**Note -- I had hesitations in making this commentary, given the subject nature of rape. I believe I would have refrained, had it not been for the idea presented of wanting everyone to come to know and believe in the God who had not abandoned the victim.
I read a story recently about a woman who was raped, and later explained the situation, thanking God for providing her with grace. She also thanked for giving her a sort of protection against feeling rage or bitterness about what happened, and part of this protection included a sense of God sheltering her unmarred soul despite the rape on her body.
Now -- I truly do find that incredible, because if I was in that situation, I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from descending into that rage and bitterness. I'd want justice -- lots and lots of justice, and I'd definitely my definition of justice twisting to include vengeance.
However, in reading commentary on the story, one of the things that I'm getting confused over is the idea people want other people to know of this same God who loves and never abandoned the woman who was raped.
And I don't know what "never abandoned" means in this case. That's the part that I'm tripping over. If this woman's ability to resist bitterness and respond with grace is tied to her belief in God, I'm happy for her. As it sounds like her belief in God and His grace will aid in her healing, I'm happy that she has something to rely on and help her.
But basically, how this is read is that "Before the rape, during the rape, and after the rape, God will not abandon you." The only way for the word "abandon" to still function as a "to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert; to give up; withdraw;" in this context is for the "you" to be defined as something other than a body. Something apart from your body. For the lack of abandonment is now directly associated with the feeling the woman had with God protecting her soul, and how it felt undamaged, compared to the attack on her body.
Yet, if this were reversed, and for some reason the guy had been about to rape her and then suddenly stopped, saying that God had convinced him of the error of his ways, and in fact the would-be rapist had now converted to Christianity ... wouldn't this also be seen as God not abandoning the woman? Only this time, the lack of abandonment would include a prevention of rape on her body?
And, if there is this clear line between the body and the soul, and we extend that definition of a person into other cases ... then when someone's murdered, they aren't really murdered, it's just the body that's killed. When someone's starving to death, they aren't really starving, it's just the body that's denied food.
Which we clearly don't see. Not in our sense of justice, not in our laws, and not even in good outcomes that are attributed to God. Those outcomes where believers thank God for preventing a plane crash, or thanking God for sparing a loved one in a war.
There's also the issue that "never abandoned" also means that a person is not abandoned even though there's an entity fully aware of the rape and does nothing to stop it.