Sometimes, some people get an awful hand in life. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.
I do not know why. I will never pretend to know.
I have met a lot of people who believe they have the answers. They do not.
Once, I had some one point out during my grief after I lost my mother that she was healed when I was younger. It was like she was suggesting that I remain thankful for that one healing, like that was some sort of explanation. Yes, she had an illness then, and she got better, like I did not know I was lucky to have her all the time I did, like it mattered at the time I was grieving.
People love to put a bow on terrible things. I get it. We want something good to hang onto.
We like to understand things. We like to know. We like to have control.
The thing is, we do not get to have that much control. We do not get to have all the answers.
I have been on the side of having unanswered prayers. I have also been on the side of answered prayers.
My daughter was born two years ago. When she was born, the doctors told me she would need surgery, and she was taken to a different hospital immediately.
A few hours later, when I arrived at the hospital, the doctor said “I saw the scan from before you came, and we did another scan. We aren’t sure what happened on the way over, but your daughter must have healed herself.”
I cried the happiest tears, thankful for a miracle.
However, only a few hours later, I heard a family next door weeping and talking about their newborn baby having cancer.
Later, I heard a family say they lived at the hospital for months after their baby was born. They were still struggling with the baby’s digestive problems.
I was incredibly grateful for my little girl, but I could not deny the awful experiences of those around me. And I could not deny the fact that these miracles and lack of miracles do not always make sense to us.
Since then, I watched my sister, Lindsey, lose her baby at almost 20 weeks pregnant. I prayed relentlessly for that sweet girl, Lily Grace.
My sister named her Lily because she looked like a little lily on a lily pad when she saw her. She took once breath when she was born, then she died, and my sister held her daughter till she had to let go.
Why was one child spared of a surgery, while another only got one sweet breath in her mother’s arms?
I will never know the answer to that. Therefore, I will never ever say things like, “I just prayed in faith, and so God answered.” No. I am not the reason. Our faith does not dictate the world. If it did, the world would look entirely different. My niece would be living and breathing today.
My sister is very strong. She has resiliency, like no one else I have ever met. She looks forward to having a baby again. She will love on that baby with the greatest love a mother could have. She will somehow turn her loss into something beautiful.
I cannot promise anyone that they will not have difficult circumstances, but I can promise that with time, those circumstances can foster growth and perseverance.
When I think about the terrible things that happen to people sometimes, I feel heartbroken. If you are struggling with something difficult today, I’m so sorry for your pain.
I will not tell you that it happened for some perfect reason because the truth is, we live in a sinful, messy, and confusing world. I cannot understand the death of a child, the rape of a defenseless woman, or many other destructive, senseless tragedies.
I cannot promise you that there is something “bigger and better” on this earth at the expense of your pain. Just know that with healing, comes growth. Know that you get a say. In the rubble of your pain, I know that is not easy to see. But you get to make a choice to let that terrible thing open to something good. That’s not to put a bow on your pain. It’s to instill real, tangible hope.
It does not mean everything will be all better. It means you can find amazing purpose in your pain.