There are times when things happen to people, tragedy strikes, a young person dies, a parent with young children dies- and I wonder why God? Why did this happen? Why didn’t you heal them?
I know that you can, and sometimes you do, but why not this time?
Have you ever felt that way? I have been angry at God sometimes for this very thing- wondering why some children grow up in homes where their parents abuse and neglect them, while others are showered with love and attention in abundance. How can God stand it?
I can’t see a pattern. Tragedy seems to strike randomly, without rhyme or reason.
In Sacred Parenting, Gary L. Thomas says that he feels God chooses to heal- not based on faith or obedience necessarily- but perhaps this is “God’s providential choice, offered without explanation or apology.”
He continues, “here is where the Lord seems to beckon us to what the ancients called the spiritual discipline of surrender. Paganism seeks to manipulate divine forces to serve human will: Do the right thing, and you obligate God to respond in a certain way. Authentic Christianity seeks to surrender the human will in order to serve and give glory to the divine God.”
I remember reading this and thinking, I don’t know how I feel about this portrayal of God. Then he goes on to talk about how mysterious God is, there are so many things that we can’t explain or understand.
So when people mourn, we mourn with them, for the desperate sense of sadness and injustice. That this was not how it was meant to be, sadness and death, tragedy.
There are no easy answers to the questions that arise, and to try to provide them is more for ourselves than for those who are grieving- we want to have a reason- or good answers.
The Bible teaches us how to respond to tragedy and grief in our own lives and those around us- but it does not explain the why. Why tragedy strikes certain families and not others. We don’t know.
Trust enters the picture- we have to choose to trust God with all the things we can’t know, and believe that He loves our children even more than we do.
He loves us more than anyone else- so when we can’t see the reason and we can’t understand- that gives us all the more reason to cling to God because we know that He understands- not only the depth of our grief and sense of injustice, but He also sees the whole picture and we can trust Him with all that is outside what we can know in this life.
I don’t know. Even after writing all of this, I feel as though it all seems inadequate? How can I truly know or comprehend how I might respond to grief until I go through a horrible tragedy?
Can we understand the depth of sorrow nor how one navigates it without ever entering into it ourselves? So I wonder, what has brought comfort to those who have gone through the most awful tragic situations? How have they responded?
A professor from the one of the schools I attended recently lost his daughter to a pulmonary embolism- completely unexpected, without warning- she died at 32. Here are some of his thoughts (these are links to articles on his blog)
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part One
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Two- Five things not to say to the Grieving
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Three- The Hope of Grieving
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Four- Let Yourself Grieve
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Five- We have no right to life
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Six- The Ante-Chamber to Eternity
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Seven- Wisdom for Consoling
- Good Grief: Soundings, Part Eight-on Praying
I hope that you find comfort in the words of someone who is presently working his way through grief- and understands the depth of pain that can come from unexpected loss.
If you have links or thoughts to share that would help those who may be grieving, please leave a comment.