Why Does Bad Stuff Happen to Good People?

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I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked this question, and have even asked it myself.  My daughter, my perfect four year old daughter who’s only sin was probably taking one of her brothers toys, was diagnosed with cancer when she was four years old. Four years old.  At that point can we even determine if she was a “good” person yet? She was just a child- my child.

I found myself being asked by both my Christian and non-Christian friends more than once- If there is a God, how could He let this bad thing happen?  How can you believe that God exists if he can allow your child to go through such pain? It was hard to answer because I felt like what they were asking me ran deeper than “Why did your kid get cancer?”.  They were asking if I still believed in a God that would let this terrible thing happen to my child.

My first answers were definitely more in the “I don’t know” category, because really- I didn’t know how to answer that question. I have read plenty of scripture and books on why bad things happen during my Christian life, but now this was a bad thing happening right in my family. As time passed, I knew that the family it was happening too wasn’t just my immediate family, but my entire church family too. I do not believe God “let” my child get cancer.  But, what I do believe is that He surrounded us with a huge church family that, prayed for us, brought us meals, and surrounded us with love.  I believe that God put the right people and doctors in our path to keep our child healthy, safe and alive.  I believe that God prepared us for this difficult time before it ever happened.  I believe that God surrounded us with love and carried us when we could not move anymore.  I believe God showed us the joy in the situation instead of allowing our judgment to be clouded with doubt, fear and despair.

I believe that God gave us the strength to keep moving forward in His love, and not be held back by this bad thing.  Will I ever really understand why Ella had cancer? No.  Is it the last “bad” thing that will happen in our lives? No.  Was it the first? No. Was God there for us? Yes.  Did he surround us with love? Yes. Did he carry us through when we were not able to do it on our own? Definitely.  God didn’t let my child get cancer.  He kept her alive in spite of cancer.  In spite of the evil one calling our names. His love turned this bad thing into proof that He loves us and will carry us forward during the good stuff and the bad stuff.
~ Katie Van Gheem

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1 comment

  1. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. You are an inspiration to lean on God and focus on the good. Your faith is encouraging.

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