Rachael Denhollander – Liberty University Convocation
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Rachael Denhollander – Liberty University Convocation

November 20, 2019

>>DAVID NASSER: Our guest today is coming
our way thanks to just one of our leaders in the School of Law.
He reached out and said, “Hey, I would like to have Rachael Denhollander at the School
of Law to lecture at 4 o’clock this afternoon and I was wondering if you guys would be interested
in having her as a Convocation guest. And we originally had someone else slated
for this day, but as soon as we knew that she wanted to come and lecture at 4 o’clock
we knew that we wanted to have her here. And so we switched something around and were
able to have her be a part of this particular moment with us.
We’ve been wanting to get her anyway. I told her on the phone on Saturday.
I said, “Rachael, we already were going to reach out to invite you to come be a part
of next semester, but I’m so glad that because of the circumstances and God’s sovereignty,
right, that He predestined for this moment for us to have you in front of our entire
student body. And she’s already this week spoke into another
college; she was at Harvard this week. And then this week, today, she’s with us,
and past this God’s going to continue to give her more and more inroads in front of
college students and really the world. And what I love is that she’s not just coming
in to talk about child abuse, she’s not just coming in to talk about being a defender
of the weak. She’s also, honestly a missionary, who knows
that the ultimate answer, the ultimate remedy to everything that’s she’s talking and
spotlighting is the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so, I’m excited and honored that Rachael
would take the time again to be here today at 4 o’clock.
She will be at the- with the Law School at the Supreme Courtroom that we have.
You know, the replica of that in Green Hall. And there’s room there not just for a lot
of our law students, but for about 3- to 400 of you if you want to go and be a part of
that. I plan to be there myself and can’t wait
to just sit under her teaching and to learn from her.
And so we thought it also very appropriate since April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
that God would allow her to come and be a part of this.
So can we just welcome her to Liberty University? Rachael, welcome. [APPLAUSE] So great to have you here.
Obviously, so many of us are very familiar with your story.
And to think one of the reason’s that you in particular, in the midst of everything
that we’ve been seeing on T.V. with Larry Nassar and just the scandalous just child
abuse situation there, that you rose in the ranks as far as being just front in center,
not so much because you were the first to speak out in that particular case and to force
the issue- I know you weren’t the very first to report, but really the first to be the
one who was swinging the hardest. But also the fact that you shared the gospel,
and that was just shared throughout the world, not just with Larry Nassar, not just in that
courtroom, but everyone saw it. But I think we’ve all seen just different
segments of that, but I’d love for you just to take a second and just kind of catch everybody
else up a little bit. Would you just kind of tell us your story
and-and-and tell us just in your own words about this particular situation.>>RACHAEL DENHOLLANDER: Yep, I would love
to.>>NASSER: Yeah.>>DENHOLLANDER: So I was an abuse victim
of Larry Nassar’s, one of what is probably thousands.
I saw him when I was 15 years old, and he abused me for about a year.
At the time I really didn’t know that a lot of it was abuse.
I believed it was legitimate medical treatment. I had physical therapists who were friends
who practiced similar treatments, and I didn’t realize how different what Larry was doing
was from legitimate medical treatment. But there was a point that I did start to,
and at that point, I really had to start wrestling with not just what do I do, but what does
justice look like? How does this match with my faith?
Where was God when this happened? What does he say about my abuse?
Can I trust Him? And one of the most difficult this that’s
really taken from you in any kind of abusive situation is the ability to trust.
And so I really had to grapple with all of those questions as I was coming out of my
early teen years and into my 20’s. And I really didn’t see any hope of being
able to get justice here on earth, and of being able to stop Larry until about two years
ago. And because of the media report that really
shone a light on the abusive culture in the U.S.A.
gymnastics I was able to come forward and say, it’s not just the coaches.
This is what their team physician is doing. And God’s hand was really on that entire
process from start to finish. It has been incredible.
Had to look back and see what he put into place to bring justice here on Earth and to
shine a light into what was an incredibly dark situation.
And coming- coming out of that, Larry plead guilty not only to possession of 37,000 images
of child porn, but also first-degree sexual assault against 10 of us, and there about
200 other police reports. But as part of the justice system, we had
a prosecutor who insisted that all of us be able to give victim impact statements.
That everyone who had been victimized by Larry would be given a voice.
And so, as part of that, I was able to close out his sentencing hearings, and God really
directed my words. And I’m very grateful for his direction.
