This Holy Week, I read the book of one of the Momma bloggers that I’ve been following, Joy Mendoza of www.teachwithjoy.com, When A Good God Allows Rape.
I had been wanting to read this book for quite some time because while I was blown away by her testimony, there’s a question I’ve long been asking God.
As Christians, we are taught that we will experience adversity, trials, challenges. Jesus Himself said it, “In this world, you will have trouble…”. In reading the book of Job where God allowed His faithful follower to experience trials from Satan himself, I couldn’t help but feel fear. Why would He allow such horrible things to happen to one of His own? This is a common question of both believers and unbelievers. And in my journey with God, I have asked Him this many times.
As I came to terms with the reality of sin existing in this world, how man’s own freewill have allowed for both love willfully given, and evil willfully chosen, I find myself needing to trust someone higher than me for the welfare of my family. The verses that became my weapon were:
Now, my next question and which lead to me to read this book: In the face of adversity, do we have the grace to face it? Or will we be broken completely?
Joy’s recount of her life’s journey, beginning with her “insulated” childhood of sweet innocence, and then the horrifying experience of her own home being broken into and she, at 15 years old, experiencing rape seven times by seven different men, scared me to my knees. As a woman and as a mother, I truly felt fear creep up inside.
Which is why I decided to continue reading. I wanted to know how this story ends, how she can possibly say, “What Satan meant for harm, God meant for good.”
And as I read through her story, I experienced a familiar sense of peace. That thankfully, our journey, no matter how painful the stumbling blocks, doesn’t in pain. God has said this to me several times: Hope in ME for I am sovereign, and I love you.
Joy’s story tells of God’s grace that began from her family being Christian ministers, that was palpable even during the rape (“Somehow, amidst the repulsive acts he committed against me, I was able to separate myself from my physical body. In the depths of my soul–as though embraced by an inexplicable calm–my one comforting thought was that Jesus was with me.”), and followed her through all the days and years after.
Now, Joy is happily married to a God-fearing man with five children, and she ministers to abused women, as well as wives and moms. Her blog is widely followed due to her honest voice in it. The effect of the rape, intended to be most damaging turned for good and went beyond the victims’ lives. As their family decided to forgive and pray together, their faith in the Lord renewed, their community of believers stood behind them, and they were able to empathize and minister to even more people within and beyond their sphere of influence.
This book helped me validate some answers that I found in my talks with God. It helped me put my own tragedies into perspective as well. When I was turned away by my own family, when our son was born prematurely, when my husband and I go through marital conflicts, a ray of hope shines through knowing full well that God is with me, with us. And what worse thing can we possibly fear than NOT having God with us at all?
Fact is, sin remains to be a part of this world we are a part of. It’s a part of it because free will can allow for it to be chosen. While sin can hurt even “good” people, it doesn’t mean these people will be forever bound by it, because we have Someone who can lift us up and help us rise above victoriously. Choosing to forgive, to surrender to God’s healing, to hope again…God will find many ways for life for life to be rebuilt, renewed, restored to brand-new.
There is a bigger picture to consider and hope lies in the fact that God sent His only son to die for us–isn’t that enough evidence that there is a bigger, higher, more important purpose for us than just being trampled by our pain and hurts?
Healing, redemption, victory–all miracles that a good God will ensure for His own. Consider what Paul said, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I highly recommend this book for those questioning God, and for those who know Him. Take your questions to Him and allow Him to answer. Our journey with God is worth every question, every honest conversation, every effort to know Him more.
I praise You God for Joy, her testimony and her family. May You be glorified always!
When A Good God Allows Rape can be bought at OMF Literature.
This is not a paid solicited post. Just a book review bought about curiosity by and the author’s personal faith journey 🙂