When God isn’t great…


by Kenneth Justice

~ This past weekend my 21 year old cousin died. He was one of the nicest kids I ever knew. The funeral is today and I couldn’t help but wake up this morning in tears. I can’t even imagine what my Uncle and Aunt are going through, to lose a child at such a young age.

The drive to coffee this morning was abysmal, it was difficult to keep my eyes focused on the road as thoughts of my cousin ran through my head.

I turned the radio on in the hope of drowning out my sorrow momentarily in order to keep focused on the road. I started to zone out until the NEWS station turned their attention to the awful tragedy in Pakistan, “Religious extremists broke into a school, poured gasoline on a teacher and lit her on fire and shouted, ‘God is great’ as she screamed and died, the children were forced to watch and afterwards more than a hundred of the children were shot and murdered” said the reporter.

Where is God in the midst of all this sh*t?

I’m reminded of the Psalmist’s words, “Why do you hide your face from me O Lord?”

In some way I feel like it would be easier to abandon my faith in the midst of tragedy, to simply turn a blind eye to all the sadness in the world and live only for myself.

For my soul is full of troubles,

And my life draws near to Sheol.

I am counted among those who go down to the pit;

I am a man who has no strength

Psalm 88 is one of the saddest ever written. While many of the Psalms begin with tragedy in the beginning, they usually end with some measure of hope as you draw near to the end….not Psalm 88. It is an agonizing prayer of the troubled.

—) There are no rosy cheerful moments sprinkled throughout

—) There is no fake smile plastered in the middle

—) There is nothing but sorrow and pain

The final sentence bites to the core, “You (God) have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness”

Sometimes there is no reason as to why tragedy occurs. Sometimes there is no word of hope to give the sorrowful. Sometimes there is nothing we can do but cry.

And that is okay……


Categories: Culture & Society

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54 replies

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss Kenneth. May God grant you and the family comfort in this trying time.

  2. I am crying with you, Kenneth. I am sorry for your loss and grateful for your post.

  3. I don’t even know what to say, Kenneth. God bless you.

  4. Oh Kenneth, I feel for you. And this post is right on. “Sometimes there is no word of hope to give the sorrowful. Sometimes there is nothing we can do but cry. And that is okay…”
    –I know there are no words in times like these. I will pray for you and your family.
    Would it be okay with you if I reblog this?

  5. My best friend died when he was 24, I still cry about it to this day. At the time I hung on to my belief in god. Overtime I’ve become agnostic. Remarkably that has made me feel better about the whole affair. I’m not suggesting you give up on god in the least. But I appreciate your story and I’m really touched by Psalm 88. Thank you.

  6. Sorry for your loss.
    If you need to let it out, go for it.

  7. So sorry for your loss. I wish you and those around you strength and comfort in this difficult time. Hugs

  8. My brother died suddenly at 37… yes, Psalm 88… this is beautifully written, and heartbreaking… and COMFORTING.

  9. I’m deeply sorry, Kenneth . I could cry with you right now because I lost my cousin too.(last week) He was 61 years old though and cancer took his life for two month and I’m filled with sorrow, pain, and sadness.
    Hope he rest in peace and God bless his family. 😦

  10. So sad to hear of your loss. I am not convinced your faith was restored. It’s easy to get mad at God because He allowed it. But God is more complicated than that. The situation is so, complicated! Keep your trust in Him. As you noted, Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And he loves God. Still, cry!

  11. I am so sorry for your loss Kenneth.

  12. My condolences to you and your family. I too, have suffered the loss of a musician friend just yesterday and it’s hard to make sense.

  13. My heart goes out to you. _/\_

  14. Death is a reality that everyone will eventually face. For Christians death does not sting because it opens to the eternal life with God. Suffering is not evil but something to be conquered by love.

    Your love is the antidote to the suffering you and your family are going through these days. I wish that whatever was allowed by God to happen in this good kid will produce a lot more good as God sees fit.


  15. Sorry for your loss Kenneth.
    My son died when he was eight and a half…part of me died with him. Life is cruel at times and unforgiving. My heart goes out to you.

  16. Lament, without the bitterness of unacknowledged congealed anger, is distilled worship at it’s purest.

  17. Thank you for sharing, for in doing so you allowed a community of supporters to reach out and help you through comments and prayers…as you have done so well helping others with your insight via your post! You and your family are in my prayers and yes crying is all one can do in these situations. I agonize for the family.

  18. Maybe God needed him for something even greater, maybe this was a necessary, yet painful sacrifice from that family. We barely can manage our lives, we tend to initiate wars, harboring our insternal conflict and spreading it to out family, nation, world. Your faith, I guess, has nothing to do with dogmas and stubbornness, and I’m sure, you already know it, not only God is in a congregation; a fallen nature can relate to evil thoughts and actions…

    Your cousin had a life, now, he continous it in another place, we all know it exists, since Jesus already told it after he came back in his spiritual body.

    Tears are very close to God. He shed tears in the whole human history and rarely could smile…

    Have a Blessed Day!

  19. Please accept my deepest sympathy. I am truly sorry for your loss.I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family.

  20. The darkness and sorrow don’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense that God loves us either.

  21. These are events that change us forever. . So very sorry for your loss. I began to blog with humour. Then my great friends 13 year old boy got leukemia. I shared our pain and belief he would get better, the hope we all got from finding an americsn girl as a bone marrow donor. Tben his loss. Mh writing changed as did my blog. One yead on it is still v hard. Mind yourself. My condolances to his parents fsmily and friends.

  22. My condolences, Kenneth. You are right, sometimes there’s nothing to do but weep. And then good folks like you pick yourself up and try to do right by the world, to counteract all the tragedy and evil. Keep fighting the good fight.

  23. Geez… Sorry about your loss. I totally get you.

  24. “Sometimes there is no reason as to why tragedy occurs. Sometimes there is no word of hope to give the sorrowful. Sometimes there is nothing we can do but cry.”

    What do you mean there is no reason? I agree though that often after the tragedy, all we can do is cry.

  25. There is never enough to say to make this hurt go away. And though I am not you, I do know loss. Hold your head high and make him proud by continuing to live and shine your light into the darkness.
    Fight on.

  26. Several years ago I attended a funeral of a child. Much of it was a blur. But I do remember the priest saying it is ok to be angry at God and to complain to God. He said it is normal and is clearly done in scriptures.

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