This is one of the most urgent, and most difficult, questions to ask about God. There is no easy answer. The Book of Psalms acknowledges that the faithful do ask this question, with many psalms accusing God of negligence, inaction, or absence in times of difficulty or despair. Jesus himself cried out one of the most haunting lines, as he hung dying on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22.1)
This may not be a comfort—but it does send the signal that Jesus knows, intimately and deeply, the pain of abuse. And for those who believe that in Jesus we find the most profound articulation of divine presence, even divine Incarnation, this becomes a remarkable reality. God, at the core of divine Love, understands the experience of abuse, abandonment, and suffering.
We can’t say where God was, during experiences of abuse. We can say, God understands, God knows, and God can help you move forward. Sometimes the past, with its wounds and scars, is hard to understand, and feels unjust. But we can look towards the future, and ask how God might redeem this pain. We can trust that God meets us in our brokenness, and wants to bring hope and healing.