Why does God allow bad things to happen?

July 11, 2011

This is a guest post by my friend Erica McNeal. She is a wife, mommy, blogger, and author (you will be seeing her writings in bookstores soon). She has an amazing story – one I hope you will be encouraged by today. You can read more about her on her blog or follow her on Twitter or Facebook. If you are interested in writing a guest post for my blog, contact me.

In 33 years of life, I have experienced more tragedy than most people experience in a lifetime. I have conquered a rare form of cancer 3 times and experienced the loss of 5 children, 2 of which I held in my arms.

Erica's daughter Kylie (Click on the picture to read Kylie's story)

Nothing can prepare you to hear a doctor say you could only have 2 months left to live if your cancer returns. Or that your child is about to come into the world 17 weeks too soon! Or that a son given to you will be returning to his birth-family because they changed their mind. 

These extreme devastations would have completely destroyed my life if it weren’t for my relationship with Jesus Christ.

These tragedies forced me from a very young age to firmly decide what I believed about God and build my responses around that belief system.

  • Was God the almighty cosmic killjoy, just using me as a puppet?
  • Or perhaps He was a stern judge, punishing me for my sinful nature?
  • Maybe He really didn’t care or love me since bad things were happening in my life, because if He cared, He could have prevented them, right?

Or was it possible, that these trials in my life were breaking His heart, just as much as they were breaking mine?

I chose to find the answers to these questions through His Word. I wanted to understand what God Himself had to say about what I was going through. While it is so easy to pull bible verses out of context to fit whatever response I wanted to have, I really dug deep to try and understand God’s heart, not my own.

Erica & her husband Todd

During my greatest need to know that the God I loved, loved me in return, I found great strength and comfort through His vulnerability displayed in the Passion Week. I could clearly see that God was not a cosmic killjoy or simply a stern judge. He was a compassionate, loving, humble and most importantly, a relational God.

I learned that God’s love is so intense that He allowed His Son Jesus to suffer and die, because He desired to have a personal relationship with me. The suffering of Jesus was so extreme and went further than anyone can truly comprehend. What struck me most though, was that God had all the power in the world to stop this from happening. He could have chosen a different way for reconciliation! Yet, He chose to allow Himself to suffer – what an intense love!

Understanding this concept forced me to these two conclusions:

1)     If God was willing to allow Jesus to suffer, why should I be any different?

2)     If God was willing to allow Jesus to die for me, should I not be willing to live for Him?

So I found myself at a crossroads.

I could become embittered and angry that God would allow these trials in my life. Or, I could choose acceptance and look for ways to glorify God through my circumstances. Through my experiences, I have learned that God will allow us to be stretched beyond our human capabilities in order to show us our need for Him, to deepen our faith and to show us His strength is limitless.

When we choose to use our trials to build rapport with others that have suffered in similar ways, relationships are built. And when relationships are built, we are given opportunities to share the incredible love of our Creator. Isn’t that the purpose of our life anyway?

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It is through these personal tragedies, I’ve written Good Grief! – a resource guide filled with the great support my husband and I received during our darkest moments, and the harmful words that stunted our recovery. 

Good Grief! fills in the relational gap between people who are suffering that don’t know what they need and their family and friends that don’t know what to say or do. There is a disparity between the two that often lead to conflict and unmet expectations – on both sides.

My husband and I have decided that all proceeds from the sale of this eBook will go directly to families in the middle of their own trials: 1 young family struggling through cancer treatment and 2 families adopting high medical needs children.

Through the purchase of Good Grief!, not only are you learning how to tangibly love and support someone who is suffering, but you are becoming a part of someone else’s miracle!

You can purchase Good Grief! here. 

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What would you say to someone who asked “Why do bad things happen to good people?” You can comment here.