That’s a question that seems to creep up over and over again in the last 2 years. My parents retired and moved close to my family. Two months later, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After some glimpses of hope, all hopes were dashed a few months later and nearly 6 months later, she was gone. Why God, why?
My good friend and his wife had their third son. There were some complications at the birth and he ended up in the NICU for the first week or so of his life, but he pulled through okay. A few months later, he was getting sick and they couldn’t figure out what it was. After some tests, they discovered a brain tumor which seemed operable. After the operation, it was discovered that the cancer had spread and he died on his 6 month birthday. Why God, why?
My father struggled mightily when he retired and losing my mother was just a portion of the total loss that he had experienced. His health went into a steady decline. Nearly two years after losing my mom, I lost my dad as well. So much for retirement. Why God, why?
Looking at pictures of the devastation in Oklahoma. Buildings crushed. Many dead and injured. A path of destruction that will take a long time to recover from. Lives forever changed. Why God, why?
Whenever we experience difficulties like this, our natural tendency is to ask that question, “Why?” Of course we want an answer, but would any answer really suffice? There are certain times in life when no answer can really help, no matter how great, no matter how theologically valid, no matter how relevant it might be.
My answer, over and over again, is that the world is broken, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Then it seems that the next question waiting in the wings is, “Couldn’t you have stopped it, God?” Not sure I have a good answer for that one though. Do we expect God’s intervention every time something bad threatens us? Do we expect that the world will be a completely safe and harmless place?
Answers fall short. I can’t bring myself to blame God, but I know that some can. Some may claim that this is the reason they can’t believe in God, how could a loving God allow this to happen?
What’s one of the first things that we hear about though? It’s about those who are dropping everything that they are doing to lend a helping hand. It’s about those who are giving of their time, resources, and money to aid those who have lost everything. It’s about those who have found a way to reach out and love on those who have experienced loss. In my mind, that’s where God is in all of this, he’s right there as people come alongside other people in love, care, and concern.
Bad things happen in life, but how do we respond? If it happens to us, do we experience others who come alongside us? If it happens to others, are we the ones who drop what we are doing to lend a hand? Maybe, God is there all along, we just haven’t been looking hard to see him. Maybe he’s right there alongside the broken, the hurting, the wounded, and the weary. Maybe he was there the whole time.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (The Message), “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”