How did a good God allow THIS to happen? I am guessing you have thought or asked that question at some point in your life. Possibly you are asking it right now.
The loss of the one you love that took your breath away.
The betrayal that split your heart in two.
The storm that took your belongings, or loved one, or possibly, even your hope.
Why does God allow these things and so much more?
Friend, I have wrestled with THE question. How does a God who loves me, has heard my prayers, and works all things together for good allow THIS to happen?
In the aftermath of unfathomable destruction and devastation in Kentucky from the recent tornado, alongside other daily news reports of loss and heartache, I have heard of many who are grappling with the tension of a perfect and loving God who allows bad things to happen to good people.
As I read or heard heartbreaking stories this week, I was reminded of Jesus weeping for his friend, Lazarus.
I never noticed until today that just before Jesus wept, His friend was wrestling with these questions too: why doesn’t the Lord prevent all heartache and where is He when we can’t feel His presence? “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32)
If you had been here. Ouch. The tone I hear in my head is one of despair, agony, anger, and accusation.
I’ve thought almost those same words. “Where were you Lord, when I prayed for my sister to recover and live another day?” or “Where were you when I prayed and asked you to help and bless my family?” Maybe you have asked something similar. Where was the Lord when you prayed for your loved one to return home, turn back to the Lord, recover from illness, be spared pain, or make it through one more night?
The Lord knows when we are wrestling. He is big enough and strong enough to handle our questions and be a safe place to bring our fears and sorrow. We can’t keep them hidden from Him even if we try. He can take it and will still be standing after all the questions are asked. He can help us through our uncertainty as long as we don’t choose to stay and live there. We have to keep moving toward trust and hope, looking to Him, as He has always expected of His people.
Jesus was told “he whom you love is ill” (John 11: 3 ESV). Verse 5 tells us “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus experienced love in this life. He also knew the present, past, and future.
Jesus knew his friend was ill. He knew Lazarus would die. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead and that Lazarus would live again. Not only would Lazarus live, but he would be right there with Jesus.
Yet, Jesus wept. (John 11:35).
John 11:33-34 tells us, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. “
The Lord experienced sadness, pain, rejection, loss, and grief.
He knows the hurt and emotions you are experiencing.
He can empathize like no one on this earth can.
Take your troubles to Him. (Matthew 11:28).
Remember Jesus’ words, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In Psalms 56:8 David writes, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.” Oh, how many nights I have tossed and turned in my bed and cried what felt like rivers of tears. I imagine you have too.
David reminds me the Lord sees and knows. He loves me and you and them. He can not only count our tears but can capture them.
Volumes have been written about why God allows good people to suffer. I don’t count myself as one with enough wisdom or space to give an adequate answer to that question in a blog post.
But I trust the God who knows.
I look forward to the day He will wipe away every tear, when there will be no more death, mourning, pain, or crying. (Revelation 21:4)
I’m seen and loved by the same God who created me and was willing to give his Son for me. The one who said, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” (Isaiah 41
Starting today, hold His hand and don’t let go. If you need to, pray for the Lord to hold fast to your hand when you don’t think you can hold on any longer yourself. That’s what I did on hard days.
Let the storm roar. At times, you may feel like the storm has taken everything. In some cases, it may have. We can’t control the storm no matter how much we worry or try.
But we can know how the story ends (spoiler alert: God wins!).
And we can still cry at the sad parts.
Weep for what you’ve lost. Wrestle through hard questions if you need to. But hold tight to Him and you will come out standing on the other side. (Matthew 7:24-27; James 4:8). Draw near to Him in obedient faith and the Lord has promised to one day raise you and me to be with Him too.
We can do it together. I’ll hold your other hand.
–After writing what was on my heart, I realized my timing is not very festive. After thinking about it, I’m still posting for those of you struggling with loss. I’m learning heartbreak and heartache are magnified at the holidays. Difficulties feel harder to manage when viewed through the twinkle of Christmas lights. Memories are more vivid and wounds feel more raw while listening to music that transports to the past. The ache of missing loved ones is more acute when scrolling past pictures of happy families.
If you are experiencing the perfect Christmas, I’m so happy for you! Enjoy and make lots of memories. If you can, take a moment to look around and grab someone who might be hurting’s hand.
If this year is tough for you, you are seen by the One who loves you and are not alone.