Sexual Assault and the Gospel
Sexual assault has affected millions of people in America with statistics reporting more than 300,000 people (ages 12 and over) being victims of rape and sexual assault each year. Out of those affected, 91% are women. With one in four women being sexually assaulted and one in six victims of rape or attempted rape, my aim in writing this is to shed light on the vast brokenness in our world while pointing people to the eternally healing Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for those who have been affected by these horrible acts that they would be reminded there is hope amidst the pain. I also pray for those who know victims of this abuse and that God would equip you to breathe renewing, restorative, and Biblically saturated life into our hurting sisters.
I know there is nothing I can say to make the pain of your trauma go away. It doesn’t work like that. I know the dark thoughts that go on in your head which cause you suffering that words cannot even remotely begin to express. This isn’t a watered-down step by step guide that has a happy resolution or quick fix to make you feel good. That’d be too easy, and since this is real life, we know vulnerability (although more difficult) is far better than the masks of superficiality. The Scriptures are filled with intense words that bring life, comfort, and joy when our souls ache. The depths of our Lord is far from fleeting, and He alone brings wholesome healing to the hurt which has seeped into the cracks of our soul. We go through things in this life we may never understand, but it doesn’t mean we are left to our own devices. Dear sister, you don’t have to carry the burden of your wounds alone. As we run into the loving arms of our heavenly Father relying on His Word, we find true renewal that 1. Provides joy through sorrow 2. Overcomes evil and 3. Triumphs over hurt.
Joy Through Sorrow
As we walk through life with Christ, we are guaranteed to face trials (James 1:2). The Scriptures remind us that even though we face difficulties, as tragic as they are, the Lord will deliver us from them all (Psalm 34:19). In 1 Peter 5:10, we are promised full restoration for the sufferings we experience in this life. I find that deeply comforting. Trauma that has deeply impacted our lives can seem like way too heavy of a burden to bear, and it is so easy to drown in our thoughts of despair. I know for me, the trauma I experienced has affected my thoughts, feelings, and even actions. I viewed myself as damaged goods for many years, and it is still something I fight with today. I’ve blamed myself, I’ve blamed God, and I have struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel many, many times. I doubted God, and it was only when I took my eyes off of His truth that I was filled to the brim with the lies Satan used to further pick apart my already broken self.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:6-7
As Christians, there is immense hope because we know our joy doesn’t die in sorrow. It doesn’t matter what evil comes our way; nothing can steal our joy in Christ. We must cling to the promise that God will give us joy when we are hurting. He won’t forsake us. Our faith doesn’t depend on our circumstances...it is fully dependent upon God, and God never changes. He is good, faithful, and just. It is because of His grace that He gives us the faith to trust in His goodness even through the darkest of times.
Something that ate away at me for the longest time was the fact I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen to me. Strange as it is, though, I know if God did give me the answer I was desperately seeking, my human mind still wouldn’t be satisfied with it. The effects of this evil, sinful, depraved world had directly impacted me and left me with significant damage psychologically and emotionally. That was it. It wasn’t God’s fault that this happened; it was the evil in the world. Instead of asking God why, I looked to His Word which told me a few things to combat the hardness that began to creep into my heart towards God, my circumstance, and my faith:
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Genesis 50:20
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." Hebrews 10:30
Sisters, we serve a righteous and just God. He is a God who will never forsake His children and promises to overcome evil with His goodness. Vengeance is His, and so we must relinquish our anguish that prevents us from being free from Satan’s stronghold. There is freedom in Christ, and we know God overcomes all evil. We don’t have to fight for victory—we fight from it, already having won. Trusting in God’s everlasting righteousness proved encouragement to me in times of intense hatred and emotional distress for the crime committed against me.
Triumph Over Hurt
God is sovereign. Rest in this. Repeat it to yourself. Saturate yourself in almighty goodness of this truth. God is sovereign, and our pain is for a purpose. This life is filled with terrible, dreadful, heart-wrenching pain. Your trauma is not a life sentence. You are not forever bound by the effects of depravity in this world. God can overcome any abuse. This isn’t superficial...this is supernatural. We were not created to deal with the trials of life on our own accord; we must totally rely on His strength. I cannot explain to you the hurt I have experienced due to sexual assault, but I can explain to you the freedom I have found through the Gospel. For years I was slave to my pain, always attending to it—trying to mask it in any way shape or form. I catered to the hurt whenever it beckoned, which was never ceasing. Instead of being vulnerable to God with this hurt, I tried to handle it on my own. I didn’t trust God or His goodness. It is solely by His grace that He sustained me through this. Years later I am screaming at my old self, wishing I would have grasped the Gospel truth.
God sent His only Son to be the atonement for our sins, and because of His sacrifice, there is eternal freedom from the grips of sin. Overcoming sin and death, Jesus paid the penalty for us. This is the great love. He pursued us first and wants us to come to Him—all who are weary. When we trust in Jesus as our all atoning Savior, we are given new life in Christ. This life we live as believers is filled with sorrow, but we must rejoice because one day we will made whole. The wounds we experience here on Earth will forever be healed as we rejoice with the One who saved us by His grace. Don’t merely come to the throne, run as fast as you can to the throne and never stop because death has lost its power…sin has lost its sting.
It is through Christ that we are over-comers, not because of our circumstances. It is finished because of what Christ has done for us. Freedom from sin and eternal healing is what has given me hope. There is life among the ashes. Dear sisters, nothing can separate you from the love of the Father. Nothing we do or don’t do, nothing that has been done to us, will ever affect the freedom we have through the Gospel. As we struggle to recover from hurt in this life, always look to Jesus and know because of Him we are completely and utterly redeemed. The pain still lingers—I still battle with the dark thoughts—but I trust in the grace of God. I have accepted I cannot change what has happened, but I am in control with regards to how I can react. I can choose joy or I can choose to be sorrowful. I can choose to trust God or hate Him for what has happened. Everything else fades into the background as I look to the cross…as I recall the price God paid for me. I am His. As I press into Him ever deeply, I am constantly reminded of the never ending depths of His love. It brings me to tears. There is healing through the Gospel.
When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art