Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When Bad Things Happen To Good People

There's a new video that's been circulating around the internet recently that has completely touched my heart. It's the story of Ian and Larissa. How God can turn a tragic and sudden disability into a story that magnifies his love. I encourage you to watch the video below:

The Story of Ian and Larissa

There has been many situations to take place in my life (though definitely not anything as tragic as this story) that has left me filled with questions. I'm sure many of you have felt the same way also. A grandparent passes away. Your boyfriend breaks up with you. Your dad loses his job.

And it's left you devastated. You don't understand why it had to happen, how it could possibly be God's best for you. Because even though God is the author of life, we sometimes like to think that we could write the story better if the pen was in our hands instead.

For example, something tragic - like your boyfriend being involved in an accident that will affect his future forever - is definitely not something any of us have in mind when we think of our future. Isn't God supposed to bless his children? Because he loves us and wants us to always be happy?

Those are big lies that the enemy places in our minds so that once something does happen, we tend to think negatively about God. First of all, our circumstances should never define our happiness. And what we go through does not reflect God's love - or lack of - love for us.

But we still don't understand. Something like this happens to us and we're filled with questions, filled with doubt. Our trust in God diminishes as it's replaced with anger, frustration and pain.

One thing that's inspired me with this story of Ian and Larissa is Larissa's attitude. Of course, I'm sure she's gone through times when she just can't understand how this could possibly be what God had planned for her and Ian. Times when she just wishes things were the way they were before the accident. But she knows that she can't allow herself to continue asking those questions. Notice how she didn't let what happened to hold her back from marrying the man she loved or cause herself to remain drowned in self-pity. Because she knew that ultimately, there wasn't anything she could do to go back in time and change what's happened. So she made the decision, despite the confusion and pain, to trust that God has a purpose for this.

I love the wall of thankfulness they have displayed in their house. It reflects exactly the way our attitude should be when during a trial: full of thankfulness. Larissa could focus on the fact that Ian will never get back to the way he was, but instead she is always looking at things to be thankful for. This should set an example for everyone. No matter how devastating something is, there will always be a reason to be thankful. And if we set our mind on that, our attitude will completely change. And we become much, much happier.

On Larissa and Ian's blog Pray For Ian, Romans 8:28 is mentioned several times:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

This is a great scripture to remember while going through a trial. Don't forget all the prayers that God has answered. No matter how bad a situation is, it could always be worse. And know that He is faithful to bring this to competition. The story isn't over yet.

In the end, we'll learn that every test and every season that took place in our lives was all part of the story that God had in mind for us from the very beginning. Right now, we don't know why things may be happening to us. But we can remember that God never said this life would be perfect. He did say, however, that he would be with us through it all and never forsake us. We can learn through the hard times how to grow stronger in Him. Eventually, we'll understand. Eventually, we'll see how everything in our lives came down to one thing: to glorify God. And that's the only thing that matters.

I love what Ian said on their blog yesterday:

"I would do this (disability) all over again if I knew it would affect this many people. God is glorious."

This also reminds me of Bethany Hamilton's story. A tragic accident that could've taken a thirteen-year-olds life affected her future forever. After her arm was bitten off by a shark, Bethany could've lived the rest of her life in self-pity. But instead, she got back up and didn't allow what happened to her to hold her back from her dreams. Sure, she also had times when she was probably wondering why this had to happen to her, wishing that it didn't. But she knew that through it all, she was growing closer to God. And through it all, her story has also affected many people. Now both Ian and Bethany Hamilton have said that they wouldn't change what's happened to them. Why? Because they understand the main purpose behind what happened to them. To touch lives. To give God glory.

So back to the question: why do bad things happen to good people?

We aren't going to know all the answers right now, but we can remember this: there is a reason. It's about your perspective, whether or not you're willing to learn what God's trying to teach you through the trial and continue on with your life, or allow it to hold you back and cause yourself to be angry at God - drawing you farther away from him. And in turn causing your life to be even more miserable.

Keep your eyes focused on the positive. Make a wall of thankfulness if you have to. Focus and trust in Him, reminding yourself that God is with you and he promises to never let go of your hand. No matter what your temporary struggles may look like.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
~Genesis 50:20 

"I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11

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