And I really had to wrestle with, what do I say?
What does Larry need to hear? And ultimately what he needs to hear the most,
because that is the greatest hope for me, and it is the greatest hope for Larry, and
it is the greatest hope for all of us.>>NASSER: Absolutely. [APPLAUSE] Rachael, like you said, there were hundreds,
if not thousands of victims of this predator. You’re not the believer, you know.
Simone Biles, who we hold very dear here because she was at university was also a victim of
Larry Nassar’s. And she’s a believer as well.
But not every one of those folks who- you know, the children who were abused by this
person knew the Lord Jesus, you know. And so I think a lot of us, you came on our
radar because of the way that you dispensed forgiveness, the way that you shared the gospel
with Larry Nassar when you were making your statements in the courtroom.
But also, you did it without condoning the sin.
You did it without discounting, you know, justice.
And I want our students to see just a few segments.
I really would love for them to see this one particular moment where you’re sharing the
gospel. You’re talking about just ultimate forgiveness
that only Christ can give, and I’d love to kind of talk to you a little bit more and
hear more about that. Let’s um- let’s watch this together. [VIDEO]>>DENHOLLANDER: In our early hearing you
brought your Bible into the courtroom, and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness,
and so it is on that basis that I appeal to you.
If you have read the Bible you carry, you know that the definition of sacrificial love
portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty
for a sin he did not commit. By his grace, I too chose to love this way.
You spoke of praying for forgiveness, but Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry
you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what
you have done. It comes from repentance, which requires facing
and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and
horror, without mitigations, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase
what you have seen in this courtroom today. The Bible you carry says it is better for
a millstone to be thrown around your neck and you be thrown into a lake than for you
to make even one child stumble, and you have damaged hundreds.
The Bible you speak carries a final judgment where all of God’s wrath and His eternal
terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing
what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ
so sweet, because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found.
And it will be there for you. I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight
of guilt so that you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from
God, which you need more than forgiveness from me, though I extend that to you as well.
(END) [APPLAUSE]>>NASSER: Wow, mm, yeah.
Amen. Yeah. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Someone told me the other day, they said clapping
came from someone wanting to come and pat someone on the back, but they didn’t have
access. And so they would put their hands together,
and one hand represented you patting someone on the back, and the other represented the
person. And we stand because we stand with you and
that what the standing ovation is. And so we-we-we cheer you on, sister, and
we stand with you. Because you do something there that passes
all understanding. It’s not natural for someone to be a victim
of that kind of evil-doing, and but yet to be able to go beyond your moment and to extend
that kind of God-given, right, redemption. And so can you speak into that?
That’s why we’re clapping. We’re just like, only God can give someone
that kind of strength, only God can give someone that kind of power to be able to share the
gospel. But can you speak to us a little bit more
about forgiveness that comes from the gospel?>>DENHOLLANDER: Yeah, and I do thank you
for the support. And Pastor David is right, it is by God’s
grace and God’s grace alone. Honestly, one of the- one of the dynamics
of walking through this process has been realizing afresh how beautiful the grace of God is.
Standing in a courtroom watching someone who is accused be sentenced was a very stark reminder
to me that that was me in front of God. I too, had departed from the standard of rightness,
you know. I am not Larry Nassar, but I have sinned.
I have wounded people, I have committed injustice. I am not a perfect person.
I have fallen short of God’s standards. And that could be me in God’s courtroom
with final judgment being passed. But it won’t be, because of the sacrifice
of Christ. Not because of my merit, not because saying
the magic words “I’m sorry” meant that I hadn’t done wrong things.
But because I am loved by a redeemer who stood in my place.
And one of the most difficult things as an abuse victim to learn is how to trust again,
and who is trustworthy. And when I can come to the realization that
my savior is strong enough to love someone like Larry, that means he is strong enough
to love me, and he is the most sure refuge for me.
He is the one place I can trust, because what happened to me matters, because God promises
justice, and because my savior meshes justice with forgiveness in a way that cannot be found
anywhere else. And so as difficult and truly horrific as
this process was, it has also been an incredible reminder to me of the grace of God, and of
even how much I have been forgiven.>>NASSER: Yeah, you story, um- [APPLAUSE] Absolutely.
You’re story, and honestly just your testimony, it’s such a reminder of just how amazing
“amazing grace” is. That God so loves, not just Rachael and not
just David, God so loves Larry Nassar that he gave his one and only son so that Larry
Nassar would also have salvation offered to him.
