When Christians ask why

When Christians ask why

For a time, my soul cried out.

Why? Why Mattias? Why my baby? He was such a good boy. So sweet. So happy. Why?”

And there were those who answered.

“Jesus just needed your baby boy more than you did.”

“The Lord needed that smile to brighten Heaven.”

“God was short an angel.”

“Isn’t it an honor — a compliment — a privilege — that God deems you worthy of this trial?”

I never know how to respond to these insights into the ways of God. I prefer wrestling with why. It isn’t such a faith shattering question that it needs to be swept under the rug. Crying out why does not mean that our faith is weak, nor that we have placed ourselves in judgment of God.

“Why?” is a statement of belief.

Else why would we ask Him anything at all?

It is a recognition of His power and presence in our lives

We know what He could have done. We just don’t understand why He didn’t.

It is a recognition that God is good.

That is why it is so difficult to reconcile the death of a loved one with what we know about God. But from the depths of my being, I am plagued with a feeling that This. Just. Isn’t. Right. It hurts, not just emotionally, but physically. It leaves me nauseous and makes breathing difficult. My limbs feel heavy, as if they’ve turned to lead. This is not the way it was supposed to be.

And it isn’t. In six days, God created a world of beauty, hope and perfect communion with Him. That was destroyed by sin, and death entered the world. Today, our lives are for the most part pretty easy. Life expectancy has increased so much in the last 100 years that you can conceivably reach retirement without losing anyone closer to you than a grandparent. What we consider trials are often really no more than annoyances.

Amidst our taken-for-granted blessings, we forget that all of creation groans under the weight of the penalty of sin.

Until it touches us and we groan alongside it.

Until it touches us and we realize this is not the way it was supposed to be.

Until it touches us and we cry out, “Why?”

Follow me


  1. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    When I struggled with the loss of a child (not my child) And I asked God why, people didn’t like it. It made them uncomfortable when I expressed that I was mad at God – and that I told Him I was mad at Him. They told me that God needed the child in heaven.

    I’ve never believed that for a second. God doesn’t NEED children in Heaven, or another angel so badly that He takes a child.

    People didn’t want to hear me talk like that. But like you, I saw it as faith in God. I felt comfortable in my relationship with God to let him know I was upset, that I felt betrayed by Him, that I wasn’t happy with Him. God created these emotions in us, surely He didn’t expect me to take such a blow, lightly!! Surely He didn’t expect me to say “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord” and go on with my life. Rather, it feels more like the song that says:

    Blessed be Your Name
    When I’m found in the desert place
    When I walk through the wilderness,
    Blessed be Your Name.


    Blessed be Your Name
    When the road is marked with suffering
    When there’s pain in the offering
    Blessed be Your Name

    I learned that God doesn’t intend us to ignore our feelings of hurt, anger, or our “whys” from Him. Doing that, doesn’t mean that we trust God. It means we aren’t comfortable enough with Him to trust Him with all our hurt. He doesn’t want us to dwell on them…He wants us to give them to Him.

    I hope you and your children have a good day =)

  2. Reply

    Maggie Hogan

    April 6, 2011

    Well put. And yes – asking Why DOES remind us that this is not our real home and that we live in a broken world and we have a new heaven and new earth to look forward to.
    I have heard people make those very same responses you mention and I cringe every time… well meaning, but really?!

    Thanks for continuing your blog, even through the very darkest hours. You are blessing many and giving encouragement along the way.

    And to Amy [posted above] YES! And this song always blesses me – especially during the trials.

  3. Reply

    Susan White

    April 6, 2011

    Dear Dana,

    God was ready to take Mattias home to be with Him. I have to say: Matthias is better than an angel. He has more privileges in Heaven than the angels do. Now he is, “Higher than the angels”. Someday, you will see him there with God and will be so bursting with joy that the grief you are having now will not even be a memory.
    I am praying for you almost every day and am reminded to pray every day for you. I hope you are healing well.
    My grief is in a lost child here on earth, one who has run away and is living a life apart from God, though she was raised in a Christian home. Will she be in Heaven with us? I do not know, I hope so. You know Matthias is in heaven. I am happy that you have that comfort.

