Perhaps the most common question asked by those seeking enlightenment about God’s relationship with His children is this: “Why do bad things happen to good people? If God loves us, why do these horrible things happen?”
We’ve all heard it. “Sister Jones is so righteous. Why does she have cancer?” We need to keep in mind, righteousness is not a “get out of trials free” card. Every person on