Last week Monday was the end of a stressful, scary, and exhausting whirlwind. Four days before, my sweet pops' heart rate unexpectedly dropped into the 30s. In God's perfect timing, he underwent two different procedures: one where they removed blockage in one of his arteries and left a stent in its place and another where they opened a small cavity in his chest and left him with a pacemaker.
Taking the time to breathe and wrap my mind around everything that happened, I realized - I can absolutely understand why people struggle with the question, “If God is good, why do bad things happen to good people?” My dad works out 5 days a week, he has taken excellent care of his heart – why did he end up here? Why couldn’t the stent have been enough? Why was a pacemaker the only answer? Why did something so scary have to happen to someone so good?
I think we all have asked questions like this at some point in our life. Why did grandma have to die of cancer? Why did my sweet friends have a miscarriage? Why did that marriage have to end in divorce? It’s questions like these that often create doubt that God is good. And I totally get it. If God is good, why would this happen? It is so easy to blame God for the things that go wrong in this world –for the sickness, for the cancer, for the hatred, for the murder –He’s the one who created us, so he must have also created the bad stuff too, right? Well, here’s what I believe to be true.
I believe that God created a perfect world – one where every single creature, every part of creation, even the two humans God created to enjoy it, lived in harmony. In this perfection, there were no tears, no sickness and no death. And in one moment, everything changed. With God-given free will, Adam and Eve ate a piece of fruit from the one tree that God asked them not to, and this sin, broke the perfection God created. From that moment on, things were not as God intended; brokenness entered in and every part of creation experienced its wrath, even our bodies. God did not create cancer, heart disease or any kind of illness. He did not put them within us; bad things happen because we live in a broken world.
Although it’s disappointing that my dad ended up needing a stent and a pacemaker, it was incredible to see the way the Lord has protected him and provided for us throughout the entire process. Instead of coming in due to a massive heart attack, my dad was alarmed by a low heart rate and went to the hospital before anything crazy happened. The doctor who performed the pacemaker surgery was someone my dad knew through spin class; in fact, had this not happened, my dad had an appointment with him the very next week. In God's perfect timing, family friends stopped in the hospital room at the very moment my parents desperately needed words of encouragement. The Lord's handiwork was written all over each careful step of the process. God is good even when bad things happen because He meets us in our brokenness and pulls us through them.
Here’s the hard part – I know that not everyone’s story ends like my dad’s did. I know that we are incredibly lucky that he is still with us and that a pacemaker was the answer to his problem. But I have to say, even in death God is still good.
Because of Christ, because of his death and resurrection, even death, is not the end. God loves us so much that He sacrificed everything to make certain the end result is good. One day, all of creation will be restored to its original state of perfection – all of our broken bodies, all the cancer, all the disease, all the sadness will be redeemed.
My hope, amidst the heaviness, rests in the truth that no matter what, even when bad things happen to good people, God is still good.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
My prayer today is that you, too, might rest assuredly in the fact that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His faithfulness is great even in the heavy places.