Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Would God Do this?

This week, I was asked a very profound question after my Strength in Scriptures post, one that moved me and really made me think. I don’t profess to have the “right” answer, but I wanted to share that question and my answer for all of you that may have asked the same question at one point in your journey. Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments below.

Anonymous said...

I know that scripture comforts many, however, how do you get past the “Why does God put this burden on me/my son/my husband?”. My 11 year old son has dx of ADHD and bipolar, and my husband was diagnosed at age 36 with bipolar which reared itself after a bout with mono. There was always a family history of mood disorders, but he showed no symptoms until he became sick with the immune disease. It has been devastating and debilitating for my husband, and so difficult for my son and our family. I ask seriously, how do you get to that comfort place with God? I am so angry that this mood disorders rule my life now. Why would my God do this to me? to us?

* * *

Dear Anonymous,
That’s a really great question! One that I’ve given much thought to before responding. I have to admit that I’ve asked myself that same question before. There was a time when I felt angry at God, I felt like He didn’t love us and that’s why we were going through all of this. I also thought that maybe He was punishing us or rejecting us.

In those feelings, I continued to pray to God and read His word. Then I came to the realization that God doesn’t want us to suffer, He didn’t make this happen to us. We live in an imperfect world. This is not heaven. So there will be disease, there will be hardships and there will be death. God even tells us in the bible that we will suffer trials in this life.

Besides the whole “free will” aspect, I’ve read that God allows trials to happen to sharpen our faith. Our faith grows deeper when we’re going through trials. I read that fruit grows best in the “valleys” (the hard times in life), not the “mountaintops” (where everything is going well). Our greatest character development takes place when we take what we’ve learned on the mountaintop and put it into practice in the valley.

You can also look at it this way, just like the muscles in our bodies, they don’t become stronger unless they’re tested and challenged. By lifting heavier weights, our muscles are pushed to their limits and thus respond by growing bigger and stronger. I think our faith is the same way, you become stronger in faith when your faith is tested, when you’re challenged and brought to your knees and turn your life over to God. I think it’s when life is so overwhelming, when we feel we can’t stand on our own that we’re most likely to let go of trying to control it all and learn to lean on God. It’s how we learn to have faith.

My pastor’s son (age 5) went through chemo when he was being treated for leukemia. My pastor said that it was in the cancer ward that the scriptures came to life for him like never before. It was in his suffering that he found new meaning in the scriptures he’s read his whole life.

I also believe trials help us to comfort others. I think when we suffer deeply, we can find the greatest comfort from God, then when we’re standing once again, we can be great comfort to those around us.

I can share that I’ve seen this in my own life. When my brother-in-law died of cancer at 27 yrs old. I arrived to his home where he had just passed away and saw my mother-in-law and father-in-law standing up with incredible strength. I myself, not a Christian at the time was overcome, I felt like I couldn’t breath I was so upset over this loss, yet his parents comforted me in their strength because they were filled with God’s comfort. I will never forget this moment of God giving strength and comfort when it’s needed most.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” 2 Corinthians: 1:4

I also hope that this blog may be helping others, that the trials my family faces through my son’s illness may reach someone out there and give them comfort. I’ve been growing spiritually myself by going through these challenges. I’m changing as a person, hopefully for the better. I can see my middle son becoming a child of great faith and compassion because of all he’s gone through with his brother. I know other good things will come out of this, unfortunately it sometimes takes a lifetime to see it. I just have faith that God will use these trials for good.

See my post Spiritually Speaking:

I also have a unique perspective with so many families around me suffering with a child fighting an illness or disorder. In my small community alone, we have seen multiple cases of cancer, autism, lupus, bipolar disorder and other diseases in our young children. This perspective has made me realize that God is not singling me out, He’s not out to punish my family, but rather this is “life.” Most people will go through a trial of some sort, I don’t think we can escape life without it. I’m sorry that this is my son’s journey in life, but I feel empowered today to do the best I can to help him have the best life possible. I think a part of me likes to believe that God chose me to be my son’s mommy because God knew that I could do it well.

I really believe that God hasn’t abandoned me and He didn’t cause this to happen, He is by my side, He is holding me up. He gives me strength to keep fighting for my son, to forgive my son when he hurts me and to have hope for my son’s future.

I’m closest to God when my suffering is greatest, I can’t raise my son without him. I can’t do this on my own.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

I honestly have to share that I was brought to tears when I read your question. First, because I know the place of pain that you’re coming from and second, I know that I too may find myself asking those same questions again.

I also was feeling very inadequate in answering one of the deepest spiritual questions we may have in our life and I know that I can’t possibly give you a complete answer that will speak to you. I only hope that I’m able to share my heart, my journey and maybe you’ll find some piece of truth that will begin to answer your question.

I know that you’re hurting, I know that you may not see comfort in this moment, but lean on God, seek him, I know in my heart He is there with open arms.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

* * *

Thank you “Anonymous” for reaching out!


  1. Without God, this journey goes from difficult to impossible.

  2. I feel much like Anonymous. In fact, it could be writing that. I know about God. I know about the saving knowledge of Jesus. I am saved by the blood. But...all that's happened I just can't do the "God" thing. I hope maybe I can return to the place of faith I was 8-9 years ago.

