Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

Why DO bad things happen to good people? This is something many people ask themselves.  Probably the first time I asked myself that question was when I was 12.  I knew something was going on around the house.  Dad had been in and out of the hospital, on vitamins, and Mom and Dad did a lot of talking instead of yelling.  Dad was then diagnosed with ALS ~ Lou Gehrig’s Disease and died when I was 17.  There was a lot to deal with during my formative years.  The caregiver becomes the caretaker.  Not a normal household.  It was a very different household than what my sister’s grew up in.

But what you may not know, Dad was not living the life a Christian is called to live.  He drank, he was disrespectful to my mother, and disrespectful to me (yes, there is scripture about parents not provoking your children ~ Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”).  I remember many times asking for prayer for my dad for salvation.  Not the kind of salvation that you receive when you are 8 years old, but a saving grace that pricked his heart.  He was brought up in the church and knew right from wrong.

Gradually, I began to see him read his bible every morning at the breakfast table before I left for school together with the devotion book that my mother read.  Nothing was ever said.  Deacons would come to the house to minister to him as his illness became worse.  Ron Wright, Hugh Sharp, and Roy Allen, three Godly men I remember spending a lot of time in my house over those last years.  If dad was feeling up to it, he would attend church with his cane.  Once he was wheelchair bound, he watched several services on tv.  I’ll never forget Adrian Rogers visiting him.  My father’s boss was a deacon at Bellevue.

My father went to be with the Lord on December 27, 1982, in our home.  And I truly believe he went to be with the Lord because I saw a change in him.  I saw the way he treated my mother and his desire to soak in more of God’s word.  Unfortunately, what did not change, was the relationship between us and that is something I cannot do anything about.  But it taught me so much.

I use this illustration to say again, why do bad things happen to good people? My dad WAS a good man, by “good men” standards.  But being “good” doesn’t get you into heaven.  We know that.  If I have learned anything, ANYTHING as I held my sweet Barry’s head as he met Jesus (Jay’s brother), held the hand of my father-in-law when he met Jesus, and laid next to my son as he ran to Jesus – GOD CAN REDEEM ALL THINGS FOR GOOD.

But how do we know He redeem things for good? And why do people question God’s choosing and purpose?  It’s call faith.  That simple.  Faith.  You may have faith of a mustard seed and struggle with the smallest things.  You may have faith of a mountain and can walk through any storm.  It says in 1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” If we have an intimate relationship with God our Father, we know that He has a PURPOSE in ALL things. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. GOD HAD A PURPOSE FOR TREY ERWIN.

I have overheard that some at Collierville High are now claiming deism as their “faith” because a loving God would not let Trey die the way he did or let the incident of Sandy Hook occur one year ago.  This makes my heart sad.  Some of you might be asking what is deism? Deism is the acknowledgment of the existence of a god upon the testimony of reason and of nature and its laws, and the rejection of the possibility of supernatural intervention in human affairs and of special revelation.  So, people are thinking God created Trey, knit him in my womb, and he suffered and died without purpose?  What does that say about the birth, death and resurrection of Christ?  From the Message ~ Ps. 139:13-14 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”  I’m beginning to wonder if you read his tweets, listened to his testimony (which you can see on this blog), or really, know him at all ~ because he knew Jesus.  His faith made him stronger than any army.

Do you realize that one day we will all die?  Our ultimate destiny as a Christian will be to spend eternity with God.  But the bible says that there is only one way to get there (Uh, Hello!) and that is through Christ, His son.  John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  So here we are, praying for salvation for our loved ones (just like I did for my dad) because we DO want to spend eternity with them.  Did I pray for my dad to get sick so that he would become closer to God? No, but that is what happened.  What I praying that Trey lead a pure life, absolutely.  Does the bible put a preface on HOW we are going to get there?  God never told us the road would be easy.  Matter of fact, He warns us multiple times that there will be trials and tribulation.  Bless Job’s heart.  He is a prime example of someone in the bible that experienced bad things happening.  He had everything taken away from him.  His children and family were killed, he lost his property, all his belongings, and his health.  Yet God used him to challenge Satan through his obedience and faith.  Grace Communion International said, “It wasn’t that Job had to overcome a specific sin, but rather that he had to grow in understanding. Job had been too hasty in concluding God was unjust or unable to rule in the right way. Job’s suffering had such an intent — to prove whether he would love God in spite of everything.  This message of Job has deep implications for our relationship with God. Trials and suffering provide spiritual enrichment and build a relationship between us and God.”

He gives us answers for our tribulation! “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” Nahum 1:7  In many hours before Trey’s death, there was not restlessness, worry, confusion, only peace.  Trey had a peace that he would be with Jesus soon.  We had talked about it days earlier.  With deism you do not have to accept the responsibility of having faith in anything.  There IS NO HOPE for your future.  But I know, for my family, faith is where it’s at.  My goodness, that’s the only way I get out of bed each morning.

As for the shooting at Sandy Hook, I know that gun activist are taking a stand.  I do not claim to know ANYTHING about it, BUT if it can protect more people and something from happening again.  This is from the Huff Post today and is a portion of the article titled “One Year After Sandy Hook…”

Mark Barden no longer works much as a musician. Nicole Hockley is no longer a stay-at-home mom. Both are full-time employees of Sandy Hook Promise, whose pledge — signed by nearly 270,000 on the internet — reads:

This is a promise to truly honor the lives lost by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation, to be open to all possibilities … to have the conversations on all the issues, conversations where listening is as important as speaking. … This is a promise to do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims; but as the place where real change began.

