|Posted on September 17, 2018 at 8:20 AM|
Why do “bad” things happen?
“Why” is one of those words that is hard and painful. Why did he commit suicide? Why couldn’t I have prevented it? Why do things like this happen? We question, cry and rage using the word “why.” We use it when we sit discouraged at the bedside of a suffering loved one or weep at the graveside of a dear friend.
We are challenged by this word – how can there be a God when tragedies happen? Does God want us to be unhappy? Is He punishing us for our sins? Did he cause our suffering, perhaps for “some greater purpose?”
It’s easy to think these things when we experience the difficulties in life. But God does want us to be happy. He does not punish us on earth for our sins (although that may happen on the judgement day!). And I don’t believe he causes our suffering. I don’t think a loving God would deliberately hurt us.
What I do believe is that as human beings, we are naturally inclined to be sinful. We do things that hurt others, both intentionally and unintentionally. We live in an imperfect world with natural laws, and sometimes tragedies just happen.
I believe that God is part of every moment in my life, both the good and the bad. It also seems to be true that in my suffering, God’s goodness births a new good in me. I can name a few of my life’s difficulties which have transformed me in beautiful ways. It took time, but God sustained me and brought me to a deeper life within Him through many of these events, although this doesn’t mean that God sent the suffering specifically so I would grow. I believe ultimately God WILL fix all things…. but in His timing, not ours.
So how DO I respond when a tragedy comes my way and I want to shout “Why?” Good question, and my answer may not be your answer. My response is something like this: “Ok, God. This “situation” is happening. I don’t like it, and you are going to hear a lot from me about it! Yes, I will be angry, and I will ask WHY. I want you to fix this or undo it! If you can give me an answer, I would really appreciate it. But even if you don’t answer me in a way I can feel, I still will be praying to You about this. If it seems that fixing the situation or undoing it is not possible, grant me the help I need to get me through this situation. God, please grant me the grace to deal with this WHY.”
Today I include for you a poem I wrote many years ago for a friend who asked “why” when her son committed suicide. I hope you will find some meaning in it.
My soul is aching, crying, Lord;
I just received the sorrowing word.
A mistake! It must be a mistake!
He was just here, we spoke, we ate;
And now we find him there so still;
A sob chokes up; Is this Your will?
My son is gone! Oh God, but why?
All I can do now is cry.
My heart is torn; my being bursts
With deep despair for all the hurts.
Why him, Oh God, why him? I cry.
I cry until my soul is dry.
I pour my soul out on my hand,
I stretch it out and scan the land
Searching for an answer there;
I find it not, and wonder where
I’ll find the answer to my plea?
Over the hills, under the sea?
My soul has sunk to lowest depth
My heart is broken, wrenched; I’ve wept
For days and cannot see the sun,
For I have lost a dear, loved one.
Parched and lifeless I lay here
With but the merest hint of tear.
Then, halting, raise my hand up high,
And one last time my heart does cry;
I ask once more: Why take him now?
Why place Your mark upon his brow?
He had so much and now he’s gone;
I loved him so; he was my son!
And what about his heart, his soul?
How can I know he’s reached the goal
Of life with You with heaven’s best?
And how can I, still here, know rest?
Then, quietly, a voice I hear,
First a whisper, then louder, near;
I hear the Spirit of God within,
I hear Him say: I know your pain,
For I, too, had a Son on earth,
And I, too, lost that Son to death.
But look at Him - He paid the price
So you and yours can all rejoice!
That when you die you’ll come to Me,
And ever more at peace will be.
Your loss is real, your grieving true,
But thus it is; My love for you.
Be still, My child, and grieve no more
Your son is with Mine evermore!
My heart stands still; I grasp my soul;
My son is healed and now is whole!
He’s there with God and Jesus too,
With all the saints; his pain is through!
And while my heart still aches at times,
The peace I sought at last is mine.
If at any time this week you want to ask “why” of God, I hope you will think a little bit about the words in this reflection. May you find the grace to deal with your “why” and be blessed by God’s response.
Have a blessed Monday!
© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net