The very, very short of it goes something like this: we emptied our savings and purchased a house and then went through two months of no paychecks. There were other things that happened to cost ridiculous amounts of money that we didn't have. We weren't sure IF there was a job or where the job was. Everything was changing constantly. We were in danger, several times, of losing the house we were going to buy and were then renting. And for the first few months it was easy, but then it wasn't any more. And we were tired. And when you don't know how you are going to take care of two little people entrusted to you, and as you watch your careful stewardship of finances disappear, you find yourself in a pretty dark hole.
So, of course I got to the point of saying "Okay, Lord. I gave you everything. I really, truly trusted you with EVERYTHING. And You're not providing a job. (Oh, sure, He was providing money in amazing ways, and provided our house when we should have lost it, and provided the job faster than it should have happened, we later found out. But that wasn't what I was interested in seeing at the time. I wanted the answer to be a job and a paycheck on time with no delays, and no hardships. Because if you trust God that means you get a free pass, right? Ha. No, very wrong. That's not the way it works.) I said, "I have given my life to You- why is this the way You're playing us?"
My friend, Debbie, is awesomely blogging her way through her experience with breast cancer HERE. And when I read her newest post today, I took a deep breath and nodded "yes." Yes. Yep.
If God is good, why do bad things happen?
I think we have all asked this question. Struggled with it. Wrestled and fought with it and kicked and spit and screamed at it.
(It's worth saying that the season when I found myself asking that question with my whole heart is also when I learned that worship is the most genuine when you're broken.)
And the conclusion that I got to (after figuratively pounding my fists on God's chest while sobbing and pleading and begging) was this: this world is a broken place with broken, mortal people. God had other plans- but it is what we made it. And being human means you WILL be broke, get sick, experience tragedy, and beyond. That's just life. The choice isn't "do you want pain or no pain?" The question is only "Do you want to do it alone or with God?" The kicker: Being His won't save you from the tragedy. But it will bring you peace, hope, and comfort in the midst of unavoidable tragedy.
I had heard that answer before but always felt it was trite and impersonal and too easy. When I asked that question myself, that answer became profound and strong and the truth I clung to. That paradigm shift, or change in thinking, took God from being the object of my frustration and anger, and allowed me understand His comfort and blessings. It brought a heart grateful for Arms that were carrying me when the journey was long and my legs collapsed underneath me.
You know what? I think it's sort of cool when people ask why God allows bad things to happen: it means they acknowledge He has the power to do something about it. (That's something some would previously have denied, ironically.) Think about it- if God isn't real, or if God is too weak to affect circumstances, we have no beef with Him. But if we believe God is big enough to stop our tragedy, if He is great enough to be Lord over his creation....the truth is that we also have a God bigger than we can understand, who doesn't answer to us, who uses all things to His glory, and who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine.
Could he stop it? Yep.
Does he stop it? Not always.
Why? That's not mine to answer. A guy named Job did once. God said THIS. (And that's only one chapter. He continues through chapter 41.)
Why this blog post now? Because I've finally had enough time to process it. Because I've finally found the words I want to use. Because a friend reminded me it was okay for Christians to ask that question. Because no question I'm going to ask, and no answer I'm going to find, is going to result in me finding God to be anything other than who He has already shown himself to be: my God, my Provider, my Comforter, my Friend, my Daddy.
And I'm sitting on the other side watching Him put pieces back together again faster than is logically possible.
God can handle our angry questions. Angry questions mean we're talking.