Sometimes bad things happen.
The Bible says: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Which isn’t a lot of comfort for those going through the difficult time, I’m sure. How can a terminal illness, the loss of a parent or a child, the loss of a job, all possibly be good?!
We, as sinful creatures, can’t see the big picture. We can’t see God’s plan and therefore can’t see the outcome of this tragedy.
“then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.” Ecclesiastes 8:17
About a year ago, the daughter of a woman I work with was pregnant with twins. They knew fairly early on in the pregnancy that one of the babies was healthy and developing well, while the other was not. Both babies were alive, Mom could feel them both in her belly, but she and Dad knew that within moments of giving birth, the most joyous of occasions, they would be planning the future for one and a funeral for the other.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
Zoe and Jude were born, Zoe weighed around six pounds and Jude around four. Both were beautiful babies and on the outside looked perfect, but baby Jude was unable to breathe on his own and within minutes Mom and Dad watched in horror as he gasped for his last breath.
“Why?” They asked.
“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” Ecclesiastes 11:5
At home, Zoe and Mom are doing well although she struggles with the loss of Jude of course, but has absolutely taken to being a mom and loves it.
“Why?” They still ask… but Grandma, the woman I work with, has been given insight and can see the blessing through this tragedy;
- Had Jude died in the womb, it could have caused severe complications both to Zoe and Mom
- They were all allowed time with Jude alive, albeit a short amount, but they were able to hold him and to pour their love into those moments they were blessed with him.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-34,36b
About 20 years ago now, God called Jax’s mom home after her battle with cancer. She had two daughters married with families of their own, Jax was in college, and her youngest daughter was in middle school.
I’m sure none of them thought it was a good thing to lose their mother, but through it God has been glorified;
- Her sisters came to know Christ after seeing the peace God had given her family through this tragedy
- Her children are able to empathize with and minister to others so young dealing with the loss of a parent
- Jax returned home to be with his dad, now that he was alone, therefore Jax and I met
- I came to know Christ after meeting Jax, as well as countless others since… including our own children
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
We will never know God’s plans this side of heaven, but we do know that all things happen for the good of His Kingdom, for His glory, and to draw us into a closer relationship with Him.
One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city.
The rabbi watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback
suddenly attacked the town, killing innocent men, women, and children.
Some of the slaughtered were his own disciples.
Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: “Oh, if only I were God.”
An astonished student, standing nearby, asked
“But, Master, if you were God, what would you do differently?”
The rabbi replied: “If I were God I would do nothing differently.
If I were God, I would understand.”
~ As told by Joanna Laufer and Kenneth S. Lewis in Inspired (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 5.