God killed my friend

or at the very least stood by doing nothing while she died, while allowing people like this and this to live on.

My friend, we’ll call her Rebecca, died this past weekend at the age of 25. She was diagnosed 3 years ago with a brain tumor, and had every type of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy possible, but it was not enough to save her. She was sweet, caring, beautiful, and strong; she had recently gotten married and had a lifetime worth of goals and dreams ahead of her. Rebecca had planned on becoming a teacher, and eventually becoming a mother. She volunteered in her community and was kind to everyone she met, regardless of whether she personally liked them. She was active in her church, singing and sharing her many musical talents with anyone who asked.

Let me now add a disclaimer that I don’t believe in a God – there are a lot of things we don’t understand about the universe, and I don’t pretend to have any answers. But when my friend died, I couldn’t help but wonder how someone who believes in a God can justify what happened to her. It’s the classic question – “why do bad things happen to good people?” See, I understand that religious people generally believe in free will, so sometimes when bad things happen to us it’s a result of some action we took. For instance, if I drove my car to the grocery store while it was snowing and got into an accident injuring myself, it’s reasonable to assume that my choice to go for a drive while the roads were slippery played a role in my injuries. It was my choice, and I paid the consequences, despite how inherently good or bad I might be. I also understand that the definition of “good” or “bad” is going to vary between people.

However, I’m not sure of anyone that would consider an early death, like what Rebecca had to endure, a good thing. And I don’t think her brain tumor had anything to do with a choice she made (in contrast to some cancers, like lung, which are often caused by an action like smoking). There was nothing she could have done or put into her body that caused that brain tumor – it was some sort of perverse accident, a deadly combination of genetics and environmental factors beyond her control. So then I ask, if you believe in God, what is your justification for this occurrence? Why did God give Rebecca a brain tumor (or allow her to die of a brain tumor) while letting serial rapists live? Why did God allow a tsunami to kill over 200,000 people in 2004, while doing nothing to stop a repeat child-molester? Is it because “God works in mysterious ways”? That response always seemed like a bit of a cop-out – if you don’t know the answer, say so. Did my friend sin, and this was her punishment? I don’t buy that – she wasn’t perfect (no one is), but there are many people in this world far worse. Did God smite her just for his own amusement? Or it is possible, just maybe, that God had nothing to do with any of this – that sometimes life sucks and good people pay the consequence? If God is loving and all-powerful, then he would have saved my friend. He wouldn’t have let her die before her parents, leaving behind a husband who is now contemplating what goals he has left that didn’t involve a lifetime with her. The world is a worse place today, because Rebecca is no longer here to share her love and talents with the rest of us.

~ Lily

7 Comments

  1. Nico said,

    January 14, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Lily
    Hope you doing fine, I just read your story, and hey let me be honest I dont have the right awnser for you, to be honest I don’t know alot about the bible to qoute any verses, All I can tell you you it’s not God who took your friends live, it is the enemy that comes and steel from us, yhea all of us has to die sometime, some before others, and hey if my best friend would die I would feel the same, but can I blame God our Creator for that, I often wonder about why do rapist dont die or child molesters or what the case ever, but then I came to reliase who am I to Judge other I also do wrong in life as you said no is perfect, and you know Jesus died on that cross for you and me, even you not believing in HIM, I can tell you out of my own life I’ve seen wonderfull miricals, I wish I could send you a DVD if you eva have the opertunity I dare you to watch Indescrible you would want to put it of i know but please go and watch it if you cant find it I can send it on to you.

    All of you Qeustions above, is that realy importend to you, I think for me building a relationship with God is more importend..

    I hope you all the best,
    And always remember what a friend we have in Jesus, That he sended his Own son to die for us on the Cross….

    Blessings for you.
    Nico
    Sorry for my spelling I’m Afrikaans speaking………….

  2. April 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    My daughter, Vendela, would have been 17 today if she wouldn’t have died of a brain tumour four years ago. She was a happy, wonderful girl who fought bravely for 8 years. I can’t wait to go to where she is now, for her company is so wonderful. But I have a lot of things to do first. Like making sure Vendela’s Mother, and Brothers and Sisters are allright. A few days before she died she told me: I am not afraid. I know what will happen when I die. I will meet Jesus and everyone who loves me on the other side. She knew. I know. I weep, but not for her, but for us, who must remain here without the most wonderful little girl in the world.

