Warning: This story discusses both rape and sexual assault. The subject matter in this story may be distressing to some readers. Please continue reading at your own discretion.
Evangelist Joyce Meyer’s testimony of past experience with rape, sexual assault and forgiveness is encouraging thousands of people around the world.
In a 2017 sermon, Meyer shared her story more openly than she had ever done before. She was honest about the horrible situations her alcoholic father had forced her into in hopes that her story could encourage others.
When she was young her father would pressure and guilt her into situations where he could either touch her in inappropriate places or actually rape her.
“Literally, what he did was rape me, every week, at least once a week, until the time I was 18,” she bravely shared. “My father, who I was supposed to be able to trust, who was supposed to keep me safe, raped me a minimum of 200 times.”
He would use his parental power to force her to beg to be alone with him, whether it be in the car, in the pool or in their house. She never felt safe and she lived in a constant state of fear that her mother would come home and blame her for the things her father was doing.
While her childhood bred intense feelings of shame, fear and anger, Meyers found relief and restoration in her faith in Jesus.
Not only has she been able to recover, but she has also found strength to forgive her father. Strength, according to Meyer, that could only come from the Lord.
Even though she has been able to forgive her father, she admits that she struggled to understand where God was in the midst of her suffering.
“Where was God in all this? Let’s talk about that for a minute,” she said. “I prayed for my dad to die. That didn’t happen. I prayed for my mother to leave him. That didn’t happen. I prayed he’d leave me alone. That didn’t happen.”
She continued, “Why didn’t God help me? I was praying. I was asking. I was this innocent little kid being abused. Well, you know what? I don’t have the answers to all of that, but I can tell you that by faith I now understand.”
She went on to explain that even though she may not be able to fully explain why such horrible suffering was a part of her story, she learned after the fact that God gave her the strength to get through it.
Meyers even shared that she learned to be thankful for her past experiences.
“About three years ago, I said that, ‘But of course I wish I had not been abused’ and God stopped me. He said, ‘Stop saying that.’ And then I thought about it and I thought, and I know this sounds crazy, but I’m glad it happened. You know why? Because I’m a better person now than I ever would have been,” she said as her voice broke.
She knows in her heart that God took something meant for harm and used it for good, just like Joseph declared in Genesis 50:20.
“I’m stronger. I know God better. I understand people’s pain. I believe it’s made me able to reach out to you in your pain and your need and to tell you with all passion ‘God is alive. He loves you. He’s got a good plan for your life and don’t you ever doubt that,'” Myers said through tears.
She also wanted to let people know that God is in the business of restoration, redemption and recovery. She claims that she is living proof that it’s true.
She asked the audience, “Can you recover?”
“You’re looking at somebody who did. Amen? You’re looking at the evidence that you can recover,” she said. “There’s no pit so deep that He can’t reach down and lift you out of. He will set your feet on a rock. He will give you a wonderful life.”
Meyer’s story is extremely powerful and serves as an encouraging reminder to those who hear it. God loves you in your suffering and He has a plan. Take heart.
If you or someone you know is in a situation similar to this one, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for help.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.