And it just- it just brings us in awe. I think we look in the mirror a lot of time,
and we think of ourselves- we certainly think of ourselves as sinners but we get into this
comparison game where we think of ourselves as someone who is so much more heroic as an
Osama bin Laden or someone who has so much obviously better off than a Hitler or a Larry
Nassar. And these horrific people whose names are
synonymous with evil, but at the end of the day, we’ve all fallen short of the glory
of God. And his standard is his son, and so what a
reminder of the power of the gospel, right, in a moment like this.
I want to- I want to ask you not just about forgiveness but also about justice, and how
forgiveness does not mean that the consequences need to be played out.
Ray Rice was with us. This semester has been filled with stories
and testimonies of forgiveness and redemption, and God renewing someone’s life, you know,
despite the circumstances of their past. And even when Ray came to us he, you know,
he discounted his opportunity to go and ever play in the NFL again, but that didn’t mean
that God was done with him. And this one is so much more horrific even
then even that horrific act in that this was a repeat offender, over and over and over
again. But how does justice play into that?
And I think we have a-a-a segment of your time in the courtroom as well we’ll watch.
And tell us how those things don’t contradict one another, but they actually complement
one another. Let’s uh- let’s watch this. [VIDEO]>>DENHOLLANDER: But we are here now, and
today that message can be sent. With the sentence you hand down you can communicate
to all these little girls and to every predator, to every little girl or young woman who is
watching how much a little girl is worth. And I’m asking that as we leave this courtroom
we leave knowing that when Larry was sexually aroused and gratified by our violation, when
he enjoyed our suffering, when he took pleasure in our abuse, that it was evil and wrong.
I ask that you hand down a sentence that tells us that what was done to us matters, that
we would know we are worth everything. Worth the greatest protection the law can
offer, the greatest measure of justice available. Judge Aquilina, I plead with you as you deliberate
the sentence to give Larry, send a message that these victims are worth everything.
In order to meet both the goals of this court, I plead with you to impose the maximum sentence
under the plea agreement because everything is what these survivors are worth.
Thank you. (END)>>NASSER: Wow.
Everything. [APPLAUSE] Everything is what these survivors are worth.
You’re pleading with her that to discount is to condone, or to honestly in one way even
give permission and maybe even empower others who are watching.
So you speak into that? Speak into justice as it relays into the life
of- into the idea of forgiveness as well.>>DENHOLLANDER: Often time justice and forgiveness
are two concepts that almost seem antithetical to each other if you don’t really unpack
them. And we’re going to be delving much more
into how they relate in the law forum this afternoon, so I would love to see you there.
There’s going to be an open Q & A, so I’d love to have that conversation even more in-depth
that we can have this morning. But ultimately if you take the definition
of justice and forgiveness, forgiveness is defined as a release of my personal retaliation.
A release of my desire for vengeance. Whereas justice is defined as accordance with
an outward standard. And this quote by C. S. Lewis that I absolutely
love where he’s wrestling with, how do- how do I understand God in an unjust world?
He says you cannot know a straight line- you cannot know a crooked line unless you first
know the straight. So really what justice is taking an action,
an event, an idea and holding it up against an immovable standard and saying, “Does
this match that standard or has is departed from that standard?”
That is an external standard that comes outside of me.
So justice is something that is done or not done irrespective of my personal response
to the situation. And this means a couple of things.
It means that I can choose to stay bitter; I can choose to be unforgiving; I can choose
to desire vengeance and retaliation, and I may never see justice done here on earth.
Or, I can choose to forgive and I can pursue justice, pursue that external standard out
of a heart that is motivated by love for truth, and love for others, and love for God.
And this is what you see our savior doing. Christ laid himself down for us, and when
he did that when he chose- when he forgives our sins he is not saying what you did does
not matter anymore, he is saying justice has been meted out on me.
And because justice was meted out on me I can extend mercy and forgiveness to you.
But in the Christian faith, justice is always meted out because justice is the foundation
for forgiveness. If you lose that standard of right and wrong,
in you lose that moral clarity, if you lose justice forgiveness becomes meaningless.
And so one of the things that I just love about that picture of redemption, about that
picture of Christ is the idea of the lion and the lamb, that Christ is both for us.
He has meted out justice and he has done it through his own sacrifice.>>NASSER: Absolutely.