  3. Roy said,

    May 1, 2008 at 1:13 am

    There is no God. Believe it because it’s true.
    My daughter just died of a brain tumor 3 weeks ago. She was the kindest, sweetest, most giving 6 year old you would have ever met. She was beautiful to say the least.
    I really feel sorry for all these people that live in a fictional world and rely on made up stories to try and make death a good thing. It’s not a good thing, no matter how you slice it. If God is so loving and peaceful, wouldn’t you think the world HE made would be loving and peaceful? There is no part of cancer that is loving OR peaceful. Why would a loving and peaceful God allow a 6 year old to suffer through so much pain? If you were God, would you allow this to happen? I know I wouldn’t. If there were a God, all I can say is he is the most selfish being that ever existed and I’d be ashamed to believe in him.
    Yeah, I’m gonna take your little girl, whom you love so dearly and can’t live without ,and I’m gonna stick her beside me because I’m all powerful and loving and that’s what I do. I’ve never heard of anything so selfish. If we were to do that in the REAL world, we’d be arrested for murder and kidnapping. I wish people would think more and stop accepting things as they’ve always been……

    • Kevin said,

      October 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      I am very sorry for your loss, but please dont use your own perspective to fill other peoples minds with lies.
      God didnt make this world and people for everyone to live happy sunshine perfect lives where everyone lives happily and forever, no. read the bible it will anwser your questions,
      Why do you think the world should be perfect you arent the only person that have suffered through loss, God may have let her die to stop her suffering.
      He isnt selfish, Every single person in the world goes through a road of pain to become experienced.
      After you die you go on, life on earth is only a small fraction of someones existence. believe in God and you will reunite with your daughter.
      I once had a very close freind of mine who died, everyone dies sooner or later. when you do does it make sense for your loved ones around you to go, man god took him away form me hes selfish and cruel, no,
      Also keep in mind the devil also exists and he is also responsible for many tragedys, why doesnt god get rid of the devil then? becuase he was oncle a deciple of god who became selfish and used his given powers for evil,
      Where good exists,Evil does too.
      Dont be ignorant,

  4. June 10, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Dear Roy,
    I am sorry for your loss. Among all that grief it appears to me that there is also a lot of rage. You wrote that there is no God, but mosy people read “I am angry at God”. If we deny and denounce make no difference. I have a friend who died by jumping from the tenth floor of a building. He didn’t think he was jumping, he thought he was going to fly! Denying and denouncing the law of gravity didn’t eliminate it, rather, assuming it was not there killed him. Assuming that God is not there will also kill us. Slowly. In stead of God we will find alternative answers, answers that will leak like an old baloon, and as wee grow old and tired we will try to fill up the hole that the baloon filled so well with the shrivelled-up rubber skin. It is first then that we might realize that we in anger have tried to replace God with nothing but hot air. Perhaps you will curse me and ridicule me for my belief, but I am happily awaiting the day when my family will be reunited. Not because of what some living being said, or what some text reads, but because what God has revealed to me in the secret room of my heart where no man has access. I pray for you; that you might find a moment when your anguish and rage is swept out, when you might hear the voice of eternity speak to your soul with the sound of a six year old girl. I have no doubt that your lovely girl, who now knows, wants to give you comfort into your secret room. But that voice cannot compete with all the strong feelings of passion. I am certain that your spontaineous feelings are to write back and rage at me. But you know that it will have no effect on me! Instead, make some time to take some deep breaths. As your pulse has gone down, give words to whatever is in your inner, secret room of your heart, where no-one is allowed in. I’m sure you wil find some peace. I am your friend. I am not the enemy.

  5. Greg said,

    August 10, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Hey Lily,

    My Dad and mother-in-law both died in the last 8 months, at 57 and 48. My wife and I have been devastated. My 2 year old boy is without 2 people who loved him very much. I have been very angry and heartbroken, but I’m also Christian and believe in Jesus Christ. Things haven’t been easy, but here’s some things from a believer’s perspective:

    We are all sinners against God and we should admit it, not “good people”. Our sin may not be great as others, but all sin is evil worthy of death, no matter how small. We have the sin nature from the time we’re born and we are all appointed by God for physical death because of it. If we believe in and follow Christ, our spirits are born anew, the body dies and later we get a new one. But no matter what, we all have to die, because of sin in our mortal bodies. This means that physically, God owes us nothing in this life. He does not absolutely promise healing or long life to anybody today, Christian or not. This is equalizing, as death or life is not the last word for your friend or the serial rapist. Your friend, if she followed the LORD to the end, receives a new painless, deathless existence with Jesus forever. The serial rapist (should he not turn to God) will be gone from this world too in the blink of an eye and will suffer in hell forever for his unrepentant evil. Does this not change the level of “fairness” considerably?

