Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Bad Things Happen to Good Children

I know a little girl who was diagnosed with a lifelong disease in early elementary school. Every day she undergoes medical treatments to keep her healthy. This is one of those situations that can make people question God. Why would he allow a little child to suffer like this?

I don't know this girl's family very well, but I see them every now and again, as I have since well before the disease was diagnosed. When I first met them, I was struck by how unhappy the mother was. Aside from the typical griping about the hardships of child-rearing, her interactions with her little ones seemed completely devoid of joy. It was as if every request they made, whether for play, affection, or basic needs, was unreasonable. She felt martyred and it showed.

The diagnosis of the little girl changed everything.

The threat to her daughter seemed to awaken this mother to the gift of her children. Seeing her now is a lesson in good parenting. She can laugh at frustrations of raising her spirited younger one. She freely offers and receives hugs and kisses. She anticipates her little ones'  needs and cares for them. This family has blossomed. Everyone, including the little girl, is filled with love and joy.

Joy!

Is it possible that this transformation could have come through another situation? Maybe. Maybe not. God's wisdom is not ours. The hardship of this disease should not be downplayed; it is a serious struggle for the little girl and her parents. But the gains have been amazing.

There are situations where the ultimate good is not as visible. But I don't see tragedy as an obstacle to faith in God. If pain in this life is what is required for eternal joy, isn't it worth the trade?

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