    God bless you, Susan

  4. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    I used to tell my therapist it’s just not natural, my kids deaths are just not ordinary deaths, so I really hear and understand what you’re saying Dana.

    It is perfectly understandable to question; I am not sure “why” God allows the death of our children it is a great mystery of our faith.

    The important thing to remember is He was with you son when his time came, and whenever you’re suffering He’s by your side.

  5. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Been praying at night when all is quiet here and my mind becomes fully aware that all has changed for you in a turn–a corner. It can all change for anyone of us in a turn. All, but Jesus. He just doesn’t shift. Asking Jesus to carry you and yours and ours and theirs through this place until we are able to truly see His face and Mattias’. It’s a reality–heaven. My question is often why God has us “filling up in our flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24). Why not just have Jesus return already, bringing an end finally to the groaning? Birth, death, the resurrection. The process doesn’t make sense to me. I’d say that my ache for you is groaning for you. But, I don’t even know that type of groaning. I’m awake this morning and all of my children are within reach. Thankful that Jesus waited to return until Mattias was born. He is patient for more to come to know Him. For Mattias’ life. I am thankful for Jesus, for Mattias, for your husband, each one of your children, and you.

  6. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Well put, Dana.

  7. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    I sort of figured that if Christ cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” that crying out “Why?” was not such a great sin.

    Many in the bible have cried out to the Lord. A wise person told me early on (I wish I could remember who) told me that when I felt angry, I should bring it to God. Shout at him, plead with him, let it out. I wouldn’t be the first and I won’t be the last. And it was far healthier than taking it to friends and family where relationships could be hurt.

  8. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    You have some really great insights. And no I don’t consider it a priviledge that you have had the opportunity to get that insight. But honestly, Tiggy’s death shocked me into realizing how cushy sweet my world is. Suddenly the EXTREME suffering that is EVERYWHERE seemed to be magnified… because it COULD happen to me. I started to watch a documentary about Darfur and couldn’t continue. The thought of thousands of Haitian children dying from cholera, watching family members and all your earthly belongings being washed out to sea in Japan, being an innocent citizen of Libya caught between waring powers… this world has suffering that we simply cannot fathom. And its good we can’t. The relief of the cross is the only thing we should meditate on. God never promised to save us from the misery of this temperal world, only from that of the eternal. Which is the better deal?

    And while I don’t believe God had anything to do with your precious son’s death, he had everything to do with his and your lives. Asking why is an important part of healing, which you know better than I. And this story I’m about to share isn’t so much related because I don’t think anyone can know WHY an angel didn’t swoop in and stop that dresser from falling, but I’d like to share my own recent testimony of an answered WHY. As you know, my dad died just over a year ago. My sister and I were in disagreement over his house. She wanted cash now and I wanted to wait a few years (renting it and fully funding its upkeep) until the market improved. She deeded it to me, but never filed the deed with the court meaning she kept telling me she was just giving me the house but never actually making it legal. Last year I felt absolute knots when I thought of selling his house. I wondered if it was because we were going to need a paid-off house for someone to live in. Then a couple months ago, my sister then decides that if I don’t pay her cash for her half (at double the appraised value) then she’s taking me to court to force the sale. I suddenly felt total peace releasing it. I wanted to move on with my life and stop farting around with legal matters with a sister who hasn’t even spoken to me in a year. I was asking a lot of WHYS. Why, if it was just going to come to this, did we feel so strongly about keeping it? Why did I just go through everything keeping it for a year just to have the value drop even more? Why isn’t God bringing us a business partner to simply buy out my sister? We sold it to a neighbor, fair price, leaving my tenants in it, everyone walked away happy. Minutes after picking up the check, I get a call from the estate attorney telling me that my father owes $18,000 in taxes. And because I hold the mortgage for his business, I hold the responsibility for the debt. 18 grand!!! Of course, I have the freak out time and then everything comes together… if we had sold the house last year when all the family problems started, that money would be spent and otherwise invested and completely unavailable to pay this debt. But because we JUST sold the house, we HAVE it! If we waited to find out that we owed this much money before deciding to sell, we would never have been able to close by April 15th and thus the tax payment would be late. What single income young family of 5 has 18k just sitting around??? The timing was impeccable. We have enough to cover the tax debt and STILL have just enough left over to cover adoption fees for local adoption which we begin next week. Everything we felt spiritually led to do is still completely covered. The WHY was totally answered. God is good. Hope this helps bring faith. It certainly has for me!

