This short essay was originally posted in December 2018. Since then, I began writing my memoir. Last week I wrote a chapter about the experience in the epigram. Doing so reminded me of this piece. As I write my memoir I am even more convinced that God can turn what seems to be senseless evil into a powerful testimony of redemption and hope. 

Although my tormentors inflicted unspeakable acts of violence, sexual and emotional abuse upon me as a child, they could not destroy my soul. Each time that I cried out to Jesus, I felt His presence. Sometimes I did not completely understand that it was Him, but I felt Him. I “knew” He was there.

A 9-year old girl lay sobbing on soiled sheets trying desperately to escape her fate. “You failed again; you are worthless! Get back down there! Maybe you’ll get it right after a few days in the cellar!” Uncle Ray shouted as the child covered her face to avoid his fist.

God guides us but does not demand or actively direct us. Rather, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, “God keeps the faith, and he will not allow you to be tested about your powers, but when a test comes he will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.”[1]  Using perfect parental guidance, God provides a way out but does not remove the freedom to choose. 

 If God is such as a good parent, why do we see violence, poverty, terrorism, and devastation on the news every day? If God, as our parent, will not allow human freedom to overrule His purpose, then why does he allow innocents to die? If God views children as “a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward,”[8] then why does He apparently abandon us when we need Him the most?