Your tragedy. My blessing.

I woke up early this morning and wasn’t ready to get out of bed yet, so I lay there listening to a podcast from A Christian and an Atheist (podcast #101 for any who are interested in checking it out).  The title to the podcast is The Problem of Suffering.  For all those who are not interested in listening to it, it’s safe for you to assume the question under discussion is “how can an all-loving and all-powerful god allow so much suffering?”

Only half listening, my mind meandered through different “happy” stories I’ve heard in which God gets the credit for making everything work out.  But what if you don’t know the whole story?

A Christian couple has tried for years to have a baby.  You know the story.  Prayer, tests, more prayer, more tests, and no baby.  It’s just not going to happen.  Finally, having given up all hope of having their own biological child, they decide to adopt.  At the same time, a pregnant woman has decided she doesn’t want her child but she’s too far along to abort it, so she decides to give the child up for adoption.  The Christian couple are the happy recipients of this baby, and obviously God worked it all out.  Right?  Right?

What the Christian couple doesn’t know is that while they’re praising God for being so good to them and blessing them with this “unwanted” little girl, the “unwanted” child’s father (a Christian and a good friend of mine) had very much wanted her.  His girlfriend left him because he didn’t want the abortion.  When she found she was too far along to have the abortion, she never told him.  Never gave him the chance to keep his baby and raise her himself like he’d always wanted to.  Instead, she let him believe she went ahead with the abortion, and then adopted the little girl out to the Christian couple.

Two and a half years after his daughter was born, my friend’s ex emailed him to say she’d had the baby and given her up for adoption.  Attached were a couple of pictures of a smiling blonde little girl.

If God really did bless that Christian couple with the daughter they have been loving and raising all these years, then how does my friend’s loss and heartbreak fit in?  He loved God too, after all.  Did God just not love him as much as the other couple?  Was he not deemed worthy enough to raise his own daughter?  And how many other “blessings from God” do people receive without looking deeper to see whose tragedy they are being blessed by?

(Note: This story was told with my friend’s permission)


17 thoughts on “Your tragedy. My blessing.

  1. Several things popped into my head when I read this post. I will try to put them out here in an organized manner. First, let me say this: I do not and will never claim to know the whole mind of God. I am confined to what is revealed in Scripture. But I do trust Him and know that everything He does is done for good, as the Bible states (Romans 8:28). I also do not know your friend or anyone else mentioned in your post and can only go by what details you’ve given.
    I want you to stop and think about this. Scripture says that God is all knowing (1 John 3:20). He knows everything past, present and future. Knowing this then, is it possible that God foresaw problems that lay ahead and decided to act to avoid them? God does not reveal everything to us. We can’t put undeserved blame on Him for something that may, in the end, be what is best. He knows everything, we do not.
    Secondly, God put forth a design for intercourse. It is not to occur outside of marriage. It is a privelege to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Outside of this, it is fornication. It is sin. Anytime we choose to rebuke God’s will and pursue our own will, we are at risk of punishment. This is a heartbreaking situation that you’ve described. However, only knowing what you’ve revealed, I cannot view your friend as the victim here. I can only assume that the pregnancy was a “surprise”, being that one wanted the child and the other didn’t. The decision to engage in intercourse outside of marriage was not God’s, but their own. The decision was made knowing the possible outcomes. The child born into this unstable relationship is the real victim. Having children myself, I can’t imagine being a single parent. It’s harder than some people think. Could it be that what has happened is indeed the best thing for this child? It’s easy to put the blame on God or someone else when bad things happen to us, but it’s harder to rationalize that those bad things might be the result of our own choices or actions. God cannot be blamed for our decision to deny His will. That blame lies squarely on us.
    Lastly, you stated that your friend is a Christian and loves God. If he truly does love God, then he is willing to give up his own will to follow God’s will instead. This, perhaps, could be God’s method of humbling him and encouraging him to return to righteousness. He commited sin, but God is ready to forgive him if he repents. It’s so easy to say, “oh this bad thing happened to you, God must not love you.” Have you read the book of Job? God loves all of His creation….a truth that cannot be successfully refuted.

    • “I want you to stop and think about this. Scripture says that God is all knowing (1 John 3:20). He knows everything past, present and future. Knowing this then, is it possible that God foresaw problems that lay ahead and decided to act to avoid them? God does not reveal everything to us. We can’t put undeserved blame on Him for something that may, in the end, be what is best. He knows everything, we do not.”

