"But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26"But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27"When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her," (Deut. 22:25-27).
I received an email from a non-Christian woman who had been raped. As a result, she became pregnant and then gave birth to a daughter. The emotional and physical struggle she had undergone was very difficult, and it was weighing on her heavily. She wanted to know, "Why did God allow this to happen?" This paper is adapted from emails that we exchanged.
Of course, we can see by the above Scripture that God does not condone rape. He punishes the rapist. But that simple answer isn't enough. What about the other questions that arise because of it?
She said, "I was raped 7 years ago. I now have a daughter from it. We both nearly died at her birth. I don't cope well at all with it, and this will (I am sure) have a negative affect on her."
I responded with, "I deeply feel for you about this. I do not blame you for the effect it has had on you. It was wrong, very wrong what happened to you."
"I wanted to ask you some questions," said wrote. "First, why did this all have to happen? I'm an agnostic. Do I, therefore, deserve such punishment?"
"I do not know why it happened. As a Christian who likes to answer difficult questions, I have no answer. I apologize for that. But, sin is in the world, and it rears its ugly head against everyone. I, myself, lost my son to a birth defect. He died in the arms of my wife and me. But, all I can say is that even though we did not understand why it happened that we kept our eyes on the Lord and were comforted by Him throughout the experience. I am not trying to make light of your situation. But, the truth is that I cannot give you any definitive answer except to say that we live in a fallen world and this kind of a thing happens. The one who did this to you will suffer eternal consequences on judgment day."
"Why must my little girl suffer? If all this has happened because of me, then why must she suffer as well? Does your God not recognize her pain?"
"Of course God recognizes pain," I said. "He knows it well since He came and died on the cross for us and suffered great pain on our behalf that we might be able to be free from the bondage of sin.
"I am married, and I have thought about what I would do if my wife were raped and got pregnant. I have thought about this a lot over the years. First of all, I would insist that the child become mine legally. I would love my wife and that child and consider the child as my own. I would raise that child with all the love I would give my own natural children. Why? Because it isn't the child's fault. The child doesn't know the why's. The child only knows that he/she needs to be loved, to be safe in the arms of its parents. Why should I make the child pay for the sins of another? Why should I make the child any less important or loved than my natural children?
"Even though the child's arrival would be by pain and anguish (in more ways than one), I would extend the same love to that child as the Lord extends to me. He owes me nothing and has graciously saved me from my sins so that I can dwell with Him. Should I not do the same for others?"
"Why is it that my rapist's life seems so blessed. He is now married, well off and secure, and can conceal his crime. Is God on his side? It feels like it."
"No. God is not on His side. The Bible (in Psalms) talks about this very thing. The Psalmist asks God why the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. God answers and says that in this life the wicked may succeed but their end is destruction. But, God is gracious--even to the wicked. He lets them live . . . sometimes, He allows them to be punished immediately. Either way, they will get what is coming to them."
"I looked at your difficult question, and it hasn't provided me with an answer. I would be grateful for some comment on this difficult question."
"Actually, I was thinking of taking this email and modifying it for that section. If that is okay with you, I'd like to do it."
"But, I wish I could give you words of great comfort. The best I can do is tell you that Jesus is real and that He can comfort you in ways I never could. He can cleanse your heart and fill you with His love. All you need to do is trust Him as God--as the one who cleanses from sin. Throw yourself at Him. Give Him your heart, your anger, your helplessness, your questions, and trust Him."
"I know you're agnostic, and I am not trying to preach at you. But, I, too, was agnostic and know the difference of life with Christ versus my old agnosticism."
"God does not condone rape at all. It is a great sin."
Update: This woman--by the grace of God--became a Christian a few months after our communication. She is growing in strength in the Lord and doing well. Praise God!