Bad things do happen to good people

“Once a thing is set to happen, all you can do is hope it won’t. Or will-depending. As long as you live, there’s always something waiting, and even if it’s bad, and you know it’s bad, what can you do? You can’t stop living.”
Truman Capote

(stone bust on Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I can remember shortly after my mom died, at the young age of 53 due to a short battle with lung cancer, a well meaning friend gave me a copy of the book, When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner.

Eventually I read the book, but it certainly didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know.

1) Despite what we may hope or think, none of us are exempt from bad, sad, evil, crime, illness, accidents…
No matter our age, our race, our sex or our life’s dealings…
Life happens and that is unfortunately part and parcel for living.

2) God does not have it out for us.
He does not exact His vengeance or wrath or displeasure on us hapless souls down below.
We are not His little chess pieces that He moves giddily around on some giant chess board of Life…
Never ever does He sadistically derive pleasure by “messing” with or in our lives nor does He find pleasure in being some giant unseen voyeur who receives sick thrills by watching us hurt and / or suffer.

3) There are just some things, no matter how advanced we may think we are or how smart and savvy or how pious…that we will ever fully understand while we walk this planet.
As hard as all of that is to understand, that’s just that, like it or not.

So much of our anger and frustration in such is that we find ourselves totally out of control.
We can’t stop certain things from happening…no matter how careful, thoughtful or preventative we may be.

4) That there is a mighty spiritual battle that rages all around us and like it or not, believe it or not, Satan walks this earth as this earth is his realm.
That there are those most learned individuals who will write such a statement off as a myth, a fairytale, a comment made by the weak, the naive, the ignorant. But it is they, in my opinion, who are the ignorant ones.

Evil is real.
It is all around us.

Those of us who are believers find peace in the knowledge that the war is already won, yet we also are aware that the battles, well, they continue with a vengeance.
And God is no puppet master controlling the strings.
We all have free will…the good as well as the bad…which makes us all vulnerable… throw in disease, genetics on top of free will…and it’s pretty much open season….
As we live in a world that unfortunately knows disease and sickness of both mind and body.

One of the biggest arguments / questions raised by humanity is why won’t He [God] intervene when, especially when, ‘the innocent’ are the victims…???
Those who are infants, children, the elderly, the vibrant, the giving, the loving, those who are simply going about life, minding their own business….

I don’t know that answer…as I have often been left to raise an angry fist and voice skyward as I have vehemently expressed my anger, frustration and sheer bewilderment…“if you love us like you say you do, why……….?

And that is sadly where some members of my family are at this very moment.

My cousin’s daughter and son-n-law along with their two young grandsons live in Chicago.
The family has been there a little over a decade. It is their home where they are raising their two little boys ages 3 and 6.

Tim Anderson, my cousin’s son-n-law, works at a bank in downtown Chicago. He commutes daily via train from their home out in the suburbs, in The Village into town.
He left home early Monday morning, like he always does, yet he never made it to work.
In fact Tim has not been seen nor heard from since he left at 4:30AM for the train station Monday morning.

His abandoned car was found hours later near a vast wilderness park area which is no where near home or the train station. His wife has also noted that he had actually left his work bag behind in those wee hours Monday morning. Something seems to have been terribly wrong at the very beginning of this sad mystery.

The family is financially sound.
Happy, healthy… both physically and mentally.
My cousin and his wife flew up from Atlanta yesterday to join other family members and friends as the search continues for Tim….

Yet just now (Wednesday) as I’ve been pecking at this post, the latest update from Chicago has been that a body has been recovered from the wilderness park.
Leaving more investigating and the continuing struggle to answer the unanswerable questions…as well as how to explain to two little boys daddy isn’t coming home….

Something bad has happened to this young family.
Why, we don’t know.
Just like in so many cases when “bad” happens, we don’t know nor perhaps we may never know the reasoning, the rationale….as there simply is no quick, easy or right answer…just as there are no acceptable answers during these bad moments of life.

Sadly bad things are happening to both good people as well as bad as I type these very words…all across this planet of ours throughout our human family ..

A request for prayers please for this young family…husband Tim, wife Cathrall and their two young sons, as well as for both the Brumby and Nichols family members in Atlanta and the Andersons in Chicago.

20 comments on “Bad things do happen to good people

  1. atimetoshare says:

    Deeply sorry to hear this. None of us is exempt from the pain and suffering of this world. My prayers go our to you and your family. God be with you!