  9. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Yes, the Psalms are full of the question Why? And sometimes we even get an answer. It may only be the answer Job got .. when you are powerful enough to make your own universe out of nothing, God says, then we will talk as equals. Until then, you must trust Him. That would have to be a thoroughly unsatisfying answer, except for who He is. He may not be “safe” but He is trustworthy.

  10. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    God created the human heart with an immense variety of emotions. I can’t imagine he would be surprised or disappointed that we would express them! I’ve certainly expressed my share of negative emotions to God!

    I don’t believe that God causes awful things like this. I don’t believe he “collects” children or parents of young kids for his needs – he doesn’t need any of us! He desires our love and worship, but does not NEED us.

    These tragedies are the result of living in a fallen world. What we as Christians are called to believe is that God can do great things in terrible circumstances and that even in the midst of these trials God is good.

  11. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Because his days were numbered, just like yours are, just like mine are. I know ~ not what we want to hear. I was blessed to not struggle with the ‘why’ very much. I know I did not create Alex, God did. She was His creation to do with as He pleased.

    Just to encourage you, though, Alexandrea’s death brought myself and her dad to Christ. Our next daughter was born into a Christian home. After some marital hell (divorce) I remarried, and my husband then converted from Catholicism. Our daughter has been raised in a godly home from birth. Then we adopted our sons and they know Christ.

    Seven people.

    Alex’s death directly resulted in seven people coming to Christ.

    Not bad for a little girl who lived less than 22 months of life.

    It may be years before the Lord reveals to you part of His ‘why’, or, of course, He may choose to not reveal that to you. Just remind yourself, His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts ours. It’s a hard thing to stop – the asking ‘why’ – but there is a blessing of peace there.

    Inhale . . . exhale . . .

  12. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    I didn’t struggle with it “that” much. It was there. But the questioning ceased and rested. I don’t know that it is that comforting to anyone but me, but “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” I have an easier time accepting, “It just happened,” than that it happened to bring about some specific good.

  13. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Well said and thank you for helping me today with this thoughtful post.

  14. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Well said indeed!

  15. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    So painfully good Dana. Groan. Long. Wait. Ache.

    “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” I have an easier time accepting, “It just happened,” than that it happened to bring about some specific good.”

    I myself have sat in the same question. Sometimes I feel like it depends upon the circumstance as to where my ‘theology’ falls. Which thus means, I have no idea.

    I join in with with ache in the journey.

    Much love.

  16. Reply

    Susan Beth

    April 6, 2011

    Bless you in the asking of “Why?” – it is a legitimate question! And the wisdom in your reasoning about a world filled with sin may be the closest we come to an answer this side of heaven.

  17. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    Excellent post, Dana. I prefer to know(meaning, in my human frailty, that I TRY to remember) that his ways are not mine, and his thoughts are much higher than mine ever will be. After all, he IS God/Elohim, not me.

    This is so well-said: “What we consider trials are often really no more than annoyances.”

    It hurts. It isn’t fair. It isn’t expected. It isn’t fun. It isn’t pretty.
    It’s just life.
    Not the life we would ever choose…. EVER. For anyone.
    But, the Father knows. We don’t.

