I think everyone at some point asks the question “If God is good, why does GOD allow bad things to happen?” It’s a huge, deep complicated question, one that I sometimes ponder. Don’t get me wrong, I see the beauty that comes from the ashes, but, if I’m honest with myself, I had to ask why do we have to get burned and reduced to ash in the first place?
I used to live in an apartment complex with my then three year old daughter. The laundry facility was in a central location so we had to carry it across the parking lot to the main office. It wasn’t a busy parking lot generally but I was always diligent about watching for cars anyway. This particular day I had a larger load of laundry and was struggling to carry it and hold my daughter’s hand. She was good about sticking close so I wasn’t too worried.
We began to cross the parking lot and had to walk between two cars. For some reason, she began to walk ahead of me a bit instead next to me like she usually did. Just then I saw a car coming at a pretty good speed. I knew they could not see her because the parked car was blocking their view. I went to grab her hand but just then the laundry basket I was holding became entangled on the side view mirrors of the cars I was walking between jolting me back and blocking me from her. She didn’t notice and kept walking.
Instant panic set in.
I called her name and told her to stop but she didn’t answer. I tried to dislodge the basket but it wasn’t budging. She was out of hands reach and was completely unware that this car was coming. She never really walked in front of me and I always guided her but now she was walking straight into the path of this car. My upper body blocked by the basket, my voice unable to reach her, my baby almost too far away for me to reach… I did the only thing I could think to do. It was complete instinct.
I kicked her. Hard. Hard enough to make sure it stopped her dead in her tracks.
She slammed to the ground on all fours scraping her knees and hands. Seconds later, the car blazed by oblivious to the now thwarted accident. Interestingly enough, so was my daughter. I ducked under the suspended basket and crawled over to her. She was crying and screaming “You kicked me!!! Mommy you hurt me!” It never occurred to her that she should be saying “You saved me”. I never told her either. I just picked her up, told her how much I loved her, asked if she was okay and took her back home.
I dressed her wounds and made sure she knew how much I cared. At three years old, she would never understand what just happened and if I tried to explain it, it might just scare her more. Of course, when she got older and able to understand, I taught her safety with crossing the street and looking both ways as most parents do. But, in that moment, at that time, she just needed to be saved.
That is how I look at GOD. Not that GOD causes all the hurts and pain in this world; I am in no way suggesting that. But, I know for me, sometimes I think my free will blocks GOD from reaching me. Sometimes I feel like GOD is calling my name, but life is often distracting and I don’t hear it. I cringe when I imagine how many times I may have unknowingly walked straight into the path of danger and GOD gave me a good swift kick knocking me on my knees. A divorce, job loss, end of friendship, a health crisis or loss of family because of who you love…you know…kicked.
Bruised, bleeding and scared, GOD comes to pick us up, tends to our wounds and makes sure we know we’re loved. Never divulging how much danger we were in, never really getting upset because we accused our loving GOD of hurting us. Most importantly, GOD waits until we are mature and ready.
Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (KJV). I think to even begin to reconcile the stark incongruences about our good GOD and the horrible atrocities that happen in our world, we first have to recognize that we see through “a glass, darkly”, never really having a true and accurate picture of what is really happening. While I don’t have all of the answers (okay not even one), I propose that maybe we start by first questioning our own perception and understanding and in the meantime put our efforts into preventing tragedy and helping one another through the pain.
Prayer: GOD, thank you for coming to our rescue, even when we don’t see it that way. We acknowledge that we may never fully understand and be able to reconcile YOUR goodness with the evil that surrounds us. Help us instead to know that YOU love us and will be with us every step of the way. Please tend to our wounds and continue to supernaturally protect and guide us.