Monday, October 1, 2007

Where is God? Why?

A couple of weeks ago a close friend of the family and ex-parishioner (ex because I moved churches) came up to our new appointment for a visit. While talking with her it became clear she was struggling with some spiritual questions. If anyone out there has insight please let me know. I am struggling to find the right answers and hate the fact that there might not be one. Here is the issue:

My friend is struggling going to church because while she is there she is bombarded by all the good things God is doing in other people's lives. She constantly hears, "Hooray, God answered my prayers. I don't have cancer!" "God is good because my baby is healthy!" "How awesome is God because he provided a new job for my husband." You get the picture. Now she celebrates with these people their joy and their happiness but unknown to them, they are adding salt the wound.

Over six years ago her mother died of cancer on Mother's Day. It was a long and drawn out battle. Her church family, back then, wrapped her and her family up in love and care. They had healing services, anointing with oil, prayer and the whole nine yards. Her mom finally won her battle over this cancer but her victory cost her earthly life. This crushed my friend, as it should, and she still is mourning the loss of her mother.

Now my friend has a beautiful baby girl who will never know her grandmother. She can never call her mother and ask advice on what to do. Every Mother's Day, instead of being a celebration, will be a constant reminder of what was lost that day. Six years has not washed away her feelings of loss for her mother.

When people express their joys and admiration of God for helping them through their hard times, my friend gets angry at God because why didn't he answer all her prayers? Why did God take her mom? Why didn't God perform a miracle for her when he has for so many others? Why, is the big question that still haunts her soul six years later.

She asked me if I knew of any reason and I said I didn't (trying to be honest and not fill her with bs). I told her things happen in this world for many different reasons. It just seems that God's name always get attributed to the good ones. I told her I don't know the reason God did not heal your mom, or why it happened on the day it did. All I could come up with was that God sometimes give us reasons and we have to learn to live in that odd place.

What would your advice have been? Where is God when things don't work out like we prayed for? Shouldn't we, as pastors, be careful about praising God's presence in the good things and then not mentioning where God is in the bad?

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