When Bad Things Happen to Good People*
During January’s huge winter storm, there was a story about a mother and her young daughter who sought warmth in their car when their furnace shut down. Snow blocked the car’s exhaust pipe and they both died of carbon monoxide poisoning. What a tragedy!
Why did that happen? Why didn’t God intervene and save them? Was God punishing them for something? Most people don’t jump to that conclusion. But sometimes we think that way.
Periodically someone asks me why God is angry with them. They pray every day and go to church and obey God’s commands. But in spite of that, they face a divorce or have a health crisis or difficult family dispute. Their think their religious practices should inoculate them from set-backs in life.
Over time I’ve come to see that God is with us no matter what happens. When my dad suddenly died of a heart attack, it was the worst thing that could have happened then. But in hindsight I see that God was with us in that crisis. It was a merciful death for dad and my family got closer together than it had been for some time.
God does not punish us with suffering. God is with us in the middle of the mess.
Look back at your life. Can you see that God is with you in the middle of the struggles and messes of your life?
*When Bad Things Happen to Good People is the title of a wonderful book written in 1978 by Rabbi Harold Kushner. (ISBN 1-4000-3472-8)