    All I can do is say how incredibly heartbroken and sad I am for you all and pray he makes this path one that you will continue to walk in him and draw closer to him each day…. even as you ask questions.
    I know he doesn’t mind them. After all, you are his child. It’s ok to ask him. He understands.

    Shalom and love to you and your family, Dana.

  18. Reply

    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

    April 6, 2011

    Again, you bring me back to the painful truth of my petulance. Yes, my trials are generally little more than irritations. O, that I would learn to cherish these lives before me!
    Thank you for your honest heart, and for sharing it with us.

  19. Reply


    April 6, 2011

    I sometimes ask, “Why?” Our Weeble was such a sweet, happy boy. He was so beloved. Why did he die so young?

    But mostly I am stuck in a more defiant mode, still saying, “NO! Not my baby!” which is what came forth in my panic the day of his death. I was cutting potatoes for dinner last night and found myself crying and saying, “No, not my baby” and wanting to throw potatoes across the kitchen.

    I don’t believe that God caused the death of our children. But I am angry that he didn’t stop it from happening. I think “Why” is a fair question, but I don’t expect an answer. I know His ways are not our ways and I guess I wouldn’t understand even if He chose to answer.

    I think it is right to take our feelings to Him, and hope He will send comfort. It hurts SO much to miss Weeble. I am disinclined to feel that his loss will be “worthwhile” in the unknown higher purpose it may be serving. I lean more toward feeling that he died because we live in a world broken by sin, and even though the death of a toddler is just wrong, wrong, wrong, God can take our devastation and make something good out of it. Because that’s what He does. He takes emptiness, and creates beauty.

    But right now, I just feel an empty lap where Weeble isn’t, empty arms that can’t hug him anymore, in a room that is empty of the sound of his laughter or the joy of his smile. Empty moments where we would have been playing a game or singing a song.

    And I, too, want to know, “Why?”

  20. Reply

    Kara at The Chuppies

    April 6, 2011

    Let Him lead me…in His time…to the place when I will say:
    “God is good always.”

    I appreciate this post very much Dana.
    Thank you…

  21. Reply

    Mama D's Dozen

    April 7, 2011

    A well-said post, Dana.


    I, too, wrote a blog post just last week about the big “Why?” questions in my life.

    Some of my readers were uncomfortable with me asking God the question, “Why?”

    I, too, am overwhelmed by loss right now.

    While my losses are different … I have lost too many children in a very short amount of time.

    A year ago, I “lost” an adopted son … whom we had to find a new home for.

    In January, I nearly lost my marriage of 28 years … and right now it is back on very shaky ground.

    Two weeks ago, I “lost” a child through a miscarriage, and I really do not appreciate all of the “aren’t you glad you will see this child in heaven?” responses. No. I was looking forward to holding this child in my arms. Thank you very much.

    Now, I am facing the “loss” of an adult daughter who is in a very unsettling situation in an impoverished country (and we fear we may never see her again).

    I am broken by these losses.

    No, I have not lost my faith, but I am crying out to God in my weakness.

    I so appreciate this that you shared …

    “I sort of figured that if Christ cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” that crying out “Why?” was not such a great sin.”

    Yes. If Christ can cry out “Why?” from the cross … than we can certainly cry out “Why?” as we lift our tear-stained faces off of our pillows.

    Praying for you, as you continue to seek His face, through your tears … as you seek His comfort, in your pain … as you seek His peace, in your sorrow.

    May we both somehow get a glimpse of His sunshine … through the rain.


  22. Reply


    April 7, 2011

    Jennifer, I still catch myself crying out, “No! Not my baby!” The silence, the emptiness, it can all be so overwhelming. It’s mostly what I screamed in the basement waiting for the basement, and most of what the lady on the phone understood. I still hear it come up in my little one’s play.

