Lost Faith

Lost Faith October 17, 2023


Lost Faith

I’ve struggled with my faith over the years. I was devastated when my middle daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. I couldn’t believe my ears. Yet, here I was, hearing the words, “Your child has cancer; it’s a rare children’s cancer.”

Except, in my family, it wasn’t rare. It was a familial cancer gene. It was only a matter of time before it was figured out. Sadly, I had already lost a sister, an aunt, an uncle, and several cousins to the rare form of childhood cancer.

When my sweet daughter passed away, I was mad. Angry with God, who could’ve chosen to save her, but didn’t. Why? It was so unfair that a child didn’t get to live. She was so pure and perfect that it just wasn’t fair. It would be ten long years before I set foot back inside of a church, and then history chose to repeat itself.

When my youngest daughter was diagnosed with the same rare cancer, all I could say was, “Why God? Didn’t I obey you?” I was devastated. I’d been faithful and chosen to serve God. I’d been involved in my church. “WHY??” was the only thing I could repeat in my mind.

It would be two full years before I could revisit this question. Those two years were spent in the battle for my daughter’s life. While I was at her bedside, her father was in another woman’s bed. While I was praying on my knees for my daughter’s life, I was alone.

How I Came Back From The Depths Of Despair

After she was in remission, I dealt with the obvious. A philandering husband who didn’t care about me or our daughter. Fast forward fifteen years, and the youngest child told me that she didn’t want to live at home any longer. She wanted to move in with her philandering father and his newest wife (I’ve lost track of how many wives he has had).

In desperation, I called my own father. I poured my heart out over the phone about how my daughter chose to move out and stay with her philandering father; he told me that this wouldn’t have happened if I had been going to church. The odd thing was I was in church three days a week. I was in charge of the teen program in-services on Sunday and Wednesday. As I listened to my own father’s “sermonette.” I got angry. And in my anger, I hung up the phone. I didn’t call my own father back for several months.

My father’s single, well-intentioned comment backfired. Church wasn’t the problem. I was even on the church board. The real question that I needed to wrap my head around was, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people who believe in him?” Going to church did not make me any better than anyone else, and I knew that.

Going to church didn’t guarantee that nothing bad would happen in my life. When my father gave me his “sermonette,” I knew that too. Having grown up with a preacher for a father, I knew that no matter what I said, he would counter it, so I chose not to engage. In fact, his comments made me step away from my church and stop going. Church was in my heart, not in a building.

Why Does God Allow Unfortunate Events To Occur In Virtuous Individuals?

Several times in my life, I’ve sought the solace of God’s word without setting foot inside a church. The truth is, I don’t need to set foot inside a church to find peace and comfort.  I’ve learned to relax, sit quietly, and listen as HE speaks to me. I find peace when I read his word, dwell upon it, and find comfort in Him.

I truly believe that everyone struggles with their faith now and again. Regardless of the reason, we’ve all been in this boat. I felt like I was afloat in the ocean with no engine or oars for the boat. I was drifting. The question was, was I drifting toward God or away from God?

In the midst of the storm, I had to make a choice. Would I turn my back on God to see if that worked? Or should I keep walking forward to the loving embrace of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice? I opted for the latter.

My life was overwhelming. I was living in a derelict house that barely had proper plumbing and had the old-fashioned wiring that was in my great-grandparent’s home. If you’ve never seen this wiring, you can use a copper penny as a fuse. Definitely a fire hazard.

Let Go And Let God

The soothing balm of God’s word nourished my soul. I saw my daughter on the weekends and used my weekdays to better my economic situation. I went back to school and earned a degree in healthcare. Finally, I  accepted a job that would allow me to move in short order.

I focused on God and prayer and spoke to my daughter almost every night on the phone. It hurt. It was so painful that I would often cry myself to sleep. As time moved forward, I found peace in Him. Confiding in a few friends and taking a leap of faith, I knew it was time to move away from the small town I’d lived in for over twenty years.

I moved into a fifth wheel on my parent’s property in a leap of faith. I worked and continued to pray. Then, one afternoon, my miracle happened. A lovely, nearly ten-acre farm literally fell into my lap. My dream of living in my fifth wheel while I bought a piece of property and built a house was near perfect. The best part was that the house was already there. So, the fifth wheel is my guest house/office. God is so good.

Shortly after I moved to the nearly ten-acre farm, my daughter came to visit. As she sat visiting with me, she told me, “Mom, I’m so sorry I hurt you. I want to move back home.” And she did. Today, our relationship is wonderful.

She said she told me how awful it was at her father’s, but she needed to learn it independently. I’m so proud of her, of the skills she’s learned, and of the lovely farm I’ve been able to buy. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone, gone back to school, and trusted and rested in the solace of His arms.

Why God Allows Bad Things To Happen To His People

If everything went perfectly in our lives, we would become complacent. We would stay in our comfort zone and refuse to move forward. We’d become stagnant and lose our momentum. I’ve learned that God gives us times of rest and times of growth.

Leaning on God in times of struggle helps me to grow. It hurts. Growth hurts. I remember when one of my sons had severe growth pains because he was growing so fast. Growth hurts. But growth is good for us.

As I pondered the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” I thought of the various prophets in the Bible. All of the toil and trouble that some of them went through. They overcame immense challenges. They continued to teach love and compassion to the world.

As they poured out their hearts, sacred texts became part of the Bible that we read today. Finding solace and peace in God’s word isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of our strength. It’s acknowledging that even when things aren’t going our way, God is still right beside us.

We find the courage and wherewithal to face our trials and tribulations through God’s grace, prayer, meditation, and studying His word. We find resilience in His word and love. It is in Him that we find peace that passes all understanding.

Life’s Lessons

If my second daughter hadn’t been stricken with cancer, there were many things that I would have done differently in my life. God, however, had other plans for both of us. If my third daughter hadn’t had the same diagnosis, my life would have been very different. If I had gone to court and made my third daughter move back home when she left (which I easily could have), I wouldn’t be where I am today. And my daughter wouldn’t have learned what she has learned.

No one ever said that it would be easy to follow God, but it makes a huge difference in our perception of why bad things happen to good people. The answer because God has bigger plans than you can ever imagine. It’s like standing back and looking at a piece of art; only when you stand back and look can you see the big picture. when you’re only focused on one section, you may miss out on the blessing that is yet to come.

Have you ever struggled to follow God when life threw you lemons and made you miserable? How did you find solace? Did your life turn out better than you expected after all was said and done?

About Elle Clark
Elle is a Pastor’s Daughter and has been writing for over three decades. She writes about youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, senior advocacy, gardening and sustainability, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides in Northeastern Washington with her husband and children. You can read more about the author here.

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