Why does God allow bad things to happen?
How many times have you asked this question, either to yourself or someone else? I asked this question often when I was battling cancer. Between experiencing my own pain and seeing the pain of others getting treatment alongside me, I couldn’t help but feel confused and angry at God.
If he’s such a loving God, why on Earth would he allow a 6-year old to experience the pain and fear of losing their battle to cancer? Why would he allow the parents to go through such agony?
Why the wars? Why the murders? Why the chaos and brutality of this world?
We Fill Our Own Shopping Cart
Ever since facing my own mortality, I have become very interested in near death experiences, as you can imagine. Most of us are curious about what comes next. And thanks to the internet, there is almost now an endless supply of content created around near death experiences, or NDEs.
Having now heard countless people speak about their NDE, what strikes me the most is how many people remember planning this life, down to very intricate details. Their parents, gender, physical conditions and ailments, and specific life-changing events they would experience – some of them happy and some unbearably tragic.
I recently saw a video of a woman describing her amazing NDE. She was met by her guide, someone she instantly recognized and was so happy to reunite with. When her guide told her she needed to go back, she refused and asked why was her life so hard?
Her guide smiled a knowing smile and suddenly the woman was having a flashback of she and her guide planning this life. She saw herself pushing a grocery cart down aisles and aisle of life experiences, and her exuberant child-like spirit was filling the cart with all kinds of BIG experiences, many of them incredibly hard. Her guide had warned her that maybe she shouldn’t bite off more than she could chew, but she was adamant.
God is our divine parent. He creates us out of pure love and light. But like a good parent, he lets us go and gives us free will to experience what we choose in this physical dimension. We are free to fill our own shopping carts.
A human child cannot grow and develop if her parents make all of her decisions for her. If, from the day she is born, the child’s mother chooses the toys she will play with, chooses her friends, chooses her clothes, chooses how and when she expresses herself, chooses her major in college, and on and on, that human is not free to really live and learn and become who she wants to be.
God is the ultimate loving parent, and free will is the ultimate loving gift.
The world is often a dark place with wickedness NOT because God “allows it,” but because God has given all of us free will.
God’s the Guy Behind the Juice Bar
Earth is like a fitness club. No one really forces you to go to the gym. You choose to go because you want to become as strong and healthy as you can be. And while you’re at the gym, you spend all your time huffing and puffing, lifting heavy things, moving your body and sweating. Many of us feel like absolute sh*t while working out because it’s hard and it hurts.
God isn’t the treadmill. He’s not the free weights or the squat machine that make your muscles scream in pain.
God’s the guy behind the juice bar, smiling and giving you an encouraging thumbs up at your progress.
God Hides So That We May Seek Him
The other day a friend shared a precious moment she recently experienced. After getting off the phone to receive some very bad news about a loved one, she decided to take her dog and go for a long walk. It was a warm night and she thought the sound of the peepers and the rhythm of her steps would soothe her.
She said at one point, the grief and anxiety suddenly overtook her, flooding into her gut and chest, and she thought she was going to crumple right there on the sidewalk. At that moment, she lifted her head and directly above her a shooting star streaked bright across the night sky. It lifted her spirit almost instantly and she told me it genuinely felt like God had just blown her a kiss as if to say, “I’m sorry you’re hurting and I’m right here.”
Life is like a divine game of hide and seek we don’t remember we’re playing with our creator. We’re busy living all of the experiences we piled into our heavenly shopping cart, getting lost and terrified at the chaos of it all. God is not the chaos and he’s not the terror of this life. God is the shooting stars on those nights we feel we might die from sadness.
He’s the smile from a stranger when we’re feeling alone.
He’s the neighbor’s dog running over to the fence to say hello and make us laugh.
He’s the free coffee from the guy at the gas station.
He is the small quiet voice within that says, “You got this,” cheering us on and encouraging us when we stumble and fall on our Earthly journey.
God is in every moment of this precious life. Seek him out. Notice the beauty that is right there along with the pain. Notice the good during the bad and the light within the darkness.
Not all of us may remember choosing and planning this life. But is it so hard to imagine that we did? Is it hard to imagine that, like a freshman choosing which courses to take in college, we chose the experiences we wanted to grow and develop as spiritual beings? And would it not make sense that our Creator would make his presence known throughout our life in big and small ways to try to comfort and encourage us?
God doesn’t allow bad things to happen. God allows us to choose and do and experience as we please to develop as spiritual beings.
When your life feels overwhelming, pay attention and look for his smile and thumbs up as if to say, “You’re doing a great job!”
I see a big smile on your face as you watch the person making your next juice at the juice bar!