We live in a fallen sinful world, and often get caught in the fall-out of that fact, while living here on this earth.
There are times something hits us, and it is fairly easy to give it over to God and let Him take care of it. Other times, we get hit hard, and the wounds run deep. It can cause us to question the goodness of God and be outright angry at Him for allowing something horrible to happen. After all, He is God, and we know He could have stopped it from happening.
Being a Christian does not give us a “golden ticket” immune to tragedy and heartache in our lives. Yes, Jesus told us to pray “Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). I, myself, teach how prayer is taking those things in heaven (like healing), grabbing ahold of them, and pulling them down here to earth. We are told that “you have not because you ask not” (James 4:2,3) and there are several scriptures that tell us whatever we desire when we ask for something in the name of Jesus we have what we ask for.
So is God a liar? Have you prayed with faith, expecting God to move in the miraculous, and seen it go the opposite way? Have you been walking along joyfully, hand-in-hand with God, and suddenly been confronted with an unexpected tragedy that sucks the life right out of you?
I have, unfortunately, many times. Allow me to share something with you from the book When Tragedy Strikes.
I don’t remember exactly what it was, but many years ago I was asking God to change or fix something in my life. He asked me which prayer I wanted answered. I wasn’t sure what He meant. He reminded me of my consistent prayer for Him to do whatever He needed to get me where He wanted me to be. He then let me know that whatever this was I was praying against was something He wanted to use to get me where He wanted me to be.
So at that point I needed to make a decision. Did I want God to answer this immediate prayer and take me out of my misery, or did I want Him to answer the other prayer by allowing the situation to do a work in my life—getting me to where He wanted me to be? As I said, I don’t remember what that situation was, but I do remember I took the “fix it” prayer off the table and stayed with my prayer of “do whatever You want to get me where You want me to be.”
Over the years I’ve been faced with that same decision over and over again…
What determines God’s goodness? Is He good because He answers my prayers the way I want Him to? Is that what makes a person good? Because they give us what we want to make us happy? Or are they good because they know how to make right decisions for everyone involved? Are they good because they are not willing to compromise in the moment, but hold fast because they see and know the greater good further down the road?
I find it very sad when people walk away from God because He didn’t give them the answer they wanted to a prayer. God is not a vending machine where we put in the prayer, push a button, and the solution we want drops out for us.
We have a two-year-old granddaughter. She is being taught to say please and is learning that just because she says “pleeeeease” doesn’t mean she automatically gets what she wants.
When you ask someone for something, they have a choice to say yes or no. When we ask God for something, He has the choice to say yes or no. Did I want Him to say yes and allow Becca to stay here on this earth? Of course I did, with every fiber of my being! As a matter of fact, I believed He was actually going to heal her heart, either through a miracle or through a heart transplant. As I stated earlier, I was totally blindsided when she died—even though she was very sick. Once again I was forced to face that bottom-line prayer I have prayed almost all my life, of giving God permission to do whatever He wanted to do to get me where He wanted me to be. And this time it cost me an extremely high price.
Do I believe God killed my daughter to use it in some way in my life? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Do I believe that God allowed the natural consequences of a fallen and sinful world to take effect, not stopping it, even though many people were praying for her healing? Yes, I do. Do I still give Him permission to do what He wants to do as God, instead of what I want Him to do, because He can see so much more than I can see? ABSOLUTELY!
I have chosen not to change my thoughts and beliefs on who God is just because I did not get a prayer answered the way I wanted Him to, no matter how painful it may be.
So what can we do when life throws us more than just a curve ball; one that hits us and knocks us down (and can even take us out of the game for a while)?
- Make the choice to forgive. It might be one person, or it could be a long list of people who had a part in the traumatic event. This can include yourself, God, and even someone you loved who caused your deep pain (such as someone who caused their own death, either on purpose or through negligence).
- Get past the paralyzing question of “Why?”
- Give yourself lots and lots of grace. And give that same grace to others in your family who are handling the tragedy (which includes grieving) differently than you.
- Connect with other people who have faced a similar situation who are walking in hope and light and life again. They need to be people who won’t try to push you out of your grief, but help you walk through it.
Unfortunately, this article does not have time to dig into the “how” to do these things. Plus, these are only four of several steps you can take to work your way out of the pit of darkness and back into the light of living again.
If you want to dig further into these things, or if you need someone to walk with you, offering the hope you are desperate for, you may want to consider purchasing the book When Tragedy Strikes. It was written after the death of our daughter, specifically for other grieving parents, but I am being told by more and more people how it has helped them in other places of tragedy and darkness as well.
Here is an example of what people are saying about it.
“Reading her book is like having a friend who has been there walk alongside you as you try to make sense out of tragedy.”
“This book has not only helped me in coming closer to God and trusting him more. It has helped restore my faith.”
“Her words inspire you to find your way out of the darkness; then know the hope and healing!”
“So much in these pages really spoke to my heart about my own pain…I believe it can and will help others get through that dark pain of the soul.”
“She gives hope for healing and methods to move further along in the healing process.”
When Tragedy Strikes will be released in stores July 5, 2016. But it can be preordered at almost any book retailer right now (such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, etc). And if you preorder the paperback by July 4, 2016, I would love to say thank you by blessing you with 13 other books by 13 different authors for FREE! (These books have a value of over $120.) To find out about this special offer, or more about the book itself, just click here. And please use the social media share buttons provided to let others know about it this limited opportunity to get 14 books for the purchase of one book.
Some people accuse Christians of using God as a crutch. I tell people that isn’t true for me. I use God as my wheelchair! I don’t know how anyone gets through this life without depending on Him.
May God be your wheelchair, and may the seed of Hope be watered in your shattered heart, bringing life from the depths of darkness and death. After all, that is God’s specialty; bringing life from death!