I Have a SERIOUS Question

By: Jane

May 12 2011

Category: God


Last night’s local paper gave all of the details of the brutal murder of a nine-year old girl in a nearby town. It was a difficult article for anyone to read, and it has been troubling me ever since.

Let me say at the outset that I am a person of faith. I have believed in God since I was old enough to understand that there might be one, and I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for 40 years. I’m not a newbie to this faith thing, nor am I a seeker. As I have mentioned in previous posts, however, questions of faith regularly surface for me. Questions that I am unable to answer on my own, and that make it difficult to reconcile what I believe with what is.

I don’t think that God asks us to blindly believe without ever asking any questions. In fact, I think that He expects, or at least hopes, that we will not just write Him off without asking them. So once again, I have asked Him: “Where were You? Why didn’t you help her?”

There are all kinds of answers that have been satisfactory to me in the past…..before a child so close to home that I could have taught her in school was assaulted, strangled and beaten by someone she didn’t even know. I know that we are not living in heaven here. I know that evil exists, and that every one of us has the freedom of choice to seek good or evil. I know that God’s ways are higher than my ways, and certainly that there are plenty of things I don’t understand. I believe that God is sovereign, and that ultimately, He will repay, avenge, forgive those who seek His forgiveness, judge….that He is merciful and yet just. I believe all of that. But it’s going to be difficult for me to sing in church this Sunday…”You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need.”

Can anybody help me with this? I know that some of you would call this proof that He doesn’t exist at all. I’m not there. But I’m also not hearing all of the pat answers that have sufficed in the past. What I have done, as I always do, is asked Him. He’s always spoken to me in a variety of ways, I’m thinking that perhaps He will speak through some of you.


14 comments on “I Have a SERIOUS Question”

  1. Jane, I struggle with this question regarding many things…and I don’t know the answer, but I do know, as you do as well, that God is sovereign, and He knows what this terrible tragedy will accomplish in others’ lives for good…we may never know the answers to these questions until we meet Him face to face…<3

    • I know, Diann, and I guess, unless He wants to favor me with His understanding and knowledge, I’m just going to have to accept that. I read a book once, called “The Shack.”. It was about just such a case as this, where a father was trying to come to terms with the murder of his child. It’s a potentially life changing book, as it gives a personal take on how the parent of a murdered child reconciles that fact with His concept/knowledge of God. I’ll have to reread it. It had some answers, as I recall. Thank you for responding, and for jogging my memory.

  2. Jane, I am truly sorry for the deep sorrow you are carrying…I can feel it in your words. I understand how you’re feeling- I struggled with similar unsettling and conflicted thoughts for many years. I’m interested in a mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts about this, but in a private format. We can “chat” through email or fb messaging if you’d like. Again, I’m sorry for your pain 😦

  3. The only way I can “resolve” these kinds of questions in my mind (and this is a gross oversimplification, no doubt) is to resign myself to the fact that because I am not God, I am only ever seeing a very small piece of a much bigger picture. His purposes are higher than mine, and because I believe that He is good and just, I have to trust that He allowed this horrific tragedy to happen for reasons I will probably never know this side of Heaven. However, it definitely doesn’t make me “feel” better about this crime, and it doesn’t keep me from wanting to return evil for evil.

    • I know, April, that He allowed His Son to go through far worse than even this child had to endure. But, it was His choice. She didn’t choose this. In the case of Michael, I have said that it’s a good thing He didn’t give me a choice, because I would have said “no, You can’t have Him.”. I’ve come to realize how ignorant that would be, because He does have our best interests, and the world’s best interests at heart. Still, because I don’t see the whole picture, it is impossible to understand, and, even by faith, to swallow.

  4. My take? I’m angry that evil got another innocent. There is no realistic resolution for us. This horror is made worse because of its closeness: your backyard, as it were. And so, our corporate cry goes out to that same sovereign God: justice! justice!

