I asked this question many times during my life. It seems to be the most urgent and most difficult, questions to ask about God. There is no easy answer. The book of Psalms acknowledges that the faithful do ask this question, with many psalms accusing God of negligence, inaction, or absence in times of difficultly or despair. Jesus himself cries out one of the most haunting lines, as he hung dying on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22:1)
This may not be a comfort – but it does send the signal that Jesus knows intimately and deeply, the pain of abuse. And for those who believe that in Jesus we find the most profound, even divine incarnation, the becomes a remarkable reality. God, at the core of divine Love, understands the experience of abuse, abandonment, and suffering.
For many years I thought God hated me, because he let me be abused. That he didn’t care what happened to me. And so I came to believe that I didn’t care what happened to me either. During the Alcohol abuse, the drug abuse even the abusive relationships I found myself in. There was no point in looking for something better. I felt I was alive to suffer and die.
I cannot say where God was, during experiences of abuse. But I can say God understands, God knows, and God can help you move forward. Sometimes the past, with its wounds and scars, is hard to understand, and feels unjust. But we can always look towards the future, and we ask how God might redeem the pain. I know we can trust that God meets us in our brokenness, and wants to bring hope and healing to our lives.