  6. Lee said,

    October 27, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I don’t believe as most other people. I decided to believe in something else and other people share this belief. Many people believe no matter who you are or what religion or not you are, we are all beings of a universe. It sounds stupid to say that, but instead of thinking that God is some angry tyrant in Heaven or even just a loving deity, just think of all of us being part of a whole. The whole you can call God or the Universe. Some people are pagan. I think they believe every animal and thing has its own spirit. Including plants and rocks and such. I may be wrong about that please don’t quote me. Others just believe in Jesus or Allah or something called scientology. But I believe we are all the same.

    I have adopted the belief that we chose our own destiny. We chose our own parents, our own life, our own illnesses, and etc before we were ever born. Of course, we don’t know what our journey is be exactly, but we were given a map. It’s our choice to stop to eat or rest or not stop at all. We can even stop our journey all together or try to turn around. But we still have the same map with the same destiny. We have the choice to make it a bumpy ride or a nice one.

    Why do we go on this journey, you ask? I don’t really have the answer. But I think we all started at point A where we rose up out of the dirt and we had a choice of right or wrong. We strive for that point B, whether it be heaven or something else. Some of us are still in the dirt (point A), some of us are just out and some of us are beautiful examples of what it is to be at point B. Your friend sounds like one of those point B people. A beautiful beacon of light in the dark. An example of love and light. Someone the rest of us strive to be.

    You ask why she had to die. Maybe she didn’t have to die, but this is something her soul decided to do a long time ago. So many of us don’t even believe in a point B. Many of us gave up on love or beauty or family. We cry in the dark and ask why we are all alone. We gave up on happiness. We gave up on everything including that’s there is more than the dirt we stand on. Other people think we must profess that we are dirt and nothing better and so a greater god can pick us up because he is loving and benevolent and even considers dirt worth saving.

    I believe when we die, we are going back home. All our loved ones are there. Even our loving pets from years ago. What are they doing up there, you ask. Most of the time, I don’t think they are there — they are with you. Our cherished loved one are with us and even some that aren’t so cherished. If they are someone who has hurt you, they stand by your side beg forgiveness not for themselves, but for you so you can go on and lose the baggage of hate, sadness, rejection, resentment, or whatever else it is that you carry. (I do believe that really awful (evil) people are the ones that reject point B all together. They are not with us because they don’t care and they don’t want to be. And may be there is a place for them or not, but they chose not to be with us.)

    But you want to know about your friend. She is like an Angel and I bet she is by your side right now asking you to open your heart to her. Maybe her ‘soul’ purpose was for you. To open your heart, to show you there is a point B. To show you that love never dies. What gift could be greater than that? That love never dies. Billions and billions of times greater than gold. Only an Angel could give us a gift like that. May be such an Angel such as your friend decided to give such a great gift.

    I can’t see my loved ones either. Challenge the universe if you must. Say out loud if my friend still exists in some form, help me sense her, help me feel her love. You may need to scream and yell and get the anger out. It is very hard to sense anything in anger. Keep trying until you can be calm. Try meditation to help with the emotions and clear a way to communicate. Ask your friend to come to you, to your dreams, to your mediation. If there’s a chance she’s there, do you not owe it to her to try? It might take a year, it might take five years, but I wouldn’t stop trying. And even if you can’t sense her, talk to her. Tell her about your anger. Tell her you miss. Tell her you love her. Won’t you feel silly if you die and find out she was there the whole time and you never even tried to talk to her? If you die and that is it, then you won’t feel silly anyhow. You don’t have to believe in God, just believe in your friend and love. And use the goodness and inspiration she gave you to do good things and be inspirational for others. I think she would like that.

    I hope my words can help. I know I have lost loved ones and I was so angry I wish I could have killed God with my bear hands. All I did was hurt myself. I am still healing. I hope I can help someone else. Keep asking for help. You can’t go it alone.


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