    Laurel, I am so sorry for your many losses. I hope and pray those uncertain situations turn to precious gain. I wish we were less uncomfortable with the “why” question. I don’t know if it comes from believing that faith does not ask why, or because no one really knows and we think somehow we should.

    Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful comments! I always appreciate your insights and experiences.

  23. Reply


    April 7, 2011

    I have read your blog since your sweet Tiggy went to heaven. I have prayed for you and your sweet family and I have cried many tears over your loss but this is the first time I have posted because some of those example comments just had to be addressed. It drives me crazy when people say things like that. I do not know why God chose to allow this to happen but ultimately it happened because death is a result of sin. Not anything little Tiggy or anybody in your family did but the fact that ever since there has been sin, there has been death. God DID NOT just say one day, “I think I need that sweet little baby Tiggy up here”. He did not “pick him to add to his heavenly garden” and all of that other junk that people say. And he certainly didn’t need another angel. Tiggy is not an angel. He is in the presence of Jesus, worshipping Him and he is above the angels. We won’t know until we get to heaven why God allows some things to happen and other things to not happen. I cannot imagine the pain that your family has gone through and is still going through but regardless (and I think you know this) of what others may say flippantly, God did not just randomly say, “Ok, that’s enough of Tiggy for you. I’m bringing him to me.” God loves us too much to just allow things to happen to us just so his “heavenly garden” will have another baby in it or whatever other nonsense people say.
    So, as hard as it is (and I cannot even imagine how hard this is for you) please don’t let people who make those comments to you make you feel like the answer to why is because God just felt like taking your baby away from you because that is just a lie. I don’t know why but I definitely know what’s NOT why.

  24. Reply


    April 7, 2011

    Dana, be encouraged by Psalm 139:16 (New International Version, ©2011)

    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    Take peace and strength from the fact that Tiggy’s death was not an accident, but ordained from your loving Father. He WAS there that day of Tiggy’s accident. This was not something that He turned his head on, or missed, but this was ordained, from your heavenly Father who loves you.. If not from our Father, then whom are you giving credit for that day? God is Sovereign, there is such great peace in knowing these truths. I am praying that God will continue to comfort you in your pain, that He would be your strength, and that you would find your peace in His truth.

    God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.

  25. Reply


    April 8, 2011

    I am a new follower. I cried so hard when I read about your son. I lost a baby boy in my 18th week of pregnancy 5 months ago. I asked and still ask why? The comments made after he died were similar to the ones you received. People mean well, but raw grief has no explanations. What kept me going was the sweet, innocent, faith-filled responses of my children. They would repeat all the truths that we had taught them! God bless you and and your husband and all your children.

  26. Reply


    April 8, 2011

    Christina, isn’t that beautiful? Children have such a wonderful faith and it is nice to hear them share what you’ve taught them.

    It’s hard because people are uncomfortable, they want to say something to make you feel better and they just don’t know.

  27. Reply

    Mama D's Dozen

    April 9, 2011

    I’m struggling a little with Traci’s last comment, and you may be as well.

    Traci said, “Take peace and strength from the fact that Tiggy’s death was not an accident, but ordained from your loving Father. He WAS there that day of Tiggy’s accident. This was not something that He turned his head on, or missed, but this was ordained, from your heavenly Father who loves you.. ”

    I see the word “ordained” as meaning “planned”. And, I do NOT believe that God “planned” this. I DO believe that it was, simply, an accident.

    Yes, God was there. Yes, God did know that this accident was going to take place. However, I do not believe that it would have been God’s ultimate “plan” for Tiggy’s life.

    I believe that because of sin, a lot of ugly stuff happens on earth … because of sin a lot of poor choices are made … because of sin a lot of accidents happen. Now, I am not for one minute saying that you, your family, or Tiggy sinned … nor made poor choices. I’m just saying that because God allows us to live in our “humanness”, life sometimes happens in ways that may not be God’s perfect plan, even though He is fully aware of each and every situation.

