I find it hard to know exactly where to begin with this post. I’ve been mulling over this age-long question and human frustration of why bad things happen for so long it seems.
This very question is what I have found that keeps people from faith, from hope, and from Christ who gave His life up for even the least of our sins. As I think on it, of course, there are memories and times in my life that flash back. Times where I questioned God; times where I wrestled with Him, and times where I yelled and kicked and screamed and ran from Him. Obviously, everyone has their own personal battles, heart aches, and experiences with sadness, calamity, and hard times. I don’t pretend to know the depth of what others have gone through, and I don’t claim to know the answers for why bad things DO occur. I can only talk about what I’ve walked through and what my experience has been.
To show vulnerability and share with you guys my experience through bad times, I think of the time my father went through open heart surgery 6 months before my wedding.
This was a trying time for my family. We knew my dad was having problems, unable to even keep his breath walking through a department store…We were thinking a standard bypass surgery was what was needed; but after his visit to the doctor, we found out the issues were much more severe than what we could have anticipated. In a blink of an eye the decision was made for open heart surgery, PLUS double bypass AND he’s aortic heart valve to be replaced. Obviously this hit us hard.
I remember going through frustration with the Lord. I’ve always had an irrational fear of my dad not being with me on my wedding day to walk me down the aisle…I know my heart was selfish to be so concerned over that. But I was also at such a beautiful place in my relationship with my dad.
During the bulk of my preteen and teen years, my dad and I struggled in our relationship and in showing each other love. I remember days thinking my dad couldn’t care less, and I’m sure he went through days of frustration with me. The thing was, I just didn’t understand how my dad expressed his love. As a young, naive girl I just wanted to be loved practically. The way my dad loves, is through the way he cares for me. The way whenever I aome home from college he checks every aspect of my car for safety, makes sure I know how to change and fill my cars oil, and the way he always seemed to take care of the details.
For years it was impossible for me to see this as love until I matured in my own understanding of love. I know and have full confidence that my dad loves me deeply, and he knows that I am his biggest fan! Having this understanding, it ripped me to pieces knowing my dad was going to undergo such an intense surgery on his heart.
I wrestled. I fought. I showed my frustration.
Although the preparations for surgery were tedious and painful, and there were so many hours spent in the waiting room patiently waiting for each little update… The outcome not only displayed the provisions, deliverance, grace, AND mercy of Christ…but also showed me more about fellowship and community than I have learned in all of the years of my life.
First, the weeks leading up to his surgery were filled with my prayers of surrender. Knowing I was away at college, I had to accept that not only could I not do anything to fix the problem, but couldn’t even be with my family during the preparations. Fortunately, I go to an incredible school full of students and faculty that are willing and desire to pray over their peers and students…I shared my dad’s situation in my classes and to my utmost surprise, a couple of students launched a Facebook group called “Pray for Ron” where a hundreds of people posted words of encouragement and joined with my family in coming beside us to carry our burden and commit to pray for my sweet father. My classmates who created the Facebook page, I hardly knew. I was blown away by their kindness, support, and love.
Second, was the amount of love and support by our church family and the girls on my dorm at school. The amount of prayers, texts, phone calls was overwhelming. I knew me and my family were not experiencing the hard time and difficulty by ourselves.
The last then as far as the support and encouragement from the community that I’d like to share would be straight from my incredible friend, Bethany Pico. While I was in the waiting room during my dad’s 10 hour surgery, Bethany, from another state, was able to have my favorite drink from Starbucks delivered to me. In the waiting room. Such love, thoughtfulness and dedication in support and friendship will forever have an effect on me. So thankful for you, Beth.
There is so much more to share, but all I can really say, is through a terrible circumstance, that I have no claim to understand WHY it had to happen, I was able to experience pure and beautiful fellowship in the community Christ has surrounded me with.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
“What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
I am so proud and forever thankful to say that not only did my father walk me down the aisle and DANCE with me on my wedding day, but now walks ahead of me on those rare occasions I get him to go shopping with me. To see the Lord’s sweet deliverance and grace through the outcome of my dad’s surgery was also invaluable of an experience to go through. I trust in the Lord and in His sweet provisions. I have learned to trust Him throughout all circumstances and throughout every outcome.
Photos by: Cali
To reiterate, I have no beautifully articulated answer for why bad things happen to good people. I wish that I did, and I wish that it solved your problems and gave you hope and restoration in your faith. All that I can stake claim in, is knowing what I’ve learned through those times in my own life.
As author Shauna Niequist says,
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”