Monday, March 7, 2011

We've All Asked "Why?"

A friend once asked me a question we've all asked from times to time; 
"Why does God let bad 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 three seconds earlier or three 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 thought, “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 hear or feel a prompting to turn down a street before the street where the accident occurred. 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 we fail to listen or hear.

None of us like to admit 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 to do something that would have kept Grizelda from entering my head. Perhaps I ignored it or was too busy to hear a message that could have saved me from the ordeal I went through. 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. Sometimes we disregard and sometimes we don't even hear.

But God knew we would not always listen. He knew we would be preoccupied or vexed and therefore make mistakes. So he provided an Atonement that not only overcomes our sins, but compensates us for all we suffer unfairly, if we just trust in Him.


Anonymous said...

And sometimes we're prompted, and we never do know what the negative experience would have been. We listen, things are all right and we just go on. I agree we must listen all that we can as Heavenly Father does look after us, but we also have to accept the circumstances we find ourselves in, whether we didn't listen closely enough, or the negative experience is part of our progression in this world, or to the next. I truly believe that all our experiences, even the terrible ones, are not random, but happen under Heavenly Father's watchful eye, with our best interest eternally in mind.

Julie said...

I believe that God is always prompting us, but that bad things happen as part of our experiences here. I felt you were saying in this piece that we are in control of all things bad that happen to us. I don't think that is the case. I don't feel that your Grizelda came because you ignored a message that God sent to you. I don't believe that my friend has MS because she didn't listen to God at some point in her life. I don't believe that my grandson was born deaf because of something he or his mother did. I believe because we live in a mortal world that these things are part of what being mortal is about. I am so grateful for my Savior who through all experiences will be there for me.