I ain’t gonna lie.
This is a tough one for me.
I absolutely love stories in which the underdog wins. When people rebound from unspeakable tragedy, showing incredible courage in the face of potentially devastating circumstances, and come out on top.
I love that stuff.
Those kinds of stories are what makes the world go ‘round.
Something I do not love, and probably will never, ever understand is why bad things, horribly tragic and unfair things, happen to good people. Things happen for a reason; it’s all part of God’s plan – I’ve heard all the explanations, but I still have a really hard time with it.
According to John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:18 says: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”
In Lamentations 3:31-33, we read: “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”
When I set out to write my first book, which was then titled, “Finding God in Texas,” my idea was to interview a wide variety of people all across my home state about what they believed in and why, as far as God, heaven and hell, etc. I had a lot of questions at the time – and still do – and so I wanted to find out what other people thought about these things.
It did not take long for me to realize that there was a strong connection between the tragedy and triumph in people’s lives – and we all have experienced varying measures of both – and our belief systems.
For instance, as I was driving back and forth across the state, interviewing people purely at random, I saw a man steering a riding lawn mower back and forth across the grass in front of a small church, just off the highway in Centerville, population right around 900 people.
I smelled an opportunity, so I pulled into the long dirt driveway and parked alongside the building; and on the front porch was a woman, who turned out to be the man’s wife. I told her what I was up to, and she agreed to be interviewed.
As we talked, she told me that although she was a lifelong Christian, her faith had been rocked to the core a number of years before by the suicide of her 26-year-old son.
“I blamed God for a long time,” she said. “I was mad at God for about four years before I realized it wasn’t his fault. He gave my son a free will, and my son chose to do what he done. He chose to commit suicide. Once I realized that he did have a choice of whether to live or die, then I accepted it, and I quit blaming God.”
This was just one humbling example of people enduring and overcoming heartbreaking and inspiring events, and the struggle we all have sometimes, understanding why certain things happen or do not happen.
Why bad things happen to good people.
Supposedly, it is not up to us to understand, but to accept and to trust in the Lord. Have faith. Like I said, I have a hard time with that sometimes.
But people like Barbara Broadright of Centerville, Texas, are an inspiration.
It is her faith in God, she told me that sunny afternoon while her husband mowed grass at the little church just north of Huntsville, that gives her hope and allows her to live with joy in her heart, one day at a time.
“The Lord has made me strong, and he has blessed us. Without him, sometimes I feel like there would just be no reason to go on. I feel his love. I feel his arms around me.
“I might get mad at him again,” she said, laughing, “but I won’t stay mad as long. They say that if you commit suicide, you will not go to heaven. But I have to believe that my son called upon the Lord right before he died, and that he is in heaven. He was a good kid, and he’ll always be a part of me.
“I still talk to him – he doesn’t talk back, but I talk to him – and for my own comfort, I have to believe that he is up there waiting for me.”
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