      I believed ^^ 100% for my entire life….up until about 2 years ago. I believed it. I said it. I reminded people of it. I hit them over the head with it. I’m hopeful now that if God exists, he was not so cruel as to be the author of this story. I’m more inclined to believe that God had nothing to do with it. It’s not like he takes ALL children away from a single parent home. Or even MOST children. And it’s not like couples who supposedly can’t have kids never suddenly find themselves pregnant. I just cannot see God being involved in this AND being loving of all people.

      Yes, I’ve read Job a few times, and I find that version of God rather repulsive. You do realize he authorized Satan to kill ALL of Job’s children? I know in the end he got the same number back…but they weren’t the same children. But that doesn’t seem to matter to God. “Sure, it’s my fault you lost Sam and Jenny and Bill. But if you look now, you have three kids again. So where’s the loss? You’ve got as much as you had before.”

      I’m sorry, the longer I’m out of Christianity, the harder I find it to accept the excuses I used to make for God’s appalling behaviour. Especially the whole “His ways are higher than ours. Who can know them?” thing. Seems to be the catch-all excuse for those situations we just can’t come up with any other excuse for. I don’t mean to be antagonistic…I have a feeling if I read this comment again later I’ll find it harsh…but I just can’t believe that a loving god would do this. Or treat Job so flippantly.

      • I think the point was that there could be things we dont know that God does which is why God gave this child to this couple instead of your friend. Perhaps your friend would make a bad father. Perhaps the child is needed somewhere that it will not see with your friend but will with this couple. It could simply be that the child is better off with this couple than with your friend. So in the best interest of the child, she was given to this couple instead. In that situation, God is very loving.

      • His all-powerfulness could have caused that couple to give birth to the baby themselves and completely left my friend out of it. Would that not be more loving?

      • That’s when one is left to question whether it has to do with your friend. If it was the example of any child being better off away from him

      • Truth doesn’t need an excuse! Job had a lot of bad stuff happen to him that was allowed by God. So why didn’t Job rebuke God? Why didn’t he blame him and curse him? Have you ever asked yourself that? Why didn’t he choose Satan over God since God was being so mean to him (which isn’t true since Satan was the one putting on the hurt, not God)? It’s because he recognized God as his creator and savior. To rebuke him would gain him death and punishment. But to suffer for him would bring much joy, honor and grace. I just don’t see how you can be so angry at God for what he did to Job, when these things didn’t happen to you, and the person they did happen to still remained faithful to the Lord. That should make you stop and question your beliefs. It sure seems like those who are non-believers are such because they can’t surrender authority. God’s way is too hard, so let’s just change it to suit ourselves. There will be many regrets at the end.

  2. Something to ponder: Ok, say you are right…. god (not capitalized on purpose) DID know there would be problems with the child being raised by a single parent, and intervened on the child’s behalf…… then why are there literally hundreds of thousands of children every year that die of starvation, terminal illness, brutal child abuse, abandonment…. I could go on and on…. does god not love all those children?
    If god loves all his children, wouldn’t he guide the single father to raise the child correctly? After-all, the father was a Christian and loved god….. wouldn’t that be the ultimate show of love to have a guiding hand to raise a child as a single parent? As a former christian myself, I was very close to “god” and lived my life by god’s word…. but as I grew older, I started seeing too many “holes” in the bible, too many inconsistencies, and too many occurrences of “god” being made up by man to explain things they did not know 2000 years ago.
    After reading this post, it only confirms my lack of belief that there is a “god” and that he is all loving and caring. If there is a god at all, at most he is a very cruel and self serving entity that is inconsistent with his actions.

    • As far as i recall god (not capitalized because im a lazy typist and Im using my cell phone to type this) cannot effect the free will of humans. So(capitalized because of auto correct) really god has nothing to do with this woman acting of her own will to withhold this little girl from this guy. As is the same with abandoned beaten and starved kids. All the actions of a single person whose will could not be changed. but he does what he can within his constraints. There are lots of kids saved from that every year too. Some i bet with a bit of luck or on a hunch. I’ve no statistics off hand.

      In response to guiding the single parent, perhaps the friend had stopped listening to god so couldn’t be. Perhaps the child was needed in a specific place that the guy couldn’t or wouldn’t get the child to. There are so many what ifs its silly. Comes back to the we can’t know everything.

  3. Cursed fingers and close buttons. The whole in the bible come from man being fallible. The bible cannot be taken literally. But the overall message is good. Incidentally he could just be absent. Or watching to see what happens. Or letting mankind wobble while we learn to ride our bike because we’ll never learn if he always grabs the seat. Ever heard of theism? Its pretty interesting. Also its inconsistent to say you don’t believe in god and that he isnt loving and caring. They are mutually exclusive. Which one is it?

