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Your Questions About Misfortune, Tragedy, And Trauma
Question 1: Why?

When misfortune and terrible things happen to you, you ask questions. Many, if not all of these questions, are directed at God. In this series of essays, we will explore the answers to the most difficult questions about your life. These questions and the answers that go with them are the questions you ask God in your darkest hours. These questions are the questions you and others ask God about misfortune, tragedy, and trauma in your life.

Why? Why is there misfortune, adversity, pain, suffering, and trauma in life?

This question is the primary question of every age, every culture, and of every person. The question is momentous in its importance for you.

The answers to "why" are knowable in a spectrum of wisdom and understanding. At one end of this answer spectrum is total knowledge and wisdom about why tragedy strikes while at the other end of the spectrum is a total lack of knowledge and wisdom. In seeking why things are as they are in misfortune and tragedy, you often find that for every knowable answer there are often more questions with no answers at all. In looking at adversity, it is common to find that the more you come to know, the more you seem to not know.

Some things happen you call "acts of God", like the weather, earthquakes, and volcanoes. These "acts of God" can bring trauma and tragedy to hundreds of thousands. When you ask why these disasters of nature take place, you look to God for answers. Often you get no answer but assign an answer to Him and you say, "It was God's will", but was it? Does God have power and province over the earth or does Satan have province? Is there some kind of intermingling of God's hand and Satan's power? Even here, in what you call the acts of God, there is still the unknowable and mysterious. You can and often do assign an answer to a question based upon what you believe about God.

You can come to know why some traumas and tragedies happen. In the case of war you can look at the heart of men and see evil at work. Yet even when you see evil at work you can and do ask why was one person taken and one person left behind. In so many tragic circumstances, you can see the work of satanic evil. When you see this kind of darkness you ask "Where was God?" and "Why didn't God do something to stop this evil"?

You must realize you may not be able to accept an answer from God, for the answer may be beyond your ability to understand or cope with it. The answer may be so devastating that God prevents you from knowing it. In some cases, not receiving the answer to why traumas come may preserve your faith because the causes of misfortune can be terrible and you would be devastated by the knowledge of these causes.

If you find out why a terrible thing happens, what will you do with the answer? Does God not tell you "why" because you cannot understand or because you could not grasp the enormity of the answer? Are the answers to your questions too big for you to handle? Does God want you to live without an answer so you will grow and prosper from a lack of knowing why?

Perhaps it is not proper to pound on Heaven's door in anger wanting God to speak to you and give you an answer. Perhaps the best way to get an answer from God about why things happen as they do is to just prostrate yourself at the foot of the Cross and weep.

In many lives, persons make the wounds of trauma worse by demanding the reasons why. So often, it is best to begin the healing process by grieving and investing your grief in Christ instead of demanding answers. There are some answers that God will give you to some of your questions but even when you get the answers, you will remain wounded. Your search for meaning and purpose in suffering can be so consuming you are not able to heal. Conversely, searching for meaning and purpose in the heart of God keeps you close to Him if you trust Him and if you trust Him He will provide you with comfort if not the answers you seek.

God does understand your pleas for help and your questions. In so many circumstances, God will not reveal an answer, not because He wants to torment you, but because He wants you to come to Him. Imagine what would happen if you got quick and easy answers from God. You would, in this instance, most likely minimize Him. God can be a source of inspiration and love beyond measure but He must not be treated as if He is some kind of computerized answer machine.

God's comfort and love in your life is more important and can do more work in you than the result of answers to questions you have about tragedy and trauma. The presence of Christ within the person doubled over in grief is more important than the circumstances that brought the grief. With God, there are always priorities of importance. Yes, you are told by Jesus to ask, seek, and knock, but Jesus wants you to engage in these pursuits as expressions of your love for Him, not because He wants to be treated as an uncaring answer source.

In asking "why" you must realize that if God wants you to know "why" He can and will reveal this answer to you. If God does not give you an answer, you must deal with it. You must deal with the fact that God does not want you to know "why". In some cases, you will never know why a thing happens because God does not want you to know. What you must remember is that even if you do not get the answer you want or need, or if you get no answer at all, you are still in God's hand.

Even when you are left without a clue as to why your life has been torn asunder, Christ still pours His love into you. Remember that Christ wants you to be with Him in paradise when your walk through life is over. Please know that you walk through life with pain and suffering and there may be no answers to these questions. In growing up in your Christian faith, you must learn to be content with no answer at all. You must learn to deal with unanswered questions and keep moving forward in your life. Christ calls upon you to trust Him. When you ask some questions it does signify that at a certain point in your life, in this trauma and tragedy, you have lost some of your trust in Him. Losing faith when you are severely tested is normal. When you are tested you must fight back and must trust God wholeheartedly in every circumstance no matter how terrible the circumstance may be.

You must not leave out the satanic darkness from this desire to know why a thing happens. Satan and his minions also want to keep you from knowing why a thing happens. It is the purpose of the darkness and the evil mind of Satan to destroy your faith. By keeping answers from you, Satan can cause you to shake your fist at God, blaming God for tragedy, and at the same time getting you to blame God for no answers.

You must learn to accept pain as a reality for which you may never know "why". You must learn to accept that some parts of life really stink and that to deal with these parts of life requires your moving on with life without ever knowing the "why". There is a certain freedom to not demanding answers. There is a certain freedom to being able to move forward in the tragedy and trauma put upon you. You must remember that the power and strength of God is bestowed upon you not by your getting an answer but by your trusting in God enough to leave the answering process totally in His hands. The reality of life is that you may never know "why" but you do know "who". You can know without a doubt who loves you and cares for you, it is Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior. You can know who died for you, it is Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior. You can know who lives within you every second, regardless of life's circumstances, it is Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior. In Christ, you must put your whole heart, even your heart that has questions and doubts in the middle of your darkest hour.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)




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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2009 by Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018