So, you know, from Hugh Freeze who as a football coach who committed adultery, and then was
our guest talking about forgiveness, and his wife was with us as well, to Ray Rice to even
Michael Vick over and over again, that conversation has been right in this semester for us.
And people have asked me, well what does forgiveness look like?
And I always say it looks like just the love of God forgiving- I mean, just the grace of
God unleashed on the other side of repentance. I’d love to hear from you, you know, what
true repentance looks like. You know, what does that hide- “Against
you and only you have I sinned, God,” Psalm 51 moment look like in this- in the eyes of
a Larry Nassar or anyone else who had broken the heart of God and should be brokenhearted
over it. How does that look in a genuine way in the
life of any of us?>>DENHOLLANDER: Repentance ultimately is
agreement with God- with what God has said. It is being able to say the same thing about
my sin, about your sin, that God says about it, to understand the incredible departure
from God’s perfect standard, and to be in agreement with him that that departure has
taken place and that you deserve justice. That takes an incredible amount of humility,
that takes the complete turning away from those sinful patterns in your life, and that
takes an utter dependence upon Christ and Christ alone, and Christ’s sacrifice alone.
And you really see that contrasted with the case of Larry Nassar.
You know, when he stood up for his sentencing hearing for the child porn charges, he came
with a list good things he had been doing in prison, he came with his Bible into the
courtrooms, and really was trying to convince, “I said ‘I’m sorry’.
I feel really bad, and look at all the good things I’m doing to atone for it.”
That is not Biblical repentance because Biblical repentance does not come to God and says,
“I did wrong, but here’s all my other good deeds.”
Biblical repentance comes to God and says, “I am worth nothing apart from you, and
I am in agreement with what you say about my sin.”
And that is the foundation for being able to receive Christs’ forgiveness and then,
in turn, to be able to grant that forgiveness on a human level to those who have wronged
us.>>NASSER: Amen, so- [APPLAUSE] Rachael, we see it on this end of, you know,
something this horrific. But typically it’s just maybe a person in
this room who’s gossiped about a friend or a roommate, and they’ve wronged that
person. And now they’re coming asking for forgiveness
and it needs to look like not, “Hey, you’re supposed to forgive me because Christ forgave
me, and let’s just get- let’s just get over this.
Let’s just move it to- put it in the rear view mirror and move on.”
The person who has been hurt gets to set the pace a lot more than the person who’s been
the hurter, right? Can you talk to us about just on a practical
day to day, should it be the counsel of many at times like this?
Should it be- how do you- how do you play that out as far as just finding forgiveness?
And how do you know as a person that it’s time for you to move on, you know?
Give us a little more insight into that?>>DENHOLLANDER: As the one who is forgiving
or the one who needs to be forgiven? Or both?>>NASSER: I think both.>>DENHOLLANDER: Both?>>NASSER: We’d love to see both, because
I’ve certainly hurt people, and I’ve certainly been hurt by people, so this is a perfect
opportunity for us to learn from you in this.>>DENHOLLANDER: In terms of the one who needs
to be forgiven I think one of the most important things to realize is that you are not in control.
You are the one who has done damage, you are the one who is in the debt.
And so while repentance does mean that you receive the perfect forgiveness of Christ,
it does not destroy the consequences for what you have done.
Whether that is a broken relationship or even stronger consequences depending on the conduct.
And so to come to the person that you have injured and be able again to agree with God’s
standards without minimization, without justification. And to acknowledge, “This is what I did.
This is the departure from the standard, this is how wrong it was, and I understand that
these are the consequences of my actions and that I do not deserve your forgiveness.”
And then to leave it in that other person’s hands.
You’re not in control of how the person you wounded responds.
They are. That’s a transaction between them and God.
Your job is to maintain repentance, and maintain grief for the consequences that were done,
and to accept those consequence that come. And that is a dynamic that I think is very
difficult for us to do here on Earth. A lot of times accepting those consequences
isn’t something we want to do. We feel like because I’ve repented there
shouldn’t be any consequences anymore. “Why don’t you trust me?
Why don’t we enter back into a relationship? Why do I have these limitations placed on
me?” But a truly repentant heart that recognizes
the damage and recognizes the departure from the standard will accept those consequences
and will do it humbly. Because again that meshing of justice and
forgiveness has to be understood and has to be recognized.
As the one who needs to do the forgiving, again that is- that is something you really
have to wrestle through with God. Understanding the justice that God can bring
is an incredible foundation for being able to release personal vengeance.