    Does that make any sense? I hope so.

    Saying that “God ordained this” or “God planned this”, to me, is just like saying, “God decided that He wanted little Tiggy to come to heaven.” I believe, with all my heart, that the Lord would desire each and every one of us to live long, healthy, full lives … in honor and service to Him. However … because “life happens” … He, for whatever reason, allows accidents, illness, and such into our lives, even if/when it is not His perfect plan.

    Just food for thought …


  28. Reply


    April 9, 2011

    Before reading, consider a moment of prayer (as I did before writing) to ask God to speak to you, to bring clarity to each.

    Mama D (and others), I’m curious on your further thoughts. 🙂

    First, here is a definition of ordained:

    or·dain (ôr-dn)
    tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
    a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
    b. To authorize as a rabbi.
    2. To order by virtue of superior authority; decree or enact.
    3. To prearrange unalterably; predestine: by fate ordained.

    Upon what do you base your opinion that God would want us to live long, healthy, full lives? Or is that “our” definition of what God wants in our life? Cotton candy for you, pony rides for me? Aren’t we promised trials, and struggles? That tomorrow is unknown? Is it about God, or us? I think you’re giving sin and ourselves too much credit. Isn’t it possible (and clear to me in the Bible) that through our struggles, we grow closer to God, and lessen our grip on this world?

    Consider Job, before Satan could do anything to him, God had to give permission. Is God just in heaven watching? Responding to what is happening? I find much more comfort in the fact that He is actually involved in our lives, sovereign even. Isn’t it a bit scary to think that we have this great big God, that we’ve committed our lives and family and everything to, and He has NO control over what happens? Isn’t it possible that He ordained these events (as the Bible lays out), and that in this He will be glorified, and even that Dana and her family and unknown others (you and I amongst them) will grow closer to Him for it? Even praising Him for it?

    I would not follow a god that couldn’t even handle our sins, to a god that just sits idly by on His throne, watching His children suffer, only able to react to events, not to be involved in them, or, yes, ordaining them.

    I think of Christ’s death; even that was ordained, and that was God’s one and only Son. If God would ordain His own Son’s death, how do we say that He would not ordain each of ours? (Consider doing a study of the prophecies of the Old Testament to see that Christ’s death was clearly ordained, down to the details.)

    Food for thought. I am praying earnestly for God to reveal Himself. There is great danger when we start twisting the Bible to say what we want it to say, not what it actually says. And there is great comfort in understanding the God that IS in the Bible. Our created version of God will fall so short, and bring no comfort or peace, just more pain and anguish.

    Whew… This is big stuff! Thanks if you stuck with it. I am praying for you, Dana, in your time of pain. Just as God was with you that day, He is with you now in your pain and grieving. Consider His pain in His children. Come Lord Jesus, Come.

  29. Reply


    April 10, 2011

    Dana, I am a new reader. A friend of mine posted your blog on Facebook as a prayer request several months ago, and I have been silently following and praying for you ever since.

    With all that you’ve been through, and the humility and courage it has taken for you to share this with the world, I find it amazing (and frankly, angering), that anyone could be so insensitive as to make such thoughtless remarks to you. Reminds me of Job’s friends, offering foolish “wisdom” that only increased his sufferings.

    Not only are those statements completely unfounded in scripture, but the underlying implication is that it’s somehow selfish or rebellious against God for a grieving parent to wish she could have her child back. Utter nonsense!

    There is no sin in asking “Why?” Even Jesus asked that question on the cross. We serve a Big God and he can handle our toughest questions.

    Such statements only reflect the speaker’s desire to make ANY contribution, no matter how trite, foolish, or possibly hurtful. It may make the speaker feel better to offer such cliches as though ripped out of a Hallmark card, but it does the grieving no favors.

    We live in a fallen world, and there is so much that should not be, but is. The Son of God should not have had to die for us, but He did. Our world should not be so broken and full of tragedy, but it is. We know something is wrong because our eternal beings groan for what we have lost and for the promised day when God will set it all to rights. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that reality, and asking “why?”

