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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Hello friends.  First let me say that my silent retreat was amazing.  I really didn't expect that it was going to be as amazing as it indeed was, but I will write about that another day.  I learned so much and was so overwhelmed by how good God is.  It's really crazy how much you can listen when you're not talking.  But more on that another day.

Today, however, is a sad day.  I woke up with an extremely sore throat, so much so that I was on the brink of tears and have felt awful all day (achey, fatigued, etc.).  So when my sister called me a little while later, I didn't answer and let it go to voicemail.  On the message she said there had been a death in the family, so of course I called her back immediately.

On November 4, 2004 my beautiful, godly, strong, amazing cousin Julie died in a motorcycle accident at age 37, leaving behind a husband and three children (14, 12, and 10, or thereabouts).  She lived in West Virginia, and she and her husband had been out riding looking at the gorgeous fall leaves in the winding West Virginia country roads.  Her death was devastating, and no one could understand how God could will that to happen.  It didn't make sense at all.  To this day I'm still at a loss.

Well, this morning (November 8, 2011) her eldest daughter that had been 14 when she died (now 21) was found dead by her father in her bed.  To say that it's sad or devastating or anything else is just an understatement.  How can one family handle such heartache and pain?

At the retreat I was on, the retreat director (an amazing 77 year old woman of God and former therapist) said that when people would ask her why God allowed bad things to happen her response was always that the best gift that God could give us was free will.  And sometimes people use that free will to make bad choices.  Sometimes those bad choices affect other people.  Free will is quite messy, but I think it's the best of the two options.  I've often thought that same thing.  

The other thing a friend of mine told me a few weeks ago is something her priest told her: "Life is hard, but life is good."  True, too.  We appreciate the good all the more after we experience the bad. 

And the thing I always hold onto when bad things happen to good people and you want to ask, "Why did God allow that to happen," is that God never promised us that bad things wouldn't happen; in fact He promised us quite the opposite.  He said we'd definitely have trouble in this world, but we can take heart in Him.  He can be our comfort, our shelter, our peace, our kind, loving Father.  And then there's Heaven....ah, Heaven, the ultimate place of peace for the weary soul.

This song sums up perfectly what I feel.  I can't hear it without sobbing.

by Natalie Grant
Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior

Rest in the sweet peace of Christ in a place of which I can't even imagine the beauty and wonder, sweet, beautiful, little Jessie.  I love you, and I long for Heaven to see you and your beautiful mother.
9/23/90 - 11/8/11


  1. Oh Annie I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful family and so much sorrow and grief. I am praying that God holds that family and you in His wonderful, comforting arms and helps you all through this, just as the song posted so movingly promises. Please let me know what else I can do to help.
    Love you,

  2. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Annie this is so beautiful. Natalie Grant has always been my favorite. When Jessica was living with us, Daryl bought us tickets to the Jeremy Camp concert in Austin and Natalie Grant was there and sang that song! But I have to admit this was the very first time I completely understood her lyrics. I was hearing something else before...just as in everything God was waiting for the perfect time for me to understand those lyrics. I love you so. I dont know except thru the grace of God how we will survive this...I know I cannot afford the hand of bitterness and God has shown me that as well. Pray especially for Tom and Bubba Johnna and Tommy. Give my love to the boys and Michael. Hug each other for me !
    Aunt Diane

  4. I just came across this post...while holding my sweet baby boy in my arms....I'm holding him a little tighter now....

    I am so sorry for your loss and I am praying for peace for your family....

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