I think one of the things that those who have suffered, particularly greatly, desperately
need to understand how much God cares. In a society that minimizes particularly sexual
abuse, and that mitigates us, and that acts like the damage isn’t that great or shouldn’t
be that great, to understand what God says about the damage and that it matters to Christ.
It matters so much that he comes back in Revelation on a white horse in a robe dipped in blood
to mete out justice because you matter to him.
He is the one defined what sexuality is supposed to be.
He is the one who defined concepts of trustworthiness and love and refuge.
God more than anyone understands how devastating that departure from his standard is, and it
matters to him. Because it matters to him I can trust him
to bring justice. And because I can trust him to bring justice
I can release my desire for personal retaliation.>>NASSER: Absolutely.
So Rachael, you- absolutely. [APPLAUSE] Goodness, it was just alarming, honestly,
for me this morning to hear from you that 25 percent- you actually feel like that’s
a- that’s a low stat. It’s 25 to 40 percent of- of even this in
this room, the church is not immune to this- of people who have been victimized by this
kind of abuse. And so what would you say to someone in this
room who is hearing this story and has- has not had the courage yet or is just terrified
of speaking out loud, you know? The reality is if you google your name certain
thing pop up right beside it. And so for the rest of your life, you know
that you’re going to be a spokesperson for this, and people hear that and go, “Okay,
she’s getting a microphone today. And as an attorney and a poised, strong believer
with deep-rooted theology she certainly leverages this for gospel advancement.
But I don’t want to put my name attached to this kind of thing.
I’d rather just kind of forget, or-” So what would you say to someone in this room
who’s hearing this and this is bringing to surface maybe some of the abuse that they
have received?>>DENHOLLANDER: The first thing I would say
is what you do with that is your choice. Yeah.
There is a dynamic where this is the job God has given me to do, it is not a job I sought.
And it is not a job that is easy to do. It is not something he calls everyone to do,
and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with that.
You be faithful where God has called you regardless of what that looks like.
But more importantly, the most vital thing to really wrestle through is your own relationship
with God, and to struggle through that to understand that your identity is found in
Christ. And that is something that I really had to
cling to through this process because everything that was known about me publicly had nothing
to do with what I had accomplished. It had everything to do with what was done
to me. When I walked into that courtroom I didn’t
get to walk into the courtroom as the attorney with the J.D. with the legal training.
I was completely dependent on the other attorneys to prosecute my case for me.
My identity wasn’t what I had done, my identity had to be in Christ and in Christ alone.
And to understand that his concept of success, his concept of value is what defined me irrespective
of what the world says is a vital truth to be able to wrestle through.
I think another aspect that survivors really need to understand is that this wound is real.
You know, often times we are tempted to treat these wounds as if they should just go away
very quickly when we say the magic words, “I forgive.”
Or when we wrestle through certain dynamics. But the reality is that because God has defined
these concepts of sexuality, and love, and trust, and forgiveness so beautifully, when
those are marred the damage is very, very deep.
And it takes time to heal, and it takes time to rebuild those concepts.
And that is not wrong, it is not sinful. In fact, the depth of the darkness proves
the beauty of Christ. And so what I encourage survivors to do is
to acknowledge the damage, grieve that damage, say what God says about it.
This is evil, it was wrong. It was a departure from the incredible perfection
of Christ, and to grieve that loss knowing that you feel that loss so keenly because
God is so, so beautiful. And when we dim the darkness we really diminish
the beauty of the light. And so acknowledge it, acknowledge the depth
of the evil and let it point you to the perfect and beautiful standard of Christ because there
is your only refuge and hope.>>NASSER: Rachael, um- [APPLAUSE]
Honestly, as a father when I was watching your case it made me so angry to hear that
people in power were saying to you, and so many of those victims, “Well, you didn’t
report it to the right person.” And I was thinking about how here at Liberty
there might be people even this morning this morning who are hearing this, or maybe people
watching through Facebook Live or something who are going, “I don’t even know where
to begin.” But you can begin with having a conversation
with your roommate, with a community group leader, with a resident shepherd, with a shepherd,
with someone from our counseling, with Title IX.
You don’t have the professional who made sure you report it to the right person.
We’re talking about a 12-year-old girl who doesn’t know who- what is the right precedence
or the right thing to fill out. Like, you just seek the counsel of many, and
then let people walk alongside of you and be able to come alongside.
