Sunday, May 25, 2014

bad things. good people. and vice versa. [doubt&devotion]

Welcome to another edition of 
Doubt&Devotion.
Kate from The Florkens and I are so glad to have you here, sharing your heart, and engaging in conversations about doubt, devotion, and all that's in between. 
Mr. Thomas & Me
You are invited to join us every Sunday for some talk on faith, religion, any and everything that lies heavy on your heart. We'll both post about our current struggles then at the bottom we'll invite you to join in the conversation either with a post of your own or in the comments section.

Oh how we're thrilled to have you. 
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Why do bad things happen to good people? 

Or conversely, why good things to bad people? 
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Dementia. A decidedly bad thing. My Popsicle. A damned good person. The diagnosis. Bad, hard, sad. My family. Good, workers, trying, but good -by all "standards". 

Why did this bad thing happen to us, good people? 

Or conversely, why didn't it happen to someone else, someone bad, someone mean, hurtful, unproductive? 
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I've heard it expertly explained, wonderfully "answered", and poorly addressed many times. Without seminary and any formal education, I write from my own deductions and experiences. I write candidly and randomly about the thoughts that follow, attempt to answer, drive along the same lines as said questions. 

I don't think God "does" things to people. I don't think He sits on His Heavenly throne looking down to see who needs justice, wrath, or a miracle. I don't think He lies in wait to punish us for bad or reward us for good. 

I think He decided to take a step back and give us free will. And while stepping back, He realized we need some parameters. And He gave them. He gave them specifically to Adam and Eve in the form of instructions about a certain tree in the garden long, long ago. Instructions that were broken and, in being so, changed the world as we knew it. That created brokenness -a trait that remains very alive today. 

I do think God sits on His Heavenly throne watching us muck it all up and suffer seriously from the consequences, just as a parent watches their teenager -knowing it's vital to learn every action has a reaction. I do think it breaks God's heart to watch us lose ourselves in the heartache and heart break of our culture. I do think He weeps for His children as we spin our wheels with all we've got to no avail. 

Bad things happen to good and bad people. So do good things. 
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I think it's more apparent to us when someone doesn't get what they deserve -good or bad. You win some, you lose some, and the whole time, God's there. I think that's the point in all this bad-good-happenings conversation: that He's there, sustaining, everlasting, incredible. 
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Dementia is bad, but He's good. 

He's here, sustaining, everlasting, incredible. He's good. 
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19 comments:

  1. I love this perspective. I grew up Christian and I still am but I haven't been to church in a bit because of this very thing. I go sometimes with my parents still but this 2014 in particular I lost someone dear to me through death and friendships/relationships have been tested and I ponder this very thing. Just what I needed to hear as I sit in my apt skipping church once again, because Im angry at God. Real talk.

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  2. yes i completely agree with you. He created an imperfect world and allows bad things to happen to us. He does not give us what we cannot handle.

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  3. Dear Amber, I have followed your journey for some time now, every step of the way. I would like to ask a question if I may please. As a Christian Wife, Daughter, Sister, Step Sister, Half Sister, Niece Aunt, Friend and Foe, Strangers from near and Far,your example is followed by the way you share your life's experiences through your blog and in the way you live and express yourself to those that share your real world. Your audience thus is rather large and it is easy to see why people are doing so. I need to question, how can you possibly think that you are the only one that has and is experiencing the things life has thrown at you. How you can in your self expression be so cold and accusingly venomous towards people reaching out to you, when they have actually experienced the personal pain they have had to endure and feel sympathetic towards you. How you can simply rebuff such kind words of compassion to you when are coming from places and circumstances you have not bothered to take into account. I have a problem with that Amber, especially when you are practicing a faith you proclaim so strongly. Is it not just human, to be thankful for the kindness and caring being expressed. You have no grace Amber, as a woman and as a Christian. You are going to angry just as you have expressed in many a statement made on your blog, but rather than sway people by how you are trying so hard to be a Christian, you are failing basic simple down to earth intrinsic values of being a good human being and a woman. We all come from pain, Amber you need to respect others feelings and take a reality check. You see Amber I had this lesson to learn that life is an equaliser we are all the same, only that we need to learn humility.

    I am a recovering "Ex " Christian and have found my true north, as a non Christian.

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  4. I'm reading Keller's Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, since I've been diagnosed with such a painful condition and I see my friends who keep getting diagnosed with cancer, suffer from infertility, and becoming paralyzed in car accidents. I am constantly reminding myself that we live in a fallen and broken world. It's so hard, but knowing that there is something so much better to come gives me the only hope to survive the day! Thank you for your inspiring the post :)

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  5. Val,

    Thank you so much for your honesty and ability to express your feelings about me and my space so clearly. Life and faith are hard. Hard in ways that beg for us to lean on and learn from one another. Surely I have the most to learn and it's readers who are engaged and willing to share that allow for that to happen. Readers like you who, though we differ in faith and perspective, understand the difficulties that life holds.

