Monday, January 11, 2016

Where is God in this?

One of the questions people ask often after something bad happens is: Where is God in this? Why would God allow this? Why did God do this to me?

Sometimes my answer is a simple, honest one. "I don't know. I don't know what He was thinking. I don't get His plan. I'll just have to ask Him one day." The more I think about it and try to look for the logic and meaning in disasters and tragedies, the more I realize how quickly I forget this world is not my home. This world is a fallen world, made up of broken people with the freewill to do and say what they want. It's a broken world full of disease and pain and death. And until we fully realize the life we have in Jesus and Jesus only, will we understand how to cling to the promise that one day, there will be no more crying or mourning or death. That He will wipe every tear from our eyes [Revelation 21:4].

God promises us many things in this life and one of His promises is trouble [John 16:33]. Trouble with our children, trouble with our spouses, trouble with our jobs, trouble with our society, trouble with our health. Trouble on the streets and trouble inside our families. No one is exempt from hurt and trials and pain. Those things come with the territory of being a human.

In James 1, he talks about how we should delight in our suffering. I know, how obnoxious. I know when I'm angry or sad or frustrated or feel wronged, I don't delight in it and I don't want to. But the delight He's talking about isn't the cupcake with buttercream frosting kind of delight. It's the delight that brings us peace, hope, and, [for me, at least], sanity.

When bad things happen, many believers tend to say the well-meaning phrase, “It was God’s will.” While I absolutely believe in God’s will – He is the beginning and the end – we are all very capable of making choices and sometimes those choices lead to bad things happening. That is not God’s will. On the other hand, we have to go back to remembering this is a fallen world and we are broken people. Not everything is God’s will, sometimes it is just the bi-product of being a part of fallen world.

This past summer I had a miscarriage. After it happened, a friend of mine came over to talk it out with me and let our kids play. She said something that struck me: maybe one day when I get to heaven God will say, “You know what? That wasn’t my will for you. I grieved with you when that happened.”

God tells us to mourn with those who mourn [Romans 12:15] so I have no doubt He does grieve with us (even when it’s His will and even when it’s not). Maybe there was something wrong with the baby during that pregnancy that would have been harder had the pregnancy progressed. Maybe God said, no, I have something better in mind for you. Maybe He used this to draw me into Him, maybe He used this to test my trust in Him. Or maybe, just maybe, we are broken and fallen and God was sad with me when this happened.

While reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, she talked about bringing our struggles out in the open and into the light. In the dark, our fears and hurts and struggles can fester, take root, and grow deeper and taller, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and overcome. This is true on so many levels.
It’s also true that when we are struggling or hurting it's best to bring it to safe people. You know, the kind of people that won't feed it and fertilize it, but will pull you out of whatever sorrow or fear you're feeling. They will cry with you but they will also pray for you and carry you through it.

This is why I feel it wise to not air my dirty laundry at any and every given moment. For example, social media isn't anyone's whole life and most people know that. Some people choose to share everything - fights, stress, anger, politics, good times, bad times. Some people don't share anything at all. I mostly choose to share joy. Sometimes I'll share something funny or ridiculous but for the most part I choose joy. Even when I'm hurting or sad or stressed, if there is a moment of joy I can freeze and share, I'd rather do that.

Take for instance this picture.

The kids had been begging me to take them to see waterfalls all week so I had already planned on taking them to Tumwater Falls this day. They loved it. It was a simple trail with lots of dirt slides and rocks to climb. The kids had a lot of fun and I loved watching them have fun.

What you don't see is behind the camera. While this was a funny, joyful moment, I was also crying behind my sunglasses for most of this day because I found out I was miscarrying just the day before. I had a mix of joy for my babies growing into kids and having a great time and sadness from losing a pregnancy and not fully understanding why it was happening to me. I felt confused and sad and frustrated and joyful all at once.

So where was God that day? The truth is I still don’t know exactly where He was in the scheme of the whole thing. I don't know why it happened exactly and I don't understand God's exact purpose for my miscarriage. But what I do know He was there that day. I felt His presence in the days that lingered after. He was there when I put on a brave face each time someone asked me when we’re going to have another baby. He was there when I woke up in the middle of night surrendering my trust in God with whatever happened next. He was there giving me peace in my anger and hope in the midst of my doubt. Maybe one day when I see God face to face He will say, I had to do that because [blank] or maybe He will say I’m so sorry that happened to you, I grieved with you through the whole thing.

So when you’re in the midst of hardships and trials and the devastating parts of life, and you’re searching for God’s plan in this, remember God works for the good of those who love Him [Romans 8:28]. If you simply cannot see God in something happening to you and around you, remember how broken our world is and take heart, because Jesus has already overcome it [John 16:33].


  1. Such a sweet reminder. Love you dearly, friend!

  2. I am sorry that happened to you. Someone told me that my babies I lost would never have to fight the evils of this world, and that somehow got me through it. I still do not understand why those things happen but when I look back I think of how it made my patience and love for my children triple. And when its been months or years and others have forgotten and you have not, just know there are other mamas out there who still grieve too. hugs