Can you talk about the importance of- of being able to walk in community in something like
this, and how God actually does provide people who come along?
And the enemy’s whispering, “You’re going to be alone, this is going to be bigger
than you.” But what has God done to show that to you
over and over again that community does come alongside of you in it?>>DENHOLLANDER: Honestly, I think there are
two dynamics in that. The first is that God had provided community,
he has provided the body of Christ. And Lord willing when you come forward you
will find that. You will be enveloped by love and care.
I think you can find that here at Liberty. Lord willing, you will find that in our justice
system. But the honest truth is you don’t always.
And for 16 years I didn’t. And for the first 18 months to a large degree,
I didn’t. And so again to have your hope and your refuge
in Christ, to know that regardless of what someone may say, regardless of any minimization
or depreciating that someone around you might try to put on your abuse, you can cling to
the truth of what God says. No, this is evil.
It was wrong. It was a- it is a horrific departure from
the standard that God has set. And your public opinion does not change that.
I can speak the truth about what happened to me, and I can cling to that truth because
that standard exists. You know, in any struggle that we go through
in life, we will Lord willing find great support in the community of believers.
Many times we do. But in any struggle, we don’t always.
And that is why Christ is our final hope and out eternal refuge, and why our hope ultimately
has to be in how Christ responds, not even how the people around us respond.
And that we can grieve with him. And we can trust him.
And we can speak his truth respective- irrespective of what anyone else says.>>NASSER: Yeah, so if God does provide an
opportunity today for one of you to be confided in, it’s important to note here that our
university is not set up not should it be as the judge and jury of this.
You know, the way the system needs to work is that we work alongside people who actually
handle this. We don’t have the jurisdiction, we don’t
have the power. And I think a lot of time the church has overstepped,
or obviously, we saw with the Penn State scandal they did overstep in trying to solve an issue
that they were incapable of. But, it’s not your job as a victim to figure
all that out. You just cry for help and know that God’s
people are going to come alongside of you, and then go get those who are in the right
proper place to help to be able to come and to help.
And I want to plead with you as your campus pastor that this may be the very opportunity,
God might have sent you here today just to finally be the voice of reason or just a voice
of truth. A voice of encouragement for someone in this
room to go and get help. You might even go, “I don’t even know
how to define it, whether it was abuse or not.”
Let someone who’s not emotionally overwhelmed with this define it with you.
And that’s why we have the departments that we have like Title IX and our counseling department.
And we have embedded into our system that can- who can go and say, “I don’t have
to have the answers but I can go to ones to do.”
You’ve been asked a lot of questions. I’ve watched a lot of interviews in preparing
for this, but one of the questions that wasn’t asked, or maybe was asked but never made it
past the editing, you know, room is, man how could God allow this to happen?
God who is sovereign, parents who watches this whole thing happen with Larry Nassar
and go, “I had no idea, or I would have stepped in.”
But yet a father saying that, but yet our heavenly Father knew all along.
So how can God this happen? Can you talk about the doctrine, the theology?
Behind all of this and what’s God’ been teaching you?
Because I think a lot of our students are going to get asked from their friends, their
coworkers, you know, how can- and it might not even be this.
I might even be, “How come the guy that works with us who hates God is healthy and
getting a promotion, and the guy who works with us who loved God just got diagnosed with
cancer and is passing away?” How does it work in this upside down, you
know, under-the-sun over-the-sun like In Ecclesiastes type world?
Can you speak into that for us?>>DENHOLLANDER: Yeah, I mean that is a question
that Christians have wrestled with through the ages.
Why do the wicked prosper? And that is a- it is a painful question to
wrestle through because it is very personal when someone is wrestling through their question
because they are suffering at a very great level.
That’s a question that I had to wrestle through.
Where was God, and why did this happen? I think the first thing to realize is that
Scripture is very clear that temptation does not arise from God.
Larry- Larry was not a puppet in God’s hands, Larry was led astray by his own sinful and
vile desires. Larry was responsible for Larry’s conduct,
not God. At the same time, God is sovereign.
He could have reached down and stopped it. God has not chosen to erase all of the evil
in the fallen world that we live in, but he has promised to bring final justice and final
perfect healing in the end. And that is one of the things that I find
so beautiful about the gospel of Christ. It’s that God has no obligation to us.
We are led astray by our own sinful desires. God does not have to come and do anything
with us, but he promises to bring final healing and final redemption.
