We all have a choice to believe in something, I choose to believe in God!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Why do we suffer? What's the point in tragedy? Why the Holocaust? Why the Tsunami? Why the Haitian earthquake? How can God let this happen? Why isn't everything peaches and cream?

This post is my view on all of it. Why do we suffer? I have come to believe that suffering has the most powerful meaning and ability to teach than anything else on this earth. No religion, no textbook, no Yale professor can teach like tragedy.

The Holocaust. A most atrocious, tragic, horrid loss of lives. No words can truly express it with the dignity and love it deserves. Every adult, as well as most school aged children on the earth, knows it happened. We all feel something when we think of it (or at least should feel something). How many have asked, "why did God let this happen?" I used to think God didn't allow such things and it was all the devil's work and God just picked up the pieces. But after studying scripture for the last decade, I see clearly God gives and takes away, blesses and curses. Whether it was at God's hand or with God's knowledge really isn't the point. The point is, what did mankind gain from it?

Today, the Holocaust is an event we embrace as another piece in the puzzle of our history. We use it as a tool to teach our children what the face of evil looks like. We use it to teach them compassion for their fellow man. We use it to help them understand what hate does; how hate manifests; how hate consumes. We use it to teach our nations what to look for in our leaders. We use it to learn what to avoid when joining ourselves to others in corporate belief. We use it to remember others and keep our hearts warm. We use it to teach ourselves how to forgive and go on. We use it to learn how to overcome tragedy and move past the memories and into a greater life existence. We use it to stomp out prejudice and to teach the value of embracing diversity in all people.

What's the value of a tragedy like the Japanese Tsunami? It has taught a nation of people that they can rebuild. It taught them the value of the family members they have, still surviving. It's often true that we don't realize what we have until it's gone. It taught the rest of the nations how to respect the Japanese people for their hope, strength, and will to survive. It taught us to pray for them, to send help, to hope with them. It taught us to see past their obvious external difference to ourselves, and into their human hearts. It taught us to value what we have. It gave many of us a new found respect for their culture and their ways. I, personally, was touched by the loving way in which they cleaned and displayed every picture found under the mud and debris. There is hope displayed with every photograph (the hope that someone's loved one would be recognized and located).

What could we have learned from the Haitian earthquake? To me, this one was the easiest to see. We, as a nation, learned to rise up and begin helping. Many flew to Haiti immediately, in order to help with healthcare and housing. Many came to rebuild; help with the cleanup;  administer healthcare and sustenance. Many went to adopt, or to be with those who's mother's arms were present but unable to embrace their child. We became surrogate comforters in place of the parents who weren't able. Again, it taught us that we can push past prejudice (which we all know still exists today) and go to the heart of love and give of ourselves until we're empty. When we do, we allow the Lord to fill us up again. We have used it to teach our nation where our infrastructure is failing and needs repair. We used it to show our children that being a parent means loving a child that isn't our own. Many found within themselves a love and compassion they didn't know they possessed.

The lessons in all of these major tragedies that we can learn is that we have love one towards another. As we go through our lives we don't think about this. We don't ask, "do I love other races or cultures?" But when a tragedy happens on the other side of the world (or closer to home), we can choose to look away or turn our eyes towards them in their hour of need. These tragedies are often used by God to do just that. We are forced to look outside of our world and see that people are hurting and in desperate need. He uses it to prick our hearts and warm us to their plight. He uses it to bring something out of us that lies dormant and unused.

God is in the middle of all of this. These things must needs be. This will not win me any new fans or gain me the admiration of my readers, but I believe that one of the factors governing these mass losses of life is the over-population factor. I believe that either God or God's plan is that the "thinning of the herd" needs to take place for mankind to exist on this planet without over running every square inch of dry land. How would this planet be right now if we had no death? Or we had only those handfuls of loss that really don't tip the scales in any way? There's a value and a purpose for it all. We have to realize it and embrace it. We have to trust God with all of it. It will behoove us to see value and life after these deaths.


  1. The Holocaust came home to me when I went through the Holocaust Museum in DC. I was a chaperon for a group of 8th graders. Just when I thought I had seen it all I came out of the main exhibit and walked right in to Daniel's life. Yet another exhibit--this one through the eyes of a Jewish child. It was hard not to be moved to tears as you re-live the Holocaust with all it's horrors, pains and suffering in the first person. It brought the history to life for me and brought with it a sadness I had never known.

    I could not help but ask the question--Why did God let this happen? Atrocities and tragedies such as these seem to always bring us to this question. And while I agree with everything that you said in your post. I always come back more empty than blessed.

    I have read books on why Bad things Happen to good people. And the answers never seem to satisfy my quest for justice. To some how make sense of it all.

    There are several HARD lessons that Christians struggle with and for me this is one of the hardest. One that I am still struggling with but thanks to your post I now have more food for thought.

    Thanks For Sharing

    1. Hi Russ, let me thank you for such an in depth and thoughtful comment. As I read your 2nd paragraph wherein you express a lesser blessing than greater emptiness, I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps the reason for this is that you're seeking an answer that you've already determined to exist. Perhaps like a lot of us, we expect a definitive answer to these things that would satisfy our own personal longings and beliefs. As I stated in the beginning of this post, these are my views into tragedy, suffering, and mass loss. I feel at peace in my heart that I have found my answer to why these things must needs be. Is it the answer the world should have? No. We all need to find these answers to satisfy our own longings for truth and rational. I hope you don't go your entire life with the emptiness that overtakes your blessings. I do invite you to give me your theory as to why we experience these tragedies on such a massive scale? What else could be the reason if it's not for us to learn and grow? This seems well worth the discussion. If for no other reason, I shouldn't go through my life misunderstanding something of such great importance to humanity. I embrace that we are not to know everything on this side of eternity, but I believe our Lord understands and cultivates in us a healthy curiosity and need to find these answers. I will always dig deep. Thank you for coming by, Russ.

  2. I have always questioned god as to why I had to live a life I did growing up, why fall victim to bullying, why fall victim to substance abuse, why why why why. I know why now and I began to understand more as to why 14 months ago. 14 months later I'm now the father of little Liam. Everything I have experienced in my short life span was to show me that Im not going to raise my son in the same conditions I was brought up in. Pretty simple for those that pay attention. The most important thing though that I have learned and I am still struggling with his dont question his methods, he has a plan for us and I believe our lives would be better if we just simply listened to him.

    1. You're just like your momma, always wanting to know why. He's been not telling me why for so long you'd think I would stop asking. Why did we suffer those years? I don't know about you sweetheart, but it taught me so much about who I am, who I'm meant to be, and who I don't deserve in my life. We all deserve to be happy and there's no way to get to that place without the hard lessons. We learn through our suffering that we can overcome it and go on to help someone else overcome their tragedy. I'm proud of you Gage!!


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