Sunday, January 11, 2015

Is God Good When Bad Things Happen?

One of the blogs I read is written by a woman who lost a nearly full-term baby 6 hours after birth. She held her precious daughter for 6 hours and then had to let her go. Such an unimaginable tragedy. I've continued to read her blog because I prayed for her so much while she was pregnant. She's not a Christian and has processed her grief as best as she can, but my heart has broken for her because she doesn't have the hope a relationship with God can provide. She recently had a post on her blog about people saying they'll pray for you or even that God or angels were watching over when they avoided something bad. This raised the questions about whether God's watching over when you don't avoid tragedy and how trite it can seem when people say they're praying. Because I have been praying for her, I felt compelled to explain what that means to me in light of her blog post.

My blog header says that this is a place where I share about my family, my faith and my hobbies, but truthfully I haven't shared a lot about my faith. I don't know how much that will change going forward, but I wanted to share my comment to her blog post with you because it does reflect my heart for who God is. I don't get many (if any) comments on my posts, but I'm definitely up for dialoguing about this, as long as it remains respectful. You don't have to agree with me to comment, but you do have to be nice! ;O) Here's what I said. Let me know your thoughts.

"My intent with this response is not to try to diminish your feelings or grief or say that you're wrong in any way. I agree that sometimes people say they will pray because they don't know what else to say, whether they believe in God, that prayer has any power, or intend to pray or not. I understand what you're saying but just wanted to maybe try give you a little different perspective.

I'm a Christian and regularly tell people that I'll pray for them when bad things happen. We all live in the same world and experience terrible things, whether we believe in God or not. The Bible says, "God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45) That's part of the world we live in. That said, when someone experiences something tragic, what I truly pray for them (and I really do my best to pray when I tell someone I will) is that they will experience hope and comfort in spite of terrible and devastating circumstances, which is what my faith gives me.

Would I be devastated at the loss of a child. Of course! Unimaginably so. But I believe that God has good things for me and that He works every event of my life for my good, because that is His promise to those who believe in Him. Do I understand how He can do that in the midst of something unimaginable? No. I don't. And in those circumstances, it's easy to question God. But knowing who He is, as much as is possible for my human mind to comprehend, I believe that He is good even when my circumstances could make me question. God is love and anything inconsistent with love is not of God.

In the story you linked to with the example of a plane hitting a house and some people surviving and some not. I think it's easy for the survivors to respond by saying that God was looking out for them that day. Do those people really believe God is looking out for them every day or that God was or was not looking out for the people who died? Who knows. Often it's just something to say. However, I do believe that God looks out for me every day, and also for those to whom bad things happen. Does that mean bad things won't happen to me? No. I don't believe that. The Bible tells us we should expect trials of all kinds. If tomorrow is my last day, I believe God knows that today. Does it make him bad if I or someone I love dies tragically? Is He bad if I experience infertility or the loss of other dreams I have for my life or for those I love? I don't think so. What I do think is that without the hope I have in him, surviving that kind of tragedy might not be possible for me. But with Him I just might be able to make it through. Whether my prayers are for comfort after loss, for a baby I don't have, for restored relationship, or for something else, I can continue to cry out to God with my desires, but I have hope in him whether he answers my prayers in the way I hope or not. Because I believe he has plans for me that are for good, whether I can see that today or not. God is good regardless of my circumstances.

This may just seem like craziness to you, in which case you can feel free to delete my comment. Just know that I do pray for you, because losing a child has to be the most difficult thing we can experience on earth. I pray that you can have hope for a future you can't imagine and that God will comfort you until you can begin to imagine a future different than the grief you're surrounded by today. Your daughter was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us."


JoAnn said...

I just read your post and agree with everything you said. I know Jesus Christ as my savior and I know that God has helped me through a terrible tragedy last year with the loss of my husband. It was a terrible thing and I don't understand why it happened but I know that was with me and is with me every day, through the good and the bad.
God Bless you and the lady that lost her precious baby.

Amy said...

What a beautiful explanation of Faith in the face of darkness and tragedy.

Lori said...

Beautifully written Britiney, enjoyed reading it very much. You are such a sweet & kind person and that comes through in everything you do.

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