Almost eight years ago I got a phone call that my dad's sister and her husband had been in a terrible accident. Their van had burst into flames and exploded. They were able to get out before the explosion, but both were severly burned over large percentage of their bodies and both went to heaven within six months.
They were Christians. They were on their way to help out at a church camp in the mountains.
I knew all the answers. I had heard them all my life. But suddenly, none of the answers made any sense.
God, I'd been told, is all powerful. Able to do anything. I'd also been told that He is Love. He is good.
So, now, those things just didn't fit. I took it to the Lord in my frustration. I poured it out to Him. He can take it. "If you are all powerful, you could have prevented that. Because you are good and would never allow something like this to happen."
"Or else you are all powerful and could have stopped it, but chose not to because You are not Love; You are not good. But I see no way that You can be both in control and good."
There are some who would say that it was the devil, or just the consequences of living on this earth that caused that accident to happen. But is God not more powerful than the devil and the consequences of this earth? Because if He's not, then He's not really God and not worthy of my worship. All powerful means all powerful. So while this line of thinking factored into my struggle, it went along with the line that God wasn't really as powerful as I had believed.
He was so good to me during this time. So patient as He helped me through this. I remember one of those occasions where I was at the bookstore and a book just seemed to be glowing -- standing out from the rest. It was called When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes. It was so beneficial in helping me begin to understand.
Other little pieces here and there gave me answers and understanding. And the end result of what God taught me is that we can't understand here on earth. If we are looking for things to make sense, then we will be frustrated always. What I have come to rely on is that it all makes sense in the spiritual realm, where God is. And just so that it makes sense to Him. That's good enough for me.
Real faith is believing that God is good and that He is in control of every single event in a believer's life. And He can somehow be both even though we can't grasp it at all. Because He is God. He is so much bigger than us that we can't understand.
Another part of faith is believeing that God has a good purpose for everything He does, whether we are able to see that purpose or not. We have to believe Him.
I have come to not define bad and good the way I used to. Just because something looks bad to me doesn't mean it is in God's realm. He defines things differently, I think. Perhaps when I take my child to have a painful procedure done they think it's bad. But in my greater wisdom, I know that it's good. Whether they ever see that or not.
I now choose to say God allows difficult things in our lives, rather than using the word "bad". Because if He allows it, it cannot be bad. And He has to allow it. If you've read the book of Job, you know that satan wanted to harm Job, but he had to have permission from God first. And he had to keep within the boundaries God established. The enemy cannot touch us without God's permission. And God will not allow it without a reason.
Was it "bad" when God allowed Daniel into the lions den?
Was it "bad" when God flooded the earth?
Was it "bad" when God allowed Lazarus to die?
Was it "bad" when God allowed Jesus to be crucified?