    My hope for this space is it is a place to find community in our joys and our sufferings. I try my best to be transparent in all parts of our life but know that I'm still learning the art of writing, so fall short often. It appears that may be the case as I've never intended to lack compassion or humility and, in fact, have worked diligently to express myself while balancing my story and faith with those of my readers. I apologize if Mr. Thomas and Me is no longer a space that holds inspiration and community for you.

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  6. Sarah,


    Life is so hard. And heartbreaking. And yet, rewarding. There seems to be such a rash of difficult circumstances in the lives around me too -sometimes I wonder was it always this hard or am I just more mature and aware now?.


    I'm so sorry about your pain and diagnosis. I can't begin to imagine trying to do life when it hurts physically and emotionally. You're such a beautiful soul with such a wonderful perspective and it's nothing short of completely inspirational.

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  7. Oh Lauren thank you for seeing my heart here and understanding the way that hurt happens. Thankfully He is strong and merciful and present. Sometimes just knowing He's there helps in such big ways.

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  8. Krystal,


    I hear your real talk. And, to be real, I wrestle with Him about how my dad's illness has shredded everything I knew and believed of Him. He continues to give me beautiful nuggets of truth and hope despite my attitude. (I'm hoping that makes even just a bit of sense) Like, He says I hear you, you're mad, that's okay and allowed but that doesn't change the way I love you. And, I believe Him (despite my unruly emotions).


    Church is still something that I struggle earnestly with being consistent about... I find myself so nervous about going and being present but so rewarded each time I do. Yet, a week later when Sunday comes back those nerves reappear.


    Your voice is dear and special here girl. I appreciate you and every bit of your real talk. :)

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  9. Thank you. I read you (and other christian blogs) often just felt compelled to comment today. Thanks for the sweet reply and yes that is my attitude weekly re attending church, Let's hope it gets better :)

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  10. I love an aunt to Dementia. Walking in and her having no idea who I am or her daughter or my gma who is her sister is just sad to see. We lost her due to that a year ago this January.

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  11. I really don't love when people say that God never gives you more than you can handle, because it's really not how it goes. These things, these terrible things, these overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable things don't happen because we can handle them. They happen because we live in a broken world, and the insurmountable is only is made smaller by the size of your faith. In the midst of the brokenness, we turn to the only unbroken thing--the Cross, and in drawing near to God the worst things that happen to us will grow our faith. We've been given Grace to overcome it all, so that we don't have to do it on our own.


    I'm so sorry for your pain in this. Draw near the cross, sweet girl.

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  12. I was STILL thinking about this post this morning and I revisited mentally my previous comment and thought, you know, that doesn't really say what I meant.


    What I meant was sometimes life does give you things you can't handle, but you don't have to handle them because you've got the greatest defense against all odds in the entire world--Jesus. You can rest in the storm because someone greater than you has already prepared the way for you. 2 Chronicles 20:17--"You will not need to fight this battle."


    That's what I really meant. There we go.

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  13. Girl, yes. All. THE. THINGS. You've. SAID. YES. Because, that's it, there's such thing as too much and no handle, but then like Aslan (from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) He comes in to be our protection, our preparation. Oh, you precious soul you.

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  14. Your optimism always amazes me. I know that I don't have it in me to be so faithful through something so horrible. Hell, I get mad at God just for allowing those things to happen to other people... I know I wouldn't react kindly if it were to happen to my own... I admire you. My strength and faith wanes, but yours never seems to...

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  15. ...C.S. Lewis. The best. I just nerded out over how deep this was and how fantastic it was that you used Narnia to respond. You're speaking my geeky Jesus loving language, girl.

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  16. I completely agree. It hurts my heart when people say tritely everything happens for a reason to explain it all away. Bad things happen and sometimes life does suck (incredibly hard at times) and good things happen to. My church sermon was on this last week, Yahweh Shammah (the Lord is here/there), always. My favourite verse is Matthew 28:20 'for surely I am with you always, until the end of days'. I struggle with this, as life has been more sucky than not for a while, but I know it to be true.

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  17. Oh Lucy I'm sorry that life's hard. It seems like when it's hard seeing Him, feeling Him, acknowledging Him can be nearly impossible... But your heart is such a beautiful thing engaged in what He's doing with you and, well, it warms my heart even at a distance. :)

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  18. Oh girl it wanes, I just don't know how to speak about it well. And I realize that I'm a simple soul looking for simple things and, well, it makes keeping myself positive a little, tiny bit easier! :)

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  19. So sorry about your aunt Laney. It's such an ugly and difficult disease yet there's a goodness and hope born of it that God's been so faithful in replenishing.

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