  2. Mary says:

    Lord I lift up this family to you in their time if need, Lord send them a supernatural comfort as we all pray for them in one accord. Be a Father to them as you are in this most difficult time and let others see your shining light amidst the darkness. Let the beauty and grace of your face be apparent to all those who are mourning. And let us trust you Lord, even when we don’t understand and cannot see. In Jesus name we pray, Amen

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Very sorry for this Julie, and of course many prayers for them.

  4. David says:

    Sorry to hear about your cousin’s son-in-law. Remembering your family in prayer.

    • Thank you David—as was one of the younger cousins growing up, I was not as close to this group as I was his younger bother—and as my family was very small, their side was large–the brothers and sisters I never had—stories such as this, whether we know the people involved or not, always serves to remind me as to how uncertain our lives truly are—changing for good or bad in the blink of an eye—and if one does not have faith, does not believe in the Omnipotent God and of the healing power in His resurrected son, I just don’t know who one can go forward from such….

      • David says:

        Me neither.

        The hardest thing in our family to date was Marilyn’s Dad being killed in 1979 – just seven months after we were married and only four months after Dad had taken early retirement (he was 58). He tried to stop his car rolling down their steep drive into the lane (he had forgotten to put the handbrake on) and he went underneath the car which dragged him with it. Mum tried to stop it too, but was thrown clear and suffered some horrendous bruises, but lived. It was horrible. I had to go to the mortuary to formally identify him. He was a lovely man, he just didn’t have a faith that we knew of.

      • Oh David that is awful—I can only image how devastated Marilyn and her mother had to be—such incidents are those which never ever make sense–my dad still talks about going to have to identify my brother’s body after his suicide—almost 30 years later dad still says it’s the first thing he sees in his mind each morning when he wakes. My dad does not have the faith that you and I know—he hangs on to things in a sick sort of fashion—never giving it over to God, never seeking healing, never wanting to let go but rather enjoying hanging on as it were. Just the other day he started telling me about some stupid show he’d watched that purported that during Jesus’ childhood, that time period the bible is so silent on, that Jesus had actually ventured to India where he learned of enlightenment in both hindu and buddhism…I was like really dad???? I had to ask whatever happened to growing up, working as the son of a poor carpenter…?
        Sometimes, well maybe all of the time, I am left to wonder about Dad…which often makes caring for him nearly impossible as he refuses to embrace his Savior—and then his wife is even worse when it comes to our faith…which in turn makes caring for her, especially as she is now so contrary, most difficult—the older I get, the more convinced I am that if you don’t have a relationship with God, His Son, the Holy Spirit—living life with some sense of inner peace and joy is nearly impossible

  5. Nicodemas says:

    Praying for the families.

  6. Lynda says:

    Prayers for the families and for you Julie and your family as you all try to make sense of this senseless tragedy. When I read Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book many years ago, I was left with the feeling that there was such an emptiness, a lack of hope. We do have hope in our faith in God – the hope that there is a resurrection. Blessings.

    • thank you Lynda—I feel very much the same—I was struck by the story this week of one of the guards going on trial in Germany for his role at Auschwitz—whereas some of the “survivors” had actually forgiven the 93 year old man and opted not to testify against him, one woman, who was one of the very few to be born in the prison camp and survive, voiced her vehemence at not forgiving—as if the equating of the act of non forgiveness would be the fuel for not forgetting the atrocities—I was really troubled by that.
      And I am certain that not being Jewish I would be told that I don’t understand and not having lived through such horrows—but if there is anyone who holds the banner high of lest we forget, it is me.
      and such atrocities are certainly reprehensible and we mustn’t allow future generations to forget—but where we find no forgiveness, we find a black abyss and I for one do not want to live a life of an empty black abyss—-
      So there must be hope–as hope was found in an empty tomb—
      My cousin’s personal family tragedy is awful, but it is in such tragedy that hope is rooted and we much find that that hope and cling steadfastly…

  7. Done! I ditto Mary’s prayer and stand unison with her! ” Lord I lift up this family to you in their time if need, Lord send them a supernatural comfort as we all pray for them in one accord. Be a Father to them as you are in this most difficult time and let others see your shining light amidst the darkness. Let the beauty and grace of your face be apparent to all those who are mourning. And let us trust you Lord, even when we don’t understand and cannot see. In Jesus name we pray, Amen” and amen!
    Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

  8. Mike B. says:

    Lord, it is so hard to understand why you would permit evil like this but I do have faith that you allow it to cause a greater good. Please help the family, help us to trust in your mercy and love. Amen.

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