    • All I know is what I’ve seen with my own eyes, and heard with my own ears. Go to your nearest children’s hospital, find a child with a terminal illness (it won’t be difficult) and spend a couple hours with them. Hold their hand, ask them what what they would like to be if they could grow up, then try your best to explain to them that god loves them, but they were chosen to suffer immensely for the eight or ten years that they will be on Earth, to make their family, loved ones, and caregivers suffer every day and wonder why that child has to endure so much pain when god loves all his children, and we can never understand his reasons for what HE chooses for us.
      By the theist’s explanation, god can not effect the free will of man, but we are supposed to accept what he deems “right” with blind faith and understanding. If you give your wife all your heart and trust, and she still goes out with whomever she wishes and does what ever she wants, would you still stay with her when she told you that it wasn’t your place to question what she does? If you answer yes to that question, then you have bigger problems than what we are discussing here!

      • Two things- ever notice that people like to say “why did god do this to me?” and never “why did the devil do this to me?” do you look at the parent ask then why they let their kid get sick? Why the parent didn’t do more to ensure the child’s

      • -sigh- cursed thing. To ensure the kids safety. This guy, if he loves his daughter so much, why doesn’t he go after her? Certainly wouldn’t be the first over turned adoption. Sometimes we don’t know all. Sometimes we just can’t do anything no matter how much we love or how much we want too.

        Number two- which is it, god doesn’t exist or he isn’t all loving and caring?

  4. Since I do know the person in this story, and know the WHOLE story, I will answer that question for him. BECAUSE he loves his daughter so much, he never “went after her” because by the time he found out about her, she was nearly three years old. BECAUSE he loves his daughter so much, he would rather bear the burden of not having her in his life rather than destroy the only family she has ever known. BECAUSE he loves her so much, he would rather see HER happy regardless of the pain he suffers by knowing she is out there, but not part of his life.
    In regards to your comment of “do you look at the parent and ask them why they let their kid get sick”, how exactly could a parent do more to keep their child from being born with a terminal illness? Is that child supposed to be a test of faith for the parent? Every day I see children suffer and die from illnesses they were born with, through NO ONE’s fault. Is it supposed to be penance to the parents for wrongs they have done? If so, how can a “loving” god make an innocent child suffer for something that was done before they were born? How can a “loving” god LET the devil (remember, god controls EVERYTHING) inflict an innocent child with a debilitating disease that causes that child to suffer for years while it’s life slowly leaves it’s body?
    For your sake Thane, I truly hope that you NEVER have to go through any ordeal involving a child. It is not something I would wish on even my worst of enemies.
    And to answer “Number two”….. I believe with all my heart that god doesn’t exist. My steps from being a “good christian” to Atheism were not big or immediate. It was a slow transition over many years. It began with questions about god and the bible that not even the most learned of theists could answer other than to say “It is not our place to question”. My brain is not wired to follow on blind faith with no evidence to back it up. If anyone ever finds a rock with “made by god” inscribed on the bottom, or any other solid, irrefutable evidence to gods existence, I will gladly admit my mistake and become god’s biggest advocate. Until that time, I see no reason to believe in any god, based on what I have witnessed during my life, and all the suffering and tragedy that is supposedly “all according to gods will”.

    • So he doesn’t go after her cause he knows that its better for the people involved, in some manner or another, leaving it vague to make a point, out of love for the little girl even though she may feel sad and abandoned and unwanted and hurt when she finds out she’s adopted? And not know why they left her? Thanks for makin my point. Yes terminal illness in children is terrible. But how much medical research to end disease for those that come after? How many people get drive and zeal from it? Plainly you do. Also there is so much a parent can do before and during pregnancy to prevent disease in a newborn. Some stuff still happens and that’s a terrible tragedy that we haven’t ended yet. Yet. Plainly god Dmdpmt control everything

      • So you do know that medical research will cure most diseases in due time. So is that part of gods plan as well? To make millions suffer now so that people of the future won’t have to suffer? God creates the diseases of mankind so that all the research scientists of the world with have a job and something to do with their time?
        When a family is on the way home from mass and their car gets hit by a drunk driver that kills part of the family, and horribly injures the rest………. that was gods will to destroy that family? Did god put the survivors back together? or was that the doctors? Do you thank god for saving the ones he did, even though there is a loving husband that will never see his wife or children again? Is it all part of god’s plan for the children to grow up without a parent that was killed in that accident? Afterall, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger………. Again, I can’t follow the logic of “it’s not our place to question, just to follow and accept”…..

  5. This feels like every argument I’ve ever had with a religious zealot. One point made with different words. So I’ll do the same to you that i do to them. Have a good day and a wonderful life 🙂

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