    May God comfort you and shield you from the ignorant (albeit, well-meaning) remarks of others, as you grieve your sweet Tiggy.

  30. Reply


    April 10, 2011

    Thank you, Rachel. And we have been blessed by so many people who have shown us such love it has been a great encouragement to us. And these comments don’t bother me exactly. I know people mean well and don’t know exactly what to say. I never know exactly how to respond, especially since I don’t actually believe that my son is an angel, but I am not “hurt” by the comments since they are not meant so.

    I wish the world weren’t so broken. My heart yearns for that wholeness we’ll all know. Some day.

    And Traci, I’ve driven several hundred miles over the last few days. I’ll try to get back with you at least once I’m settled in at home again. 🙂

  31. Reply


    April 11, 2011

    OK, I’ve started this comment a dozen different ways over the last hour and realized that I’m not really up for a theological debate. A couple of points, however.

    I went back to Psalm 139:16. Have you ever looked at it in other translations? And in Strong’s? I never realized how much confusion there is over this verse and I’m less sure of what it says now than I ever was. The word “ordained” isn’t in the original. The word translated as such means “fashioned, purposed, formed” or something of that nature. Some versions translate the verse like the NIV, others refer to deeds rather than days and still others keep with the formed body theme like the KJV “all my members were written.”

    Apparently, there are some words missing and some awkward phrasing in the original texts the translators have. Fascinating stuff, but it makes it difficult to say that this verse says absolutely that God causes death in such a direct manner.

    I understand the point you are making, but I don’t think that talking about accidents is the same as accusing God of not having the will or the power to act. I believe there is a sort of continuum of beliefs with humans as puppets on one end and God as a passive spectator on the other.

    From what you have said, I don’t believe we are that far apart. You mention “permission” to harm Job. We know that not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father and that the evil one cannot take us out of His grasp. Christ’s death was certainly ordained in a very direct way. All of scripture from Genesis to Revelation points to it.

    None of that necessitates God as the cause of death, or of all deaths to the point that I would think it warranted to accuse someone of worshipping a lower case god of their own choosing. When you go too far down the continuum the other way, I have a hard time understanding what the point of prayer (or even the cross) is if it is all laid out in stone.

    What I will stand on, however, is this:

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~Romans 6:23

  32. Reply


    April 11, 2011

    Even though I have a religious studies degree, I’m so not up to a discussion on ‘ordained’ vs. ‘purposed’… but hey, someday soon I might get some sleep and then all bets are off! Anyway, this discussion resonates in my sleep deprived state as a funny joke I heard a while ago…
    A Jewish grandma is walking with her little boy at the beach. A huge wave comes and sweeps him away. She shakes her fist at the sky and cries out to God, ‘That was my beloved grandson! Give him back!’ Another wave sweeps back in and deposits the little boy on the sand, perfect except he’s missing one shoe.
    The grandma looks up and says, ‘And he had another shoe!’
    I’m not sure if that joke is about anger, or thankfulness or the Jewish tradition of dialoging with God but it rigns true somewhere. Always better to ask ‘WHY?’ than to be silent.

  33. Reply


    April 11, 2011

    Another comment here said that Jesus is constant, even though everything else changes.
    There’s a beautiful book out called ‘I will Carry You’ about a couple’s decision to carry a child to term when they knew she would die at birth. There’s passage where they see, for certain, on the ultrasound that she won’t survive. The mom remembers saying, ‘He’s the same, He’s the same’. The doctor was confused, since the baby’s a girl.
    But the mom was talking about Jesus. She had always worried that if tragedy struck then her faith would be broken. But Jesus was the same, before she entered the room, and now that they knew for sure that the worst was happening. She flet His presence with them.
    I found that incredibly comforting and uplifting. He is constant!
    Praying for you always, especially Bear.

