Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

It has happened again. Another shooting at a college campus in Oregon where innocent people lost their lives. Families are devastated. Futures will never be realized. It is heart breaking. For many, these are times to question God. Where was God in all this? Why did this happen? Doesn't anyone care? Some answers we won't know this side of Heaven, but we do know this. God does care and He does see. Psalm 56:8 says this: "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." This verse is somewhat comforting to me in times of sorrow. Yet, what to do in the aftermath? How to move on? Having been through many losses myself, I can share some insight that perhaps will help soothe the pain and lend some sort of healing balm to the hurting heart.

First, take all the time you need to grieve. Grief is a deep and difficult emotion. I think it may be one of the most difficult to process. Get support. A counselor or a support group will understand and help you through this time. Be gentle with yourself. Don't medicate, ignore, or repress your feelings. We need to move through the pain so it will move through and out of us in time. Give yourself permission to cry. Crying is healing.

Second, cherish the memories. We can't bring the person back, but we can keep them alive in our minds. When something tragic happens, we gain a new perspective of life. We don't take things or people for granted any more. We cherish the times together with our loved ones. No one really knows how long we have on this earth. Each day is a precious gift, but all too often we take for granted the time we have been graciously given. Slow down. Smell the roses. Reprioritize.

Third, don't waste the pain. I think there is always a message or a lesson in the tragic and painful circumstances of life. Yes, events may appear random, but if we take the time to investigate, we may see a pattern. Patterns lead to the awareness of a problem. Awareness leads to solutions. As President Obama stated, these shootings have become routine. Routine! Ask the victims families about routine! But he is right. No one is taking action. No one is asking the tough questions like: Where has the respect for the sanctity of life gone? Why is there no limit to the number of guns in any one household? Why do we keep electing officials who allow these senseless killings to continue?

Fourth, remember there is evil in the world. How anyone can deny the duality of good and evil in light of tragedy is beyond me. Yes, people do evil things. It can't always be blamed or excused by mental illness. People are responsible for their actions and their choices. Where was the dad or the mom who allowed the purchase of these weapons into the household? Evil is a part of life on this earth. Take a look around. It's not all roses and sunshine.

Lastly, even though it may be difficult, keep your faith in God. We don't always understand why bad things happen, but as Job once said "Shall we only receive good things from the hand of God?" (Job 2:10) Trust that He will get you through this pain. You will heal in time and you will see your loved one again in Heaven someday. There will be no more pain and no more tears then. Know that God does care and He cries with you. His heart breaks when ours does. He, too, lost a child so he knows how we feel. I sometimes think He must be shaking his head, asking "When will they do something?"

The question is when will WE do something? Will we hold to our stubborn principles? Will we open our eyes to see the bigger picture? Will we feel the pain these families feel instead of turning our backs? Next time you go out to vote, will you make gun laws a major issue in your decision?

If anything, I hope this post has made you pause and think. Your family may not have been affected, but it could have been. Will you step up to the plate and be a voice for those who have already lost?

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!