“[This] work is now my whole life,” Mark said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C., where he and Nicole were on a fundraising trip. They spend a lot of time in D.C., and were among the dozen family members of Sandy Hook victims who met with senators last spring, asking them to expand required background checks for gun purchases.

THIS is redeeming something bad for good! God knew! He knew this work would need to be done.  He knows I need to finish things in my household.  He knew that his friend, Mitchell Moore, would be baptized this Sunday after being saved at camp with him several years ago.  All because of Trey’s faith and the way he lived OUT his life.  Not necessary LIVED, but lived OUT.

Romans 8:1-5 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

It started with Eve in the garden.  Sin.  We are of a sinful nature.  That’s just what we are and we have to fight it daily.  Satan seeks to destroy us.  That is his ultimate goal ~ to destroy anyone, ANYONE who attempts to become God’s child.  Job 2:2 “The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”  BE ALERT! John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  Don’t you want abundant life? I sure do! And it’s a daily prayer for me and my family.

My email is on this blog.  If you have any doubts about your salvation, I urge you to contact me about it.  I would love to talk to you.  I cannot wait to get to heaven and dance on the streets of gold with my baby boy!  We are in the last days, my friends, make no mistake.  If you pray for salvation for a loved one, don’t be surprised how God will get them there!  Their MESS just might become their MESSAGE!  1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

So, we are back to why do bad things happen to good people.  We have to remember that some things we will not know this side of heaven.  I firmly believe it is a matter you will need to bring before God if your faith is wavering. “Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

My faith is what gets me through the day.  Bad things happen.  But when my life is over, I want to stand before the Lord and hear, Matt. 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Christmas…And All That Fluff!

It’s that time of year.  You know, when people say Happy Holidays! Or Merry Christmas!  But for most, the whirl of a year of grief did not just start all over again.  Don’t ask me why I thought something magical would happen after a year and things would all of a sudden get better.  If anything, I feel I’ve turned a corner to a different kind of grief.  I knew walking through things with his senior class would be tough, but not this tough.  There are definitely more tears publicly and at night when I go to bed.  But as hard as I try, they just don’t stop.  I told a friend today that I have actually cried out to the Lord “Why!” knowing the answers all along.  If He’s my father, he already knows my heart and has a big enough lap to handle my needs.

It doesn’t help that the majority of his support group at church has either fallen away, moved to another church, or they are at college.  That is why I was so excited when they came home at Thanksgiving.  Trey always hung with the older crowd at church.  Even though I thought I was well on my way to having my identity being Lisa Erwin and not just Trey’s mom, I have always said, I will ALWAYS be Trey’s mom!  It’s a hard scale to balance.

I hear him now – Mom, the Sound of Music is on! Nothing makes sense.  This intense, gut wrenching pain that you keep suppressed just below the surface bubbles each day and just when you don’t expect it ~ that pain comes out in tears, silence, or the overwhelming desire to not roll out of bed.  Or, as I am sitting in traffic and you see the 18 wheeler coming up behind you and you think to yourself for a split second that you don’t care if it stops.  Then you shake yourself back into reality.  That’s the definition of being hit by a Mack truck and I know what it feels like.  This is daily.  Trust me, it’s nothing a drug can cure.

I’ve been reading the book The Circle Maker and one thing the author did was take a break from social media in order to finish his book.  I’ve tossed that idea around in my head because I don’t think I’ll ever get it finished unless I concentrate on it.  But also, social media adds so many reminders that may not fit our family any longer.  If you were to drive by our house each night you would think we were not at home.  The house is dark, no lights, no life.  Only the light of the tv and usually everyone is a different room.

But days were once different.  When at Christmas, Jay and I spent too much money on our kids for Christmas.  I remember one Christmas Trey sat on a bar stool and his boxes were higher than the stool and he had his arm on them.  Oh, I have pictures.  We have tried this year to buy for Collin, but nothing can make up for the loss of Trey.  And really, it shouldn’t because buying gifts is not what Christmas is all about.  I have a dear friend who is an attorney who shared this story with me years ago.  When her children were little, she started out only giving them three gifts each.  She explained to them that is what the wise men brought to Jesus when he was born.  Her Godly example still speaks to my heart.

Christ was born in a small stable, to Mary and Joseph.  How did they feel?  As Christ grew He knew what He would be facing.  He knew that He was born to die.  This was His purpose. Yet as He was to die for our sins, He was distressed as it says in Mark 14:34-35

“And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.  And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

I think it takes more than a year for me to accept as a mother that my son was born for a purpose, to live for four months with a horrible disease, and die.  All he said was that he wanted to be normal.  In those early weeks he would cry and tell me he wanted to be normal.  Just he and I, we had a momma and son moment and he just cried.  That was about the only time he ever showed any kind of desire to understand what was going on in his life.  And I couldn’t give it to him.  But that’s when his faith took off more.

So as we play with elves, watch Buddy the Elf, shop at every store for the Xbox One, make Christmas candy, do all the things that are our family traditions, I am doing my best to remind myself that it’s all just fluff and Christ is the reason for Christmas.  If it weren’t for His birth and death, I would have no way to cope with the death of my own son.  I would have no hope of eternity.  Even in grief, my hope is still in the Lord.  But as much as people try to understand, you can’t understand how much I miss my buddy.  Because you know what, above all, he wasn’t ashamed of his momma.  And that makes me proud.  I’m proud of you Trey Erwin.  For reminding me to worship The Great I Am.