    But there is no justice, not really, in the face of death. Until we can live in that “other place,” that “kingdom place,” that place where everything makes sense, death and pain get their wins, their battles and their attacks will continue to be senseless: a veritable tsunami.

    Oh, damn it, there’s the reminder. Death, pain, suffering, extreme loss are happening all over the world, right now. Women watch their children starve, people drown, old people die alone in apartments and no one even knows it. Injustice. Cruelty. I hate it.

    The pain nearby reminds me of the pain far away.

    What can I do? What can you do? Touch one. Love one. Believe in the survivors in the face of those who die. When Christ walked the Earth, he did not heal them all. Many people continued to suffer and die. But every death has meaning to God. Every death creates something new. [John 12:24]

    And like the debate with Job, God doesn’t really much care if Human “understands.” We never will. We cannot.

    Trust the Christ. Walk on water. Surrender.

    • Oh, thank you , Irm. It’s good to be reminded that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His children. And also, your solution…..touch one, one at a time. Your response is quite helpful to me.

  5. I don’t have comforting answers. I think God gave us life and our planet to do what we please with it, and as the Holocaust and 9/11 and thousands of other events attest to God doesn’t interfere. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t act, but he his main method of acting is us.

    • “His main method of acting is us.”. That puts a whole new perspective on it…not one that I was unaware of, but one that I’d not considered in this case. I know that most often He does not use what we would call miracles. Thanks for taking a moment to read and comment. I really value your insights.

  6. Wow, I’m sorry to hear about all of this, Jane. It’s absolutely tragic and heartbreaking.

    I second Charlie’s comment about us being God’s main means of acting in the world. But that’s hardly a comforting thought.

    The only real source of comfort I find in times like this, as we’re faced with the reality of the Kingdom being “now, but not yet”… is knowing that whatever happens now, it’s not the end. We look forward to a time where we are all resurrected, completely freed and cleaned from the evil in this world, and brought in the beautiful and wonderful and glorious Kingdom that God promises. A place where that little girl will live in joy, where Jesus himself can tell her how much he cried when she was hurt, and how she will never be hurt or threatened again.

    It’s not much of an answer, but focusing on the future hope we have in Christ helps sustain us through the times when things just aren’t making sense.

    It’s also helpful to know that God is totally ok with us NOT singing things like ”You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need” if we’re busy crying out in grief and asking how he still is those things.

    • Thanks, Peter…actually, now but not yet IS comforting to me…helpful in reconciling how something like this could be. Also, that she is alright now, that there will be a time when the last will be first, and innocents like her will be at the front of the line.
      Thank yo So much for responding, and also for letting me know that when I can’t sing….well, I can’t sing. And He’s ok with that.

  7. I have similar struggles with this kind of evil….several weeks ago I was talking about the goodness of God or something similar….or actually I think I posted it on my facebook wall and someone posted back..”Tell that to Japan”.

    I was taken aback but realized it was an honest response from a non-believer.

    This question of horrific, unjustified suffering goes all the way back to Job…and he didn’t see the whole picture just as we don’t.

    It’s faith challenging to see evil this blatant and still declare that God is good and righteous…personally, I want this SOB torn apart and thrown into the 7th level of Hell…..not very Christian, perhaps, but it’s what I’m feeling…

    I guess this isn’t very helpful as I’m free writing and not really organizing my thoughts….

    You are right about God being big enough to handle our questions….I ask Him stuff all the time…stuff that doesn’t make sense….or stuff that seems inconsistent with His nature……

    …but I think in the end I’m just too small and fallible to comprehend Him completely…..

    • You actually make a lot of sense when you’re free writing, Chris! First, it’s good to be reminded that I’m not the only one who has big faith questions, that it’s been addressed, through Job, so that we could at least understand that we’re not the only ones, and that the are lots of reasons that God might allow these kinds of things to happen….for now. Second, that we are just not capable of understanding. He knows that..knows our frame, that we are but dust, and tat WE think we understand more than we actually do.

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