Why do bad things happen?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do people suffer? Why is this happening to me?

The age old questions. We have heard them all our lives. Maybe you’ve asked them yourself at one time or another.

I know I have.

But then, I found the answer.

When our son was 5, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. In some ways, his diagnosis answered our many questions about why our boy struggled so. In other ways, it brought on more questions about what we should do next, how could we help him, what his future would be like.

Occasionally I would find myself having a moment of wondering why this would happen to our son, to our family. Why?

Please know that I do not want to change him, because part of what makes him such an incredible kid is his Asperger’s. But there have been times when I’ve watched him struggle and wished he did not have to, like, for example, one of the many times we have been in a restaurant having a perfectly wonderful time and a ridiculously loud woman two tables over guffaws incessantly and assaults my boy’s sensitive ears until he runs screaming out of the restaurant.

Now, with Jesus, lots of work, counseling, practice and medication, that has not happened in, well, right now I cannot recall the last time that happened. In the last 3 years, Jacob, now 17, has grown by leaps and bounds. To God be the glory! But I am not so far removed from those “bolting moments” that I have forgotten the pain and the embarrassment—both for him and for us.

And then, one day a few years ago, I found this passage of scripture from John 9:1-7.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in himAs long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him,“wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Here it was! The answer to why these things happen, from the mouth of Jesus himself. The words leaped off the page. There was such relief in my heart as I read those words.

“This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

He wants to display His works in my son! In me! In the life of our family!

God wants to give you a story.

He wants to display His works in you, in your children and loved ones, in your deepest, darkest, most hurt places, so that as you walk through those trials you can come out the other side with a testimony to God’s love, mercy and faithfulness.

This does not mean he will make the suffering go away, as he did for the blind man, but it does not mean He won’t. It means He will work in you so that you can walk through it, depend on Him, learn and grow. And share your story.

Your story will not look like everyone else’s. But rest assured, you will have a story.

A story of victory, what He taught you in that trial and how you grew in your faith. How He sustained you in a time when you were at the very end of it all. A story that you can share with those who come after you.

To give God the glory He deserves.

To encourage others.

To tell them that they are not alone in their pain and suffering.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

What’s your story?

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14 Comments

Filed under Autism Days, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Lessons

14 responses to “Why do bad things happen?

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Why | red van ramblings

  2. What a perfect scripture. I said WOW after reading the bolded part. That is very encouraging isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your story. Part of what else has made him special is having YOU. 😉

    • Aw, thanks so much, Kenya. It was truly an encouragement for me! I hope it is for others as well. And my son is such a huge blessing to me…he teaches me so much! Thanks for your kind words…I really appreciate it.

  3. Pingback: Change is good. Days 11 & 12 | red van ramblings

  4. Love this – I know I’ve thought about this often with our son & his dx. I know you follow me at the buildingonjoy blog – the other one is my special needs blog (at paintingwithpicasso.blogspot.com). I could look it up & see if you’re over there, too, but that’d be like work or something & it’s the weekend…. 😉 You’re not alone in all this – and we’re taking our older son, in early Aug., to see if he’ll end up with the same/similar diagnosis. I’m now re-living this. “why isn’t it easier?” or “why us?” or “why maybe 2 kids?” But – God is faithful & HE KNOWS what He’s doing. i have to trust that even when I have no clue. :-\ It’s so good to know that He prepares the way for us!

    • God is always working, going ahead of us, looking at the big picture. I am so glad He’s got my back!! And I try to remind myself to rejoice in all things…sometimes I do well with that, sometimes not! 😉

  5. Joell you are precious.. Yup we all have a story. That’s so interesting you said that because in times past I was always embarrassed of my life. So much so that I would be jealous of other people, of their so called “happy Lives” and the success that they seemingly found in everything. One day a good friend said to me, “Don’t be ashamed of the life God gave you”. I broke that day and asked God to forgive me for being selfish and ungrateful. Yes on the outside my book/my life/ my story looks pretty tattered, pretty messed up but it is an amazing read. Filled with love, tenderness, victory and hope.. I love that scripture you found. I was very poorly cared for during my pregnancy with my son. He ended up being rushed to ICU at another hospital the moment he was born. I never got to hold him or touch him. I was so sick I had to be in the hospital for a few days after the birth and could not hold him until he was 3 days old. Sounds silly but it was heartbreaking to me. My son seemed ok at first but ended up having a severe vision problem and was diagnosed when he was almost a year old. They told me he was not able to really see my face.. Ughhh. I was so sad and disappointed. As the years went on he developed many severe emotional problems. We have had him on drugs, in day treatment and outpatient treatment. He is only 10 but it has been a long road.When he was only 3 his father was incarcerated and he began to feel the devastating loss in his daddy in some crazy ways. He is one of the most tender hearted human beings I have ever met but it grieves my heart to see him struggle so much., I just keep thanking God for a miracle for him.. Thanks for sharing something so personal to you. YOU are such a blessing. xoxox..K

    • Wow, Kristin! Thanks so much for your sweet words and for sharing YOUR story with me! I really appreciate your openness. As mamas, we hurt when our babies hurt; it’s how God made us! And some of my favorite stories are the very ones that are tattered and water stained and dog eared! 😉 Thank you for your beautiful story!

  6. I absolutely believe this, Joell.

    My son was born with his heart connected up the wrong way round. There were many operations and times of distress – to put it mildly. I asked my self on many occasions “Why me – why us?”. I had lived my life as a good person, so why did I deserve for MY son to suffer so?

    One day, like a bolt from the blue, it hit me. I wasn´t being punished – I HAD BEEN CHOSEN. I had the strength and love to care for this child. Suddenly everything fell into place.

    YOU too have been chosen. 🙂

    • I agree, Marianne! I believe that whatever God call us to do, He is also faithful to equip us to do it! Thanks so much for your comment!

  7. Yes! You are so right! On all counts!

  8. jill

    This is it. This is what gets us by in those moments of frustration and sorrow. We don’t get to pick how God will use us or our children or husbands or those who will directly impact us. He just will…if we let Him. Thanks for the reminder. And…we definitely need to go have lunch & chat. We’re some soul sistahs!

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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