A precious friend is struggling with this very question. I’ve been there, too. I think most anyone who has gone through something traumatic probably has struggled or is struggling with this question.
I’m not going to answer it for you, though. I’m sorry. There are plenty of answers out there – do a google search and you will find hundreds (thousands?) of Pastors and people who study the bible who will give you their take on it. And it’s good stuff to read, but in the midst of the dark, it’s hard to understand. Sometimes, it’s hard to even hear.
So my take this morning is something a little different. It’s how I have come to peace with this question. Because, no I don’t have the exact answer. And yes, it IS something I still wrestle with sometimes.
Here’s what I have realized though.
Bad things happen. Period.
Bad things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, of highs and lows, of the greatest joys, and the darkest of darks. That’s just life. We live in a fallen world, a world where people choose evil, a world where sickness exists and permeates, a world where tragic accidents happen. (And God never promised that those who follow Him were exempt. Wouldn’t THAT make it easy to follow God, if He did!)
We live here on Earth and we live life just like every other human being on the planet.
Here’s where I had my moment though.
Bad things are going to happen whether I follow Jesus or turn my back on Him, whether I choose faith or walk away from God. Bad things are going to happen because that’s just life. Following God is not what causes bad things to happen. Choosing to live a life apart from God is not what causes bad things to happen.
Bad things just happen. Tragic things. Traumatic things. At some point in our lives, it gets dark. So dark.
And if it’s going to happen anyways, I would much rather walk through it with God by my side than without! I’d much rather be carried by Him when I feel like I can’t possibly move. He is the only one who has been able to give me peace on my darkest days. He is the reason I was able to put my feet one in front of the other during survival mode. He is the only comfort when I’m deep in despair.
So I can rage against God, yell at Him, question Him, and ultimately blame Him and turn my back on Him and try to get through it on my own…
I can rage against God, yell at Him, question Him, pour out my questions and anger and doubt, but ultimately turn TO him and He will help me, give me a peace that makes no sense, and walk through it with me, carry me even, help me to heal through it.
There are probably (maybe?) people who can skip the anger, the doubt, the yelling at God and just trust Him to carry them through. I hope to get there one day, but my past has shown differently. I was angry. I was scared and struggling with the why of it all. I did yell and cry and question God.
However, I’m satisfied with the… not answer… but comfort that was given to me… that despite what happens, I would rather get through life with God than without. And that He is not the cause of the dark, but ready and willing to sit in the dark with me and pull me out.
Tough topic this morning, feels weird to say “Happy Tuesday” as my ending! So instead I’m going to pray for you.
Dear Lord, if anyone reading this is struggling with why tragic things happen, I pray that you will give them the peace that makes no sense, the peace that comes when you feel like you’ll never be peaceful again, the peace only You can give them. I pray that they will cry out to You with their questions, their despair, their feelings of hopelessness and that You will respond by taking their hand, comforting their heart, and letting them know how very much You love them. How much You hurt when we hurt, how You cry when we cry . How You are there and ready and willing and waiting to be with us through it. Thank you for giving me this small glimpse of clarity and for allowing me to share it. I pray that those who need these words today will find this page and recieve comfort from You. In Jesus name, Amen.
I love this girl here! My best friend and author of Brave, Blessed, and Beautiful. She has challenged her readers to memorize God’s word. She writes about why in her blog post: Why is it important to memorize scripture? and how to do it here and here.
I joined her on this journey and thought I would add my own reasons why today. A lot has to do with the verse in the picture of me and Vanessa. God says to think about his teachings day and night and we will be successful – like a tree that always produces fruit and with leaves that never fall. I love that image and I want to be successful! And the only way I can think about God’s teachings day and night is if I know them.
So, I committed to learning some new verses, two per week, along with Vanessa and some other wonderful ladies.
A huge benefit of learning these verses is not for my own gain, though. Knowing God’s word allows me to help others, to encourage others, to life people up… using God’s truths, which are far more powerful than my own advice.
When a friend is hurting, I will have a ready arsenal to do battle with… battle in spiritual places, battle against lies of the enemy, battles against low self esteem and negative self-talk. When we combat these things with God’s truth, we win! Anytime we battle to overcome negative thoughts with positive truth, we are heading in the right direction. And if we can back it with God’s truth, it has even THAT MUCH MORE power.
God’s word is living and powerful. There are many times when I don’t know what to say to a friend that is struggling… by memorizing verses, God will be able to give me the right words at the right time. He can bring to mind not just ideas but concrete verses to share with others that will shed light and love on their situation.
I’m pretty excited by this.
If you’d like to join, we are just now beginning week 2. You can see week 1 and week 2 on my friend’s blog and then I like to take those same verses and look up different versions as another option. I’ve fallen in love with reading God’s word in various versions and being open to see what God has to say to me through them. So I will post below the four verses to begin with and we can move on from here. 🙂
Here are the verses from last week:
And here are the verses for this week:
Happy Monday, Friends!
Disclaimer: When I talk about my daughter’s struggles, I am deliberately vague. Not to be annoying as I know it can be, but to protect her privacy. Her story is hers to tell and if and when she chooses to share the yucky stuff, I will fully support her. She had a heart to help others but when I am writing about some of her struggles, I try to respect the parts that are hers to tell.
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how hard October is for us and that she was struggling and suffering through something. This thing gets a grip on her mind. Her mind becomes tormented by a spirit of fear and nothing I can do can break through this fear. No logic, no reasoning, no promises of reward or thoughts of consequences will break through. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating and painful and… I’m not sure I can put into words what it’s like.Read More
Monday, on the way to school, my daughter told me the most precious thing, the thing that melted my heart and made me proud and teary and like maybe, just maybe I’m doing some things right.
If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’ve been through trauma… avoided church for about 9 years… and a few months ago, God started reeling me back in. He reached for me, has loved on me, has broken chains off of me, and I am growing, growing so much!
The most amazing part of growing though is seeing my daughter grow with me. She has always known God because I have always loved God, even when not going to church. But I was not actively living out my faith and now that I am growing and beginning to, she is just as much in it as I am.
She is hungry. She wants to know and she hears me when I talk. She hears what is being taught in kid’s church.
We’ve started doing devotions in the morning together just this week and the time is invaluable. We’ve talked about the upcoming election with a God view of the issues, and she gets it.
And on Monday morning, she told me, “Mom. Since we’ve been going to church… now when we sing, I put my hands up and close my eyes.”
Tears were already filling mine at the vision. “Why do you do that?” I asked.
“I’m sending love to God.”
And that right there is worship, my friends. To set everything else aside and send love to God. Whether it’s through music or prayer or heartfelt gratitude, just send love to God and you are worshipping.
Through the eyes of a child…
Thank you, God, for my daughter, my little love of my life. Thank you for helping me to grow during her most formative years so that she can grow to know you also. Thank you that she has a heart for you and for truth and for love and goodness and kindness. Help me to always nurture and encourage her heart to seek You. In Jesus name, Amen.
Any act of kindness or generosity WILL make a difference! I love this quote and love the girls in their Wonder Woman pose! It’s important to be both fierce and kind, both strong and generous.
I love the emphasis on no matter how small…
The smallest act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.
So what can you do? What types of acts of kindness? Let’s brainstorm!
What would you add to this list?