Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dad wisdom #4

My dad and I have been so busy lately that our only chances to talk have been in the morning while he’s making my brother’s school lunch and while I’m eating breakfast.

Today he shared with me a very tragic story. 

One of his clients had been divorced and lived with her daughter who had just graduated from medicine last year. The daughter had always wanted to travel and so her chance finally came when she finished med school. She had planned a trip overseas for a few months. While she was overseas, she fell ill and when she went to the doctors they diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer. Tragically, so tragically, this young woman passed away while she was away from home. My dad then told me that at her daughter’s graduation ceremony, she went up and received the certificate for her daughter.

As someone who has worked so hard to even get my foot through the door into medicine, I couldn’t comprehend how horrible it must has been for the mum, daughter, friends and family.
My dad then told me that the two of them got onto the topic of God and she asked him why God would let such a tragedy occur. My dad didn’t tell me everything that he said to the mother, but he said that by the end of their talk the mother said to him that she felt better and he saw her smile for the first time.

My dad grew up during The Vietnam War. He has seen many people die before his eyes, and many other horrible things. As a young man, he was captured by the Viet Cong, had been shot at and had to run through fields riddled with land mines that exploded as he ran past. These are only a few of the near death experiences my dad has had.

He told me that he shared this with the mother and told her that it was in these moments that he felt closest to God.

I explained to my dad that it was easy for him to feel close to God because he came out alive and well on the other side. I asked him what he’d say to someone whose situation wasn’t going as well.

He then went on to explain his opinion in the form of an analogy using a traffic light as an example.

He said that sometimes when he is running late or in a rush having to stop at a red light can be very frustrating; especially if he hits a few red lights in a row. Many people in this situation would think “Why?! Why is this happening when I’m running late!?”. We feel angry, but we still stop at the lights. We stop because we know that if we were to run a red light then we could cause an accident. Even when there are no cars, the vast majority of people still we come to a stop because we know it’s the rules and those road rules are in place for safety reasons. Without that red stop light, the roads would be chaotic and dangerous.  

My dad explained saying that this is similar to how God works. He gives us red lights even though He knows we sometimes question “why?” because he knows far more than we could ever understand and because he knows much more about what we need in our life.

Just like my dad’s client, we often as asking why certain horrible things occur, but I’m not sure if humans were ever made to understand God. As my dad says “we are the creation, not the creator”. To follow Christ might not mean that we’ll get all of our answers, but we might find that coming to know and love Him may be far better than any answer to our questions.

People are always asking how God could let such bad things happen, but instead of focusing on the bad and seeing God as the one who allows all the bad to occur, have you ever thought that God is the one who can take away all the pain? I look at all the people I know and all the people in the world who have deeply rooted faith in God. To me it seems like no hardship can ever destroy them completely. The pain hurts and it may not go away but they have enough peace to accept it and keep going.

Just like the baby and the knife analogy, the parent is the one who causes the baby to cry by taking away the dangerous knife that the baby wanted to play with, but it is that same parent who protects and loves that child like no one else can. Please don’t see God as the bad one who allows the world to be full of so much pain. See Him as the one who can take it all away.

So, why does God let all the bad in the world happen in the first place?

Well we just don’t have all the answers. Our understanding doesn’t go as far to understand the will of God. But the way I see it, God wants us to love him more than anything else on this earth and so any pain that this life brings is nothing compared to the joy that God brings. We just need to seek him out first.

It takes a lot of courage to have faith in God, in something we neither see nor understand; but if it means that we find peace which is great enough to ground us in even the strongest of storms, why not take that leap of faith?

If pain doesn’t occur, how will we ever know God’s ability to heal us?


The singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my favourite Christian artists. He is one of those inspirational people who has faced tragedy (the death of his young daughter) but has found comfort in trusting God. Check out his story and his music here, here and here

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