*TRIGGER WARNING. This post talks about sexual abuse and could make some readers uneasy.
Someone snuck into his room at 3am when they snuck into mine. Someone covered his mouth when they covered mine; to stifle the cries.
You thought you were alone. The only one. So did I, my friend. So did I.
Jesus was 6 when it happened, just like me. Or 9, just like you. He was 14 and 22. He was in pre-school, junior high, college. He was male, female, African, Asian, Jewish.
He is the Man of Sorrows , well acquainted with grief. And we are his children.
When Jesus was born, I wonder if Mary could see his coming torture. Did she sense it while he was cradled safely in her arms?
Jesus was killed, yes, but he rose again after 3 days.
It’s been 3 decades for us. Have we risen from our death? Have we been resurrected? Are we alive? Or are we zombies lumbering around in the shadows, the never-ending echo of our abuse?
I was 6 when it started. 14 when it stopped. 40 when it became manageable. 165 when it disappeared. Because it never leaves us completely. It will forever be a part of our story.
That’s the truth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
How old were you? How did you manage the pain? Or did you? Did any of us, really? Did Jesus? Did God?
We are still waiting to be resurrected, just like Jesus. White grave-clothes as we ascend into the heavens.
Our assumption is that upon our resurrection all of the residual pain, the memories, the panic, the smells…will finally disappear.
But will they?
Have they for Jesus?
He was tortured on Good Friday and left for dead…literally. Unbearable torture. But only for a day.
“The resurrection was his reward,” we think, “but for only ONE DAY of suffering. Where is MY resurrection?”
We’ve suffered so many more days than one. And isn’t that why we shake our fist at God?
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
Every single sin. Ever. Those we managed on our own. And those committed against us.
He is resurrected, and yet he suffers. He is alive, and yet feels the sting of death in every sin that has ever existed – that ever will exist.
He is THE MAN of sorrows – more acquainted with grief than we’ll ever know.
We are not alone in our pain. He suffers with us.
He was raped, sodomized, tied up and rubbed down, like we were. Even at this very moment it is happening to him; in a basement, the backseat of a car, a brothel in Mumbai.
Mine lasted for 8 years – his for an eternity.
Yesterday, today, and every day after, he is dressed up like a prostitute, paraded through the streets, from car to car, from John to John.
From emptiness to isolation.
Darkness to death.
And so maybe it’s true. Maybe he is the wounded healer.
Perhaps the most relevant, yet unhelpful thing we’ve done with Jesus in our contemporary world is to personalize him—to make him cool, trendy, likable. We’ve left out the part about the crucifixion because it’s uncomfortable. We’ve left out the part about the suffering.
But he suffered.
Just like we have.
It happened to him, the same as it happened to me.
When it comes to pain, I struggle not to see Jesus as an observer. I know he can stick us back together after the dust has settled, but I often feel that what happened to us was our pain, not his.
But a good friend once reminded me that every time I have been violated, God has been violated too. That every person I loved who died too early, it was his death too. That every disease, mental illness, addiction, and dysfunction is crippling his body on the cross, not just for one day, or even for a lifetime. But for the span of all of our lifetimes.
Jesus, the sexually abused. He was there. With us.
And he took it all.
He takes it.
“I will never leave you. You are not alone.”