Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This sleeping sitting up isn’t working. It is 5:00 am and I have been awake since 2:30. That means I’ve been thinking for 2 and 1/2 hours. I’ll try to distill my thoughts down.

Yesterday a friend asked me why God lets some things happen. He used the example of a mother of five struggling on life support after a terrible car accident. If she had reached the intersection five seconds earlier or five seconds later, she wouldn’t be near death. But across town at the very same time someone has lost their keys, prays about it and the tender mercies of the Lord lead the person to the keys. Why did God take care of the keys and not the mother?

That does seem like a perplexing problem. But I would be very, very careful about blaming God. How do we know that the Spirit didn’t say to the woman, “Slow down. You’re going too fast”? How do we know that she didn’t think, “But I’m late. I can’t slow down now.” Or maybe before she left the house the spirit said, “Call Sister Smith.” And she didn’t think, “Why should I call Sister Smith?” or “I’ll do it when I get back.” Or maybe she was so preoccupied stressing about what happened that morning with a child or fretting about all the bills that needed to be paid tomorrow that she didn’t even hear or feel the prompting. From what I know about God, it is much more likely the case that God is always prompting, always transmitting the necessary help and guidance, but that it is we who fail to tune in.

None of us like to hear that it is our fault that we have a problem. But how do I know that a few months or years ago the Spirit didn’t prompt me, “Don’t eat that!” or give me some other warning that would have kept this tumor from developing, and I either ignored or didn’t hear the prompting? I firmly believe that God is no respecter of persons. So the logical conclusion for me is that bad things don’t happen because God wills them or allows them. Bad things happen because in our mortal frailness we make mistakes.

But God knew we would not always listen. He knew we would be preoccupied or fretting and therefore make mistakes. So he provided an Atonement that not only overcomes our sins, but compensates us for all we suffer if we will just trust in Him. Now is my time to trust and to learn to listen better.


Anonymous said...

Sis.Johnson I have been out of town and just heard your news.I have been reading a book (All These Things Gain Us Experience) and he says one of the reasons we have trials is to be an example to others. I believe the Lord has prepared you & I know you will be a wonderful example of patiently submitting to all He seeth fit to inflict upon you. I know you of all people will enjoy your closer walk with God and all of us who know and love you will be strengthened and uplifted by your courage & faith. My love & prayers are with you as you embark on this journey you did not expect to take but that Father always knew you would. TeLene

Lila Tueller said...

Just wanted you to know my prayers are with you. You are so strong, and such an inspiration to me. My mother in law Carol Tueller had a large brain tumor removed, right behind her forehead, several years ago. She was very brave about it, and had a great deal of faith that all would be made well. And it was. She made a full recovery, without any major complications. I would love for you to have a chance to talk to her. If you are interested, let me know. You are such a pillar of strength to us all, and to your family! Take care, and please don't blame yourself that you didn't heed promptings. some bad things happen because we are in mortality. It's not anyone's fault. Not yours, not the Lord's. Just life.

Love you,

Wendi said...

I agree with what you wrote, but also with the two comments ahead of mine. Sometimes we just experience things to help us grow and to help others learn from our example. I've appreciated your example and testimony. And I'm thankful that we're able to share in this experience with you. I feel bad that you're not sleeping--that makes trials more difficult to bear. I love this picture you chose. I have it as the header on my therapy blog. :)

Wendi said...

P.S. I just learned that the title of this post means "In defense of God's goodness and omnipotence...". You did a very good job of that.

In your previous post you joked how you were afraid that they would find that there was nothing in your brain once it was exposed. After reading EVERY post on this blog, I am here to defend the fact that your brain is full of some of the BEST thoughts I've ever read. You are a real inspiration to me. :)

Anissa said...

I think it is important to remember that only sometimes do bad things happen because of a prompting we didn't follow. I really think that a lot of the times Heavenly Father is just trying to teach us something and knows how much we can grow through our trials. And for others lives we can touch along the way-- which you are doing right now. Even if we are "listening", we will still have the challenges, but it is how we react and handle them that God is interested in.