?” (My dad was a carpenter and died in an accident at work).

From time-to-time I  have people come up to me and say, “I don’t know if I should go to ‘so and so’s’ funeral, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to help them.” Like a person being abused that asked tough questions like “how could God allow my abuse?”, they are stumped. And knowing my experience, I tell them “Just go. Being there is enough.”

What words of wisdom can we say when someone asks “How can God allow abuse?” It is true that God can reveal things in prayer…and praying is something super valuable…but there are times when actions will show God in more powerful ways then words.

There is a Casting Crowns song I like that goes along this same line. Here are the lyrics.

The love of her life is drifting away
They're losing the fight for another day
The life that she's known is falling apart
A fatherless home, a child's broken heart
You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You trying to make - sense of it all
She's desperate for hope, darkness clouding her view
She's looking to you
Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus

1 Corinthians 13 reads, “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast.” If we sit with someone when they talk, if we ask someone how they are doing, if we are just there, does that not answer more questions about God then trying to give an answer.

When my dad died, I had my Bildad, Elpiaz,and Zophar types try to give answers. One said to my mom, “Well at least it wasn't one of your kids.” Another said, “You should appreciate the time you had with him.” One even told me a very puzzling, “Well, you’re the man of the house now” (I was only 12 years old).  These answers were given by people who meant well. But sometimes…just sitting with them…asking how they’re doing….and maybe giving them a hug might bring more revelation than any of these statements ever would.

This Christmas season try to think of someone in your life that needs to be loved like Jesus. After all, isn't love the reason Jesus came in the first place?


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