  3. I too struggle, I can be so thankful many days but then other times feel so distant from God. I keep walking the walk because I have more children that need to know God. My teen daughter with bipolar 2 has pretty much refused to go to church. Honestly, I can hardly blame her. Her thoughts "I know God exists, I just can't be there now". I appreciate knowing we all struggle and will look back on this post to help rekindle my faith.

  4. I am too in the same place as anon...for me, I cognitively get the ideas that you outline inn this post, but I can't as of yet accept them. I am very much in a place where I can not trust God at the moment because too much has happened. I hope someday I can reclaim my faith, but right now I am just not there. But I do wholeheartedly believe that if there is a God, he is a father who understands a suffering child and is not condemning me for my lack of faith at the moment, just hoping I will come back.

    Thanks for this post. It is really good to see the perspectives of others who have had their entire lives ripped apart. Thank you.

  5. Beautifully written! God is here in the midst of it all. Sometimes His ways seems truly bizarre to us and unfeeling, but then, often in hindsight, we see that His love was being poured out even when we couldn't see it. I want to find God through the struggles, and I want my kids to find God through their own struggles too. Thank you!

  6. I feel my son is exactly as God planned him to be. You have to look to the good. The positive. What you have and what you can do and not what you don't have or what you cannot do. My son has bipolar I and he really struggles at times but he is not blind, he is able bodied, he can hear, he is able to help others less fortunate, and on and on. he has so much to offer the world. We all have afflictions in life. It is what we do in spite of them or in accordance with them that makes us who we are.

  7. Also, think about where psychiatry is today as compared to 2 generations ago. We have diagnosis, medications, schools, camps, etc. that so many did not have. And where are many of them now? Some may be stable, but others may be in jail, in an institution, gone by choice, and so on. Mental health issues have been around a long, long time. Unfortunately, we have to watch the ones we love most suffer in ways we cannot always help or even understand. But fortunately, we live during a time when doctors and medical facilities are constantly researching and trying to find solutions. And we also have a great variety of support, like this blog.

  8. Thanks for the post! I am the "anonymous" original poster, only because the computer for whatever reason wouldn't take my name, etc.. I'm Colleen a mom to 2- one diagnosed with Bipolar and my husband whose life has changed dramatically since his journey began 4 years ago with bipolar and meds. I love your blog because I can relate so much to things that go on in your life. I appreciate your comments and insightfulness about my question. Gives me some things to think about. Thanks

  9. Some days I'm stronger than others. Today is NOT one of those days. I read this post a few days ago and had all these thoughts on why God put this baby in my care. I know that if he were raised in Guatemala, he would not have the medical and psychiatric care that we provide, and probably would have been turned away to live on the streets. So I see that his adoption saved his life. But after a rough afternoon, and a difficult couple weeks, I question why God chose ME? Why was I given such an immense parenting challenge? I don't think I'm any stronger than anyone else and I typically feel like I'm failing.

    Looking at your end quote, I can't help but wonder: I am weary, I am burdened. WHEN will I get some rest? I don't know if I can handle this.

  10. Thank you everyone for sharing your honest perspective. I really appreciate reading how everyone tackles this question. I think for most of us, we can relate to each other because at some point or another, we’ve all felt the same way.

    Colleen- Thank you for this great discussion!

    Gina- I just read your post. I’m so sorry things are so tough right now. I completely understand feeling like a failure on some days, I think it comes with this challenge. It’s also hard to even feel like we’re doing well most days because our kid can't tell us “Boy Mom, you did a great job handling my rage today”, instead we’re called bad names and feel resentment inside.

    I remember leaving a therapy session with my son where I felt like a failure, letting my son down since I wasn't doing things right for him. As we walked out, I saw a teenager saying the worst things to his mother as they were walking into therapy. All I could think of at that moment was, “Is this what I have to look forward to?” After giving up so much for my son, will he hate me? Even if he doesn't, will his moods make it appear that way. I cried the whole way home.

    I think that’s one of the unique challenges we face as moms with a child with mood issues. The disorder brings a lot of negative behavior that comes out on us and there’s little we can do to change it.

    As for your comment about that last verse. Just so you know, I don’t always “feel” rest, sometimes I just hold on to the promise that God “will” give me rest, sometimes just the hope of it to come gets me through the day.

    I hope things get better soon! ((hugs))

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and God's heart for all of us. My little boy has been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Mood Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and a seizure disorder. I was paralyzed seven years before his birth. He was and is such a miracle but our struggles have been overwhelming at times. Through our sweet son our eyes were open to the struggles my husband and two other kids have. You are blessed to be in a body of believers who are understanding. We have not had that experience and have found it more fruitful to worship at home for now. Thank you again. :)

  12. Kelly-Thank you for sharing on this post. I'm sorry to hear about your little boy's struggles. It makes me sad to hear that you are no longer connected to your worship community, I hope in time you'll find a place to connect once again. Your story motivates me to help places of worship understand families like yours and mine, so they can welcome us all back into fellowship. I hope to figure out how to do this someday.