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.