In grieving, and in believing in Christ, I often hear "reasons" for why bad things happen. Whether it's from someone trying to make sense of someone else's pain, or someone grasping at straws for how they could be expected to endure their own tragedy, everyone wants an answer. And rightly so. We, as humans, appreciate logic and reason and therefore want to implement them especially in explanations of why we're suffering. There are some I've heard often enough, however, that I feel compelled to call out as false. If you're a believer, and if you're believing these lies, stop. And certainly, stop offering them up to others. Bear with me, and be prepared to disagree with me, I'm sure. Here we go.
1. My loved one died so young because God saved them from a worse fate later on in life.
No. No, no, no. Try telling that to the paraplegic who is the sole survivor of a horrible vehicle accident. God does not save us by killing us. If this were true, he would have saved me long ago from this broken heart. But no, here I am, living through the death of my daughter. Accidents are accidents, diseases fall upon the unsuspecting, and evil exists in our world and all of these certainly end up taking the lives of our loved ones - but not because we weren't saved from them by dying sooner, and not because we're being saved from something far worse. God sent his son to die ONE death as redemption of sin, to save us and bring us in to eternal life with Him. He doesn't take us on a whim to spare us from future suffering. "I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." ~ John 16:33
2. God needed another angel.
The God I serve is almighty, all powerful, and omnipresent. He doesn't need anything. He certainly didn't need my baby more than I did. His angels are powerful. His angels are purposeful. His angels are doing what they're supposed to be. My precious infant daughter wasn't called up to command the angel army. And she certainly didn't die because God somehow ended up short-staffed and suddenly panicked in trying to find souls to build his robust heavenly army. I remember very distinctly, and very vividly, how I felt the Lord grieving with us. Crying alongside us. I don't think that would have been the case, had he taken her because he "needed" to.
3. It's because I did ____ or didn't do _____ once upon a time.
Stop blaming yourself. Right now. Stop it. You could have memorized the Bible. You could have run over a puppy when you were a teenager. None of those events, whether good or bad, would have changed this outcome. Our punishment will come when we choose to separate ourselves from God, and our name is not found in the book of life. Not because we didn't cross this t or dot this i or give a dollar to a homeless person on our way to work. Stop blaming yourself. There are people who do horrible things and pay no consequences. There are people who do everything right and suffer immensely. We aren't saved, or punished, by our deeds.
4. It was God's will.
Which part? For my daughter to die? For my family to suffer? For my heart to be broken every day? For my three year old to not understand why her baby sister will never play with her? He willed this? I don't know about you, but I worship a just, loving, jealous God. He wouldn't will this on me. He didn't will this on me. Or you. Or anyone. God has a plan, absolutely. But just because something happened in our lives, does not mean He ordained it.
5. Because I need to learn something.
And you will. You absolutely will. But is that the reason this happened to begin with? Did Harlynn die because I needed to learn how to be compassionate? Because I needed to learn how to not cry in front of other people? Because I needed to learn about stillbirth? The reason my daughter died was strictly for educational purposes? Again - No. No, no, no.
Okay, Val - so if these are "lies" - then what? What am I supposed to believe? What is the reason for all of this?
The answer is simple. Maybe too simple. And maybe not one we can, or want to, accept. But it's the truth. We live in a fallen world. Once upon a time, Satan convinced people he knew better than their creator. And with sin, he took foot in this earth. He prowls around and picks us off, one by one. Things happen that cause us to doubt, question, and examine the roots of our faith. And Satan enjoys and soaks up every minute of it. Death is horrible. It's unfair. It's heartbreaking. When we're not the ones who die.
But take heart! God has overcome the world. He has overcome the evil. The heartache. The devil. And our suffering is not in vain. No sir. Our suffering, or how we rely on God in it, is a direct testimony to His power and all He has in store for us. And what's in store for Satan....well....he'll burn in hell for his choices.
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