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Where is God when…?  I did some research and found out that this question has been asked 1,899,432 times.  Certainly people have at least looked at us recently and thought this, a few of us have even asked us about how we could maintain our faith given Trey’s cancer.  I spoke about this early on in a post but I’d like to expand.

Another way that this question is posed is, “How could a loving God allow x,y,z (xyz signifying random tragic events, not specifically the letters x,y, and z.  I have never heard of them causing much trouble except in the car trip game of alphabet, “I went on a trip and took an apple, banana, car, etc.  “Xylophone” normally saves the day on that one)?  Actually this question is posed in many forms.  It is asked by everyone from those in the midst of trials, those who love them, those who have been crushed by life’s events, those who are eager to quash the faith of those who follow God in any way, and all in between.

This question has been answered in as many ways as the question is asked.  Very often it is danced around and leaves the asker wanting.  Granted, one needs to be most gentle with those asking when in the midst of great trial and tragedy, rightfully so.  These folks need comfort more than intellectual discourse.  However, as one who has repeatedly talked about tragedy and very tough times as one who is in one, I’d like to go in a different direction.

What if?  What if God is such a big deal, so massive, so incredibly beyond our ability to even truly understand that this question is almost moot if not disrespectful?  What if it falls somewhere in the realm of the kindergarten student telling the teacher, “I don’t want to learn my a,b,c’s (this time literally the alphabet not “a,b, &c” being variables for other things)”?  I’ve heard people say, “I want nothing to do with a God that would allow …”.  What if His response was, “fine, don’t.”  We sit here and say these things as if we have anything to offer or keep from a God that created the whole world and everything in it.  If He so chose, we could all be gone in an instant.

Now, thankfully and amazingly, He does not choose to treat us that way nor react to our questions in that manner.  The reality is He could answer that way and we need (or it would do us well) to remember that.  In our world today, too much of our world is all about us.  What matters to us is far more important than the wants and needs of anyone else.  Further, “fairness” is something that has become a priority more than ever before and has skewed not only our conversations but our very mindsights as well.

Why does God allow these things?  Well, I’m not Him.  I don’t run a world.  I haven’t always been.  Read how God replies to Job in Job 38 after Job finally questioned Him after horrific thing after horrific thing happened to Job.  If anyone had a reason to ask these questions it was him.  I don’t know why God set the world up this way.  I could try to explain the theories behind free will and sin and how the effect the world from the beginning of time until now.  I could dabble in some of the explanations about how sickness is a result of sin, not ours today but a long term effect of a world that ignored how God intended for them to live.  The bottom line is, Trey has cancer.  You  have your story.  What will God do about it or with it.  This I know quite a bit about.

Allow me to answer in general terms.   First of all, God draws those who don’t know Him to Him through the trial and tragedy.  Again, whether He caused the tragedy, allows the tragedy, or doesn’t stop it is not for me to say.  However, I do know that He uses it in this manner.  People who either don’t know Him in any way or those who have resisted Him, wanting to do things there way seem to come to know Him through the most tragic of times.

Secondly, God draws those who know Him closer to Him through these events.  I would be lying if I told you that I was this intimate with God before Trey was diagnosed.  Go to a any homeless shelter that is run by a Christian ministry and talk with some of their “success stories.”  See how much they really…really love God in the realest of ways.  Man, it is so genuine and sweet I just shake my head.  Go to a Christian based drug and alcohol recovery group and see their gratefulness and dependance on God.  Once again, I am not broaching the topic of why He does it this way.  I just know that He does.

Lastly, God shows us how to recognize, comfort, and love others who are hurting since we have experienced such pain and tragedy.  There is plenty of scripture that explains this clearly but allow me to reiterate one of the main changes in my life that I have noticed since Trey’s diagnosis.  My heart breaks, a lot.  It amazes me how much I feel others pain.  It is incredible the insight God has given to me about the suffering of others as I have suffered and continue to do so.  I am humbled that He has taught me so much about loving those who are going through anything and has used me to comfort them.

Does He cause bad things to happen?  Does He just allow them to happen?  Why does he either cause or allow them to happen?  I don’t know.  What I do know is said in Romans 8: 28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Even Job who got his lunch handed to Him (put in his place…not a light noon meal) in Job 38-41 ended up getting blessed greatly.  I am so very thankful that I have found this to be so very very true in our life through our tragedy.  Many of you have been a part of that great blessing.  Thank you.

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