One of the questions I hear a lot, and I’m sure you do too, is ‘If God is so good and loving, why does he let bad things happen?’ Even from long-time Christians, this question pops up now and then.
“No, my girl. Never be grateful for tragedy, but always trust that God can use it in His good plan for you.” (Miriam, chapter 8, p. 60)
It’s a question I asked fourteen years ago when my husband’s brother, David, died after an accident at work. That alone would have been terrible, but my in-laws are some of the sweetest, most faithful Christians I have ever known. They had been missionaries to Africa since they were married and had raised all three of their children there. They rushed halfway around the world to say goodbye to their son arriving just hours before his body finally failed.
This son had felt the same call to the mission field. He and his wife had recently finished a two-year term as teachers in a mission school and were raising support to go back full time. So many hopes and dreams were dashed by a fall from a ladder. A young wife was left to raise two children, barely more than toddlers. The question on many people’s minds, if not their lips, Why would God take him?
Taliah pulled her hand away. “If this is your God’s plan, I don’t like it.”
“Our God always has a plan. We just don’t always know it.”
Sometimes bad things are the result of living in a fallen world. My pastor explains it as being in the ‘already and not yet’. The Kingdom of God already came with Jesus’ birth, but the complete fulfillment of it hasn’t happened yet. Satan and his angels still roam the earth wreaking havoc, especially for God’s followers.
I don’t know if David’s death was God’s original plan or if it was a tragic result of living in a fallen world. I know that we who loved David have grown closer to God and each other. My sister-in-law has remarried a good man – they are not in the mission field, but are active in home missions. My husband had fallen into depression after his brother’s death, but is now finding his way out of it and is stronger than before.
I cannot be grateful for the tragedy, I cannot like it, but I can look back and see that God made good things come from it. I know that, because the fulfillment of the Kingdom hasn’t come yet, more bad things will happen in this broken world. But I can lean on God through it all, knowing he has a plan and will bring good out of the bad.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11