And he promises to be with us through the suffering even here on Earth.
And one of the- one of the purposes of being able to recognize that evil and to see that
evil is that is points to Christ. It points to the hope of Heaven.
It points to the beauty of that final redemption where God says, “Behold I am making all
things new.” If we did not see the darkness if we did not
experience the sin here on Earth that would not be beautiful to us.
There would be no reason to long for it. And again the depth of the darkness proves
the beauty of Christ. We can recognize and understand the sin, and
the evil, and the depravity because there is something so much better, so much more
beautiful. And that is again why I really clung to that
quote by C.S. Lewis where he says, “I was asking where was God is all the injustice.”
And this is a paraphrase, but he says, I couldn’t- and then I started asking, by what am I measuring
the standard of justice? I cannot know a crooked line unless I first
know the straight. The straight line is there, and we know it
is there because we recognize the crooked. The crooked points to the straight.
And so when we see the evil and the suffering all around us, part of what that is designed
to do is to point to the beauty of Christ.>>NASSER: Absolutely. [APPLAUSE] Before- before we pray for you, Rachael, and
all that God’s doing will you let our students know what’s next for you?
I know that you’re lecturing a lot and traveling, and being a voice and an advocate, you know,
for the hurting. So tell us what’s on the docket.
I know your husband’s studying at the seminary, and you’re a mom and that’s exciting.
But what else do you have going these days that we can be kind of coming alongside and
praying for?>>DENHOLLANDER: Not very much.
We’re going to have a baby, there’s a legislative package in Michigan, we’re dealing
with litigations. So just a few things. [APPLAUSE]>>NASSER: Congratulations, yeah.>>DENHOLLANDER: Yeah.
There- there are a lot of areas where there is still a great need for advocacy on a very
practical level in Michigan in particular. We are waiting for a legislative package,
Lord willing, to get into committee this week. And so we are praying for God’s grace upon
that package, that it would be pushed through because it is reform that is desperately needed
in Michigan to help bring justice here on Earth.
So that is a big prayer request that I do have.
It’s not pertaining specifically to out litigation.
It is really addressed to protect children across the state.
And so I have great hope for that. We do have a baby coming, so I would appreciate
prayer for that. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And, you know, a lot of wisdom in the day-to-day
life, because we’ve got a lot to manage right now.
My kids are very young. They don’t understand a lot of what’s
going on but they feel the stress. They feel the instability.
So we just need a lot of wisdom for parenting with grace and patience and nurturing, at
a time when my husband and I are both very stressed and emotionally exhausted ourselves.>>NASSER: Yeah.
Yeah, I can only imagine. And you- you- everywhere- think about this
for this family, everybody. Everywhere that they go this is the conversation,
and it is just heavy. I was asking her this morning, do you just
get to take a break? And she said, “In this season it just feels
like I’m just called by God to be this voice.” And- and- and we need to be just praying against
stress and all the things that come on a mom who’s giving birth soon, and all the things
that are happening in their life. So can we just together just put our hands
towards our sister? Come on, let’s just do that.
And before I just pray out loud, I just want you to just- just in your own heart just to
pray for not just Rachael but her husband, her children.
Pray that this would just transcend way beyond a case against Larry Nassar, that this would
change the way people in the church do ministry, the way that organizations, including churches,
do proper accountability. Pray that this would be a circumstance that
would become an agent of change. And pray for yourself, that you would be a
part of that. You’d be a stepping stone in it and not
a stumbling block in it. (Praying) So Lord, thank you for Rachael,
thank you for her testimony. Thank you that Lord at this moment as she
goes from here and goes to Yale and Princeton, and she goes to testify and she goes to be
invited into places that a lot of Christians never get invited to because of these horrific
circumstances. Haven given her a platform, that she would
be salt and light through her great favor. I pray that she would know as she walks off
of this stage that we’re with her, we’re for her.
She’s not alone. I pray that today she’s being that, affirmed
in her calling in this particular season in knowing that.
We love you and we look, Father, to Heaven as our hope.
We pray this in your name, Amen. Can we one more time thank Rachael for just
being here? [APPLAUSE] Thank you.
Hey, today at 4 o’clock Rachael will be the Supreme Court replica room, alight, in
Green Hall. She’ll be speaking and lecturing.
The title is, “The Lion and the Lamb”. You’ll want to get there early, it will
be packed out, alright? God bless.
You guys. You’re dismissed.
Thank you.

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