Why do bad things happen to good people? The question is asked again and again but simply floats into oblivion without an answer. This past week we watched in horror as another senseless shooting took the lives of two innocent people. Their young lives were snuffed out without warning in a place in which they deemed a safe haven.
As we travel the pathway of life we never know what will befall us or when our life will come to an end. If we knew what was to occur we wouldn’t cope just waiting for the catastrophe to happen. On the other hand, if we all knew the time and place of our death, would we change how we live today?
I have often asked God why he made me a poor writer and not a wealthy heiress. I have questioned why I spent my life in poverty without a father who cared about me. God has shown me the answers to my questions bit by bit as I watch the pieces of my life fall into place. You see I believe we are all being molded by God to become the people we are. He continually works in our lives allowing both the good and bad to touch us but tilting the wheel just enough to allow us to be formed in the shape we will ultimately be made.
He gives us free will to choose which door we will venture through and what we will do on the other side. What do you say to someone who is grieving over the loss of the child? There are no words; only comfort and love. God doesn’t promise us lives without sorrow but he does promise us strength and grace to survive the pain.
My father left our family when I eight years old and he never looked back. We lived in poverty with a God fearing mother who taught us right from wrong and how to fight for our beliefs. She taught us to work hard, be respectful of others, and love our children as God had loved us. My father, on the other hand, was the closest to a gigolo that anyone could be. Two of my siblings and I went to see him just before he died. On the day he died he was buying lottery tickets; perhaps in the hope a win would save his life. He wanted us to bring him home to my mother but we could not. The last words he ever spoke to us were, “you’re leaving me in the lurch”. It seemed an ironic statement for a man that had abandoned his five children and wife and never looked back in 33 years. He died just hours after we left him.
It’s true that “dear old Dad” left us a legacy of poverty, but God in his grace interceded and provided a Christian neighbor to stop by our little shack every Sunday morning to drive us to church; (even when we didn’t want to go). My oldest brother was my only sibling whose life was influenced by my father. He acquired some of Dad’s nasty habits and never found his true peace in life. He died with only one of his children by his bedside and his oldest son didn’t even attend his funeral.
I know my life would have been different if my father had been part of it. I wouldn’t have been the Christian I am today. God has closed many doors in my life and often I ask him why. Then something happens that changes everything and I see the reason that God allowed that door to close. I can’t explain why God allows senseless murders, horrific natural disasters, or pain and suffering.
I just know it’s very easy to trust God when things go well, but when the road is rocky or crumbles beneath our feet, do we stumble and curse him or do we reach up to his hand?
The answer lies within each one of us.