Tag Archives: innocent suffering

Sparrows

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 7 year old in Pennsylvania shared with her school bus driver that she had been unable to wake her parents [1].  Christopher Dilly and Jessica Lally were discovered to have overdosed.  The child’s younger siblings – ages 3 months, 3 and 5 years old – were found in the home.

Ashley Hutt and Mac Leroy McKiver, a pair of addicts in Washington, have been charged with repeatedly injecting their young children – ages 2, 4, and 6 years old – with street heroin to keep them quiet [2].  The children were living in squalid rat-infested conditions, their home littered with drug paraphernalia.

All seven children have been placed in protective custody.

Where was God in all this?  Could He not have intervened?  Such evil is staggering.  Confronted by it, we cannot help but cry out.

God is not immune to our pain.  Nor is He indifferent.  He suffered for us on the cross, and continues to suffer with us.  We are His children.  Would you not suffer for yours?  Surely, you feel their pain when a young wing is broken or a young dream falters.

This is a fallen world — home both to incalculable evil and amazing good.  We get to choose sides.  That privilege comes at great cost.  But those choosing evil should make no mistake.  God’s eye is on the sparrow…on all the defenseless little sparrows.  And there will be a reckoning.

” ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows‘ ” (Luke 12: 6-7).


[1]  Washington Post, “A 7-year-old told her bus driver she couldn’t wake her parents. Police found them dead at home.” by Cleve Wootson, 10/5/16, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/10/05/a-7-year-old-told-her-bus-driver-she-couldnt-wake-her-parents-police-found-them-dead-at-home/?tid=a_inl.

[2]  Washington Post, “Parents injected children with heroin as ‘feel good medicine,’ police say” by Lindsey Bever, 11/1/16, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/11/01/parents-injected-children-with-heroin-as-feel-good-medicine-police-say/.

Original version posted 10/27/13

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion

Unbiblical, Part 4 – Trusting God, Self, and Others

Trusting God v. Trusting Self

Christians talk casually about God’s plan for their lives and the lives of others. This can be grating to the ears of abuse victims (especially those new to, or unfamiliar with, the faith).

As victims are inclined to see it, God’s plan for them included abuse. Whether He caused that abuse or merely allowed it to occur, He failed to protect them against it. And they have the scars to prove that.

The issue of innocent suffering is a profound one, and cannot be papered over with a handy Bible verse. For abuse victims, coming to terms with it may be a lifelong struggle.

Trusting themselves can be as great a challenge. Abuse has effectively “taught” victims not to rely on their own judgment, their own instincts. This is something they must unlearn.

It is not helpful for Christians to urge victims to trust in God, rather than themselves. Such trust will come with time. It cannot be rushed. There are deep wounds which must be healed first.

Trusting Others

Christians should be sensitive in the language they use around abuse victims. To victims of incest, even the term “Father God” can sound disturbing. To those who were sexually abused or tortured by siblings, the term “brothers and sisters in Christ” may be equally threatening.

Christians should not pressure victims to drop their defenses, and should not hug or make other physical contact with victims without their permission.  Victims may experience either as invasive, and shy away.

Christians should allow abuse victims to take the lead, insofar as relationships. Friendships should not be forced.  These will develop as victims gradually come to see they will not be harmed.

This series will continue next week with Self-Sacrifice v. Codependence

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

The Book of Job

For years, I was an atheist, unwilling to believe in or do homage to a God who would allow suffering by the innocent.

My view was a direct result of the abuse I had endured, and the suffering of all kinds I saw around me. I could not reconcile a good and just God with the many injustices in the world.  Faith was a fool’s game.

The Bible’s Book of Job, in particular, revealed the merciless nature of God. So I thought. A devout man is caused to lose his property, his children, and his health. All to demonstrate that his faith in God is not a response to good fortune alone.

I saw the God who would allow this as sadistic. I viewed the Book of Job as an obscenity, and rejected the propositions it put forward. For a long while, I preferred to rage.

When I found the law as a profession, it felt as if a sword had been placed into my hand.

But the Book of Job is a profound study in suffering. It makes the point that God is God. We are merely His creation, dearly though He loves us.

In the end, I came to recognize that we cannot substitute our sense of justice for God’s. We do not have His perspective. We cannot see the end from the beginning.

Christians do not always know why suffering takes place. Ours is a broken world, not the paradise we might wish.

Christians do, however, know the true character of God. He truly is holy, good, just, and merciful. He and only He is the God who suffered as we suffer, even dying for our sakes. Amid the severest of trials, He somehow sustains us. And we have His promise that He will use all things somehow for good.

That promise cannot be applied simplistically. No Christian would contend that good can come to a child from sexual molestation, torture, or neglect. Continue reading

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All the Jenises

The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1: 7).

A little girl named Jenise died this week [1]. Just six years old, Jenise was raped and murdered by a seventeen year old neighbor in the Washington trailer park where she lived. The teen accused of the crime has been arrested.

But Jenise was not the only child in jeopardy in recent weeks. Around the globe, children’s lives have been at risk from factors equally beyond their control.

  • Shrapnel-torn corpses rained from the sky, after Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by separatists in the Ukraine [2]. The belongings of children were randomly scattered across the debris field.
  • Children in Gaza are dying as a by-product of Israel’s ground war there [3]. Both sides have blood on their hands. The practice by Hamas of shielding military operations by civilian targets has contributed to the death toll. Misdirected fire by Hamas has, also, resulted in the death and injury of children. As of this writing, the rocket bombardment by Hamas which initiated the conflict continues.
  • In Iraq, some quarter million refugees have fled in advance of the Islamic militant group ISIS [4]. Some 40,000 of these (including 25,000 children) from a Kurdish religious sect that predates Islam have been under siege on Mt. Sinjar without supplies. The United States is now providing aid and cover on a limited basis.
  • The world’s worst Ebola outbreak is raging in West Africa, with fears it will spread [5]. The disease has a fatality rate as high as 90%. Over 900 deaths have occurred to this point. Children who have not themselves contracted the disease may still lose one or both parents to it.

Few things drive home our crushing limitations more so than the death of children does. War, crime, and illness pull back the curtain on a painful reality, and we see clearly how little control we have over our lives. That information can rock us to our core.

We may never understand, on an emotional level, why God allowed Jenise’s suffering. We can be sure, however, her suffering pained Him, more even than it does us.

God hears the cries from Gaza and Mt. Sinjar, as He does those from Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. He knows all the Jenises.

At a time like this – when lights seem to be going out across the world – it is more urgent than ever we keep faith and bear witness to the truth. God is not impotent. Nor has He abandoned us. To the contrary, He gave His life for ours.

Men and women of goodwill play a vital role in sharing the love of God with the world, and spreading the Good News of Salvation. We must not permit what appears the increasing presence of evil to undermine our resolve. Continue reading

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Sparrows

A Colombian mother is reported to have prostituted 12 of her daughters, charging between $160 and $212 for the young girls’ virginity.  The abuse was brought to the attention of authorities by a victim who gave birth at age 14.

Where was God in all this?  Could He not have intervened?  Such evil is staggering.  Confronted by it, we cannot help but cry out.

God is not immune to our pain.  Nor is He indifferent.  He suffered for us on the cross, and continues to suffer with us.  We are His children.  Would you not suffer for yours?  Surely, you feel their pain when a young wing is broken or a young dream falters.

This is a fallen world — home both to incalculable evil and amazing good.  We get to choose sides.  That privilege comes at great cost.  But those choosing evil should make no mistake.  God’s eye is on the sparrow…on all the defenseless little sparrows.  And there will be a reckoning.

” ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows‘ ” (Luke 12: 6-7).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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