A Rape in the Holy Land
A woman, beautiful but with the weight of the world seeming to rest on her shoulders, stands alone struggling to grasp what has happened to her-the loss, the violation. What can be done now? Her body still feels the pain of her attack, of this attempt to dominate and destroy because of one selfish man’s desire to wield power. Beyond the physical injuries is a much deeper wound, though; it is an assault on her very identity, an attempt to use the physical fact of femininity to force her into subjugation, without regard to the emotional, mental and physical toll on her.
What is worse is that her shame and pain are now being discussed, not out of concern, but as a problem to be contained. It seems the entire world is speaking of what happened. Most are making every effort to not hold her attacker responsible, for he is a respected man, even seen by many as God’s chosen one. This makes her wonder about a God who would choose such a person, a person who shows no remorse at using power to steal from and violate another.
Others point to her attacker’s past. It is well-known that he experienced horrible abuse, himself, and yet recovered from it and rose to become a great leader. He has even done many good things.
Yet, all of this matters little in light of her own anguish. Rather than comforting her and addressing her pain, they now propose that she marry him. She ought to act as if it did not happen and learn to love him. Forget her life before; she will become his, giving up her dignity and allowing him to subjugate her for the rest of her life.
And not only her-what would become of any children born to such a union? They would be either controlled and dominated too, likely given no respect, or they would be violent and oppressive like he is, with no connection to the things she holds so dear from before the rape. This cannot be; she must do everything to prevent such a future.
People wonder at why she is being so difficult. Can she not just do this for the sake of peace? Or for “God’s plan?” Why must she be so caught up in her pain, in the threat to her identity? In fact, they say, she will benefit from his wealth and power. She ought to be grateful.
She is far from grateful, though. She wants to go back to before so much was stolen; she wishes someone would speak up at the injustice; she desires to be able to make her own future and feels revulsion at the thought of placing it in the hand of her attacker.
“Where is God in this?” she wonders. “Is he only close to the powerful and cares nothing for my pain? What about justice for me? Am I nothing to Him?”
Yet He answers in a gentle whisper, that she is dear to His heart and that He has not turned a blind eye. He is her defender and will judge justly and with equality (Psalm 98:9) all who are oppressed (Psalm 103:5-6 & 143:6-7). He does not ignore her cry (Psalm 98:12) and her blood is not cheap in His sight (Psalm 72:14). His Kingdom does not adhere to the cruel values of this world (Matthew 5-7) and He is the one who will bring healing to the wounds of the past.
He calls to those discussing her fate: “Will you ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed (Proverbs 31:8)?’ Will you ‘act justly and love mercy and walk humbly’ (Micah 6:8)? Will you put love above prophecy, the kind of love that does not boast and is not self-serving (1 Corinthians 13)? Then, and only then, we will discuss my plans,” he says, “and only then will you also see your own healing (Isaiah 58)."