  34. Reply


    April 11, 2011

    🙂 I just find that stuff fascinating. I had no idea there was so much controversy about what exactly is ordained, formed, fashioned or purposed. 🙂

  35. Reply


    April 12, 2011

    The heart of Traci’s argument is based on Reformed Theology (i.e., Calvinism), a theological position that most Evangelical theologians and many Protestant denominations would dispute.

    You can find more info here: http://allanturner.com/calbk_2.html

    There’s a vast difference between ALLOWING something to happen, and PLANNING or CAUSING it.

    And honestly, this is the kind of debate that shouldn’t be forced on a grieving mother.

  36. Reply

    Melissa Jones

    April 13, 2011

    Amazing. Really Amazing. I have never heard a person say that asking the question ” Why?” showed Christian faith.

    Quote from your article:
    Crying out why does not mean that our faith is weak, nor that we have placed ourselves in judgment of God.

    “Why?” is a statement of belief.

    Else why would we ask Him anything at all?

    It is a recognition of His power and presence in our lives

    We know what He could have done. We just don’t understand why He didn’t.

    It is a recognition that God is good.

    *Else why would we ask Him anything at all? It is a recognition of His power and presence in our lives, We know what He could have done. We just don’t understand why He didn’t.

    Amazing! You hit the nail on the head for me. That exactly the way it is. It is a deep shame and so painful that when you do ask “Why?” so many Christians condemn you for asking it in the first place. Or say such dismissive answers to your deep painful questions! I have never lost a child. But I have asked the question “Why?” many times in my life. I first was sexually molested at 3 yrs old. I was not touched that my parents know of, but I saw a graphic sexual act. I was later molested many more times, at later times in my life, by different boys or men. “Why?” “Why?” I would want to vomit out the terrible pain I felt in my body. The terrible pain that was put their by someone else. I vomited that sickness out,( in a way of speaking, I didn’t really vomit) but that is what it felt like. My parents have deserted me, and my parents relatives don’t speak with me much either. I was born into a earthly family, and now I am a orphan. I have depression. I was suicidal by the age of 9yrs old. I have CRIED out many times “Why?”

    I still struggle in many areas in my life, but I am filled with deep JOY. The JOY only Christ can give. I can partly see now why all those bad things happened( only my human understanding). I can talk about 2 reasons, I know there could be pages of discussion, so I will only state two. One is it brought me closer to Christ. God doesn’t break each man the same way. That couldn’t be more true in my eyes, that God doesn’t break each man the same way. Secondly…I am a strong, fighting woman. I have a voice. I use my voice. I speak up for those that have been sexually abused, I fight to keep my children safe, I speak up for those who like me suffer with depression. I instruct my children with truth. I fight against so many horrible evils in this world. This has made me a fighter. Yes…I have been in much pain, and I still am at times. BUT…I have the deepest joy, JOY in Christ. Whatever HE wills in my life I will accept, because I trust HIS goodness, I trust I will only get justice not injustice. Besides all Christ has done, HE has given me a loving, understand, hard working, kind husband, and blessed us with 3 wonderful children. I rejoice!! Much has been taken away from me, but much “better” things or people have been given to me. I know Jesus knew all my pain, and HE filled me and gave me my heart’s desire. I run to Jesus daily! OH, how I love HIM!

    Dana loved your words! So heart-broken for you, and your family. BUT I love seeing that Christ fills you up, and you run to HIM. HE is our only real comfort. Much Dear love to you…Melissa Jones

  37. Reply


    April 23, 2011

    Wow. These words… understanding our condition… it helps just a little. No, this isn’t the way it was supposed to be! We don’t understand WHY God doesn’t fix it. But somehow we still know he’s there, he’s in control, and he IS able to work all things (even the things that are just a result of the fallenness of the world) for good… somehow. I’m trying to echo your words, trying to fit my own mind around it. Thank you so much for expressing these things so very well.


April 21, 2011