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I feel I’m lucky in the sense that I came to police wife bizarrely well-prepared for the trauma.
I mean, I spent a few months working at a center for domestic violence victims. I studied the effects of rape, sex trafficking, and other kinds of trauma throughout college because it’s a field I wanted to work in.
While it better prepared me to help my husband cope with the horrors of his job, there are some things you just can’t prepare for. And even though my husband does his best not to tell me the worst stuff he sees, he’s also better able to separate himself from the emotions – so he doesn’t always realize the stories he tells me are things I did not want to know.
And sometimes after hearing these stories, I can’t help but wonder: why did that have to happen? How is that fair?
I mean, the question is really a classic one. Who hasn’t asked the question, “why does God let bad things happen to good people?”
And of course, there’s the bad things that come with life anyway – but when we’re talking about the truly horrendous, senseless things happening to good people – or even the things that happen to kids?
Why would God allow that? Do those things really happen for a reason?
These questions can really do a number on your faith. But while knowing the awful things of the world can break your faith, you can also use it as a catalyst to build your faith.
How To Nurture Your Faith When It’s Been Shaken
Know that God is good.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Sometimes the terrible stories you hear about make you feel like God is, at best, indifferent, and at worst, just plain mean. For instance, children orphaned because someone else chose to drive drunk? The abusive husband who finagles a way to keep control of the household finances, house, cars, and all other assets, while the wife is now destitute and trying to rebuild her life? How is that fair?
Whatever situation it is that’s weighing on your heart, always, always remember that God is good. Even if you’re questioning it, even if all you can do is want to believe God is good – that’s a great start.
When bad things happen, remember that we are His children. He feels just as heartbroken as we do for the pain we have to go through, but His ways aren’t our ways. His timing isn’t our timing, and His plans are not our plans. He sees beyond what we can in this mortal existence, and knows that everything can serve a purpose for good.
Remember that in his goodness, He is also powerful. None of the pain and ugliness we see in this world is greater than Him. No bad thing is beyond His ability to make it right.
Don’t just pray – discuss.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7
God is there for you at all times. He’s there whether you’re feeling good or whether you’re heartbroken. Remember that, and turn to Him when you have questions.
And don’t worry if you’re don’t have some elaborate, eloquent prayer to say. It’s not about the words. It’s not about saying the right thing or asking for the right thing. Prayer is about having a conversation with God about what’s bugging you. More than anything, God wants to hear from you. He wants to know what’s on your heart, and He wants to help you when you’re struggling.
Every time I’ve turned to God with my questions, I’ve received an answer.
Sometimes I receive the answer that what the person was faced with was meant to make them stronger, even if it hurts in the meantime.
Sometimes, the answer is simply that humans are blessed with the power to make their own choices – and when those choices hurt others, God can and will make it right when the time comes.
Sometimes, the question is answered with a question: do you believe there’s more to this life? Which means to me that there’s more beyond this world. That whether things are made right in this life doesn’t necessarily matter, even if that’s what I feel should happen.
Whatever the answer is, however it comes, it’s always accompanied by a sense of peace. After all, He isn’t annoyed by the fact we feel heartbroken for those around us. He wants us to love others, to want to lift them up, and to come to him for help doing so.
Remember that Christ has overcome.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
In a weird way, I enjoy hearing about all the ugliness the world has to offer. I mean, let’s be clear. I don’t enjoy it as in, I’m entertained by it. It’s not like it makes me feel good.
What I enjoy about it is it gives me the opportunity to understand Christ in a deeper way.
When I first came to know God, I was astounded by the idea that Christ felt everything we’ve ever (or will ever) feel. That because of the atonement, He knows exactly, precisely how I feel when I’m sick, when I’m lonely, or when I”m heartbroken. He knows precisely what I’m feeling, because he died for each person’s individual sins – not in generalities, but specifically.
To think of the heartbreak of my own life, to know He felt and overcame all those things, that’s incredible. But when I think about all the other horrible things he felt? It’s beyond all comprehension. The thought overwhelms me with gratitude for Him and strengthens my faith that He does care and He does want to make it better.
Immerse yourself in His word.
Just like a flame needs oxygen to grow, you need a good environment for the fire of your faith to grow.
When you feel overwhelmed with the ugliness of the world, that’s the time to surround yourself with God, even when you’re not actually praying.
One thing I do daily is scripture study. That 5 minutes a day isn’t always life changing, but I know my day is much worse without it. It centers me and prepares me for whatever’s ahead.
There are also definitely times it is life changing. Sometimes the scriptures I’m reading leap out at me as though they were written just for me, and certain questions I’ve been asking suddenly get answered all at once.
If you’ve never done this before, you might be surprised by how clearly God speaks to you through the scriptures. And it doesn’t take much: my goal is only a chapter a day. Sometimes more if I’m on a roll, but I’m usually done in 5 minutes. It’s a worthwhile time investment for sure.
No matter what awful thing is weighing on your heart today, know that God is there to help you make sense of it.
How do you nurture your faith during hard times?