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Why do bad things happen? Understanding God’s Role in our struggles.

I was presented with a question not long ago from a mom whose child fights lymphedema. I was asked how I explain to Jo Gods roll in this disease. Like adults, even children ask why God allows bad things to happen to us.

It was fairly easy to respond as this is a constant topic Jo and I have. It is lengthy, but worth the read.

God doesn't cause us pain or suffering, the nature of life itself and our choices can bring challenges. God can use even the hardest times to shape us into stronger, more compassionate people. In Romans 8:28, we're reminded that 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' This means that even though we may face difficulties, God can turn them around for our benefit and His glory.

God gives us instructions on how to handle life's challenges because He knows they'll come our way. In James 1:2-4, it says, 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.' This encourages us to see our trials as opportunities for growth and maturity in our faith and personal relationship with God.

But you know, it's okay to feel sad or ask why when things are hard. Even Jesus felt sad sometimes, like when His friend Lazarus died. In John 11:35, it says, 'Jesus wept.' This shows us that it's okay to cry and feel sad. God understands our feelings, and He's always there to comfort us.

A dear old lady once told me when my mom was dying and I was struggling, “God has HUGE shoulders, Jamie. He can handle all your sadness, anger, and tears. He’s not judging your feelings; he just doesn’t want you to stay in all those feelings and certainly not by yourself. Since then, I do not “hide” the angry parts of the heart. (Like I was fooling him anyways).So, while it's okay to feel sad or ask questions, we can trust that God will help us through our tough times.

In Psalm 34:18, it says, 'The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.' This reminds us that even when we're feeling down, God is right there with us, ready to help us feel better and stronger. Our faith in Him gives us the strength to keep going, even when things are hard.

God has a path laid out for each of us, even during our struggles. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.' This means that even when we don't understand why things happen, we can trust that God has a plan for us and will guide us through it.

Ultimately, it's up to us to choose whether we'll let our circumstances defeat us or if we'll allow God to work through us to overcome them.

By trusting in God's love and guidance, we can find purpose and strength in every situation. Big or small.

Psalm 23:4 always offers comfort: 'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.'

This verse shows God's companionship and protection, assuring us that He walks beside us through every trial we face.

These verses are my lifelines in all my own trials, and specifically for Jo when we talk about her disease and Gods role in it. Obviously, the explanations are dumbed down a bit for her to grasp at 8 years old, but it helps so much with her accepting, understanding, and actively taking part in her own care.

I hope this helps open the conversation for all who might need a little help on this topic regardless of what the hardship or struggle might be.

With Love & Strength,


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