Faith can be fragile. The speed bumps, potholes and detours on the road of life can cause it to shatter. For one patient, the questions that came with her fractured face resulted in a loss of faith.
Who could blame her? The accident was pretty severe. She had multiple fractures in multiple places, including a shattered nose, along with severe facial lacerations and internal injuries. She was okay now, but it had taken months to recover. Physically she seemed fine but I wondered about emotional scars. I asked about her recovery and how she had handled the stress. She shared that it had been difficult, but she had dealt with it as best she could. I asked about her support network, about who she had been able to lean on and whose shoulders she could cry on and inquired as to whether she was a part of a faith community.
She wasn't. In fact she did not really believe in God much at all. When I asked her why she gave a very common answer, “I used to believe, but then I decided that if God was there He would not allow all of this bad stuff to happen.”
I thought about what she said. Like so many it seemed that what little faith she had was dependent on how her life turned out. God was supposed to be good, so if He was real then her life shouldn't be bad. Her life had not been very good so God must not be real.
“I can understand that thinking, and in a way it makes sense," I replied, "You were led to believe that God would act in a certain way, and He didn't. Saying He isn't there is one possible explanation. There is another possible explanation. Maybe what you were taught about God was incorrect.”
Christian theology makes many claims about the nature of God. One claim it never makes is that God's ultimate purpose is to protect us from bad things!
Her story causes me to wonder... How much of what we have been taught about how God works is just plain wrong?
When it comes to suffering and blessing, it may be more than we care to admit. There have been so many times in my life when I looked at personal pain and asked “Where was God?” The truth is that He was where He always was, working to make me the person He wants me to be, the better person I need to be, and working for His ultimate plan. The truth is that sometimes this process is painful.
Those who have known me for a while will attest to the fact that I have changed significantly over the years. I am kinder, more gracious, more compassionate and more understanding than I was before. Those who know me best can also testify to how this change has occurred. God has used suffering, pain and loss to mold me into the better man I have become. I have learned that instead of pain being a sign that God has abandoned me it is much more likely a sign that God has not given up on me.!
If you are struggling through hard times, share it with someone. Message me through this website (use the contact link on the menu bar) so I can pray for you and encourage you. Have your own story of how pain worked in your life? Please share it in the comments, someone out there may need to hear it! If you think this post, or any post, might be meaningful to someone else please share it by clicking a button below.