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Where Was God During Your Adverse Childhood Experiences?

One of the most profound and challenging questions many people face after experiencing traumatic events, especially in childhood, is: "Where was God when I was going through this?" It's a question that touches the core of our faith and understanding of God's presence in our lives. This article seeks to explore this difficult question from a Christian perspective, offering insights into how God is present even in our darkest moments.

Understanding God's Presence

The Bible tells us that God is omnipresent—He is everywhere at all times. Psalm 139:7-10 declares, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." This passage reassures us that no matter where we are or what we are going through, God is with us.

The Mystery of Suffering

Suffering and trauma, especially in childhood, can obscure our perception of God's presence. It's natural to ask why a loving God would allow such pain. This question is not new; even biblical figures wrestled with it. For instance, Job, who endured immense suffering, questioned God's purpose but ultimately reaffirmed his trust in God’s wisdom.

Romans 8:28 provides a perspective on suffering: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." While this verse does not imply that all events are good, it reassures us that God can bring good out of even the most painful circumstances.

God’s Presence in the Midst of Suffering

  1. God as Comforter: During times of trauma and adversity, God is often present as a comforter. Psalm 34:18 tells us, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Even when it feels like we are alone, God’s presence is there, offering comfort and solace.

  2. God’s Silent Work: Sometimes, God’s presence is not immediately apparent. Like a master artist working behind the scenes, God is often weaving our pain into a greater tapestry. This silent work can involve placing people in our lives to support and guide us, opening doors to healing, or giving us the strength to endure and overcome.

  3. Jesus’ Empathy: Jesus himself experienced profound suffering and abandonment. On the cross, He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). This cry shows that Jesus understands our deepest pain and feelings of abandonment. He shares in our suffering and stands with us in our darkest hours.

Finding God in Retrospect

Looking back, many people find that God was indeed present during their most challenging times, even if they couldn’t see it at the moment. Here are some ways to recognize His presence:

  1. Protection and Survival: Reflect on how you survived and endured those experiences. Many find that despite the trauma, there were moments of unexplainable strength and resilience, which can be seen as God’s sustaining presence.

  2. People and Support: Consider the people who were there for you—friends, family, teachers, or even strangers who provided support and kindness. These individuals can be viewed as instruments of God’s care and love.

  3. Growth and Healing: Over time, many find healing and growth through their faith. The process of healing can often reveal God’s presence and work in ways that weren’t clear initially.

Moving Forward with Faith

Understanding where God was during traumatic experiences can be a pivotal step in healing. Here are some steps to help in this journey:

  1. Prayer and Reflection: Spend time in prayer, asking God to reveal His presence in your past and present struggles. Reflect on your experiences and look for signs of His hand at work.

  2. Scripture: Engage with scripture that speaks to God’s presence and comfort. Verses like Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand," can provide reassurance.

  3. Community Support: Join a faith community or support group where you can share your story and hear others’ experiences. Often, hearing how others have seen God’s presence in their lives can provide new perspectives on your own journey.

  4. Professional Counseling: Consider seeking the help of a Christian therapist who can provide both psychological support and spiritual guidance. They can help you process your experiences and understand how your faith can play a role in healing.


The question of where God was during adverse childhood experiences is deeply personal and challenging. While the answers may not always be clear or immediate, the Christian faith offers assurance that God is always present, even in our suffering. Through prayer, reflection, scripture, and community, we can begin to see how God’s loving hand has been at work, guiding us toward healing and growth. Remember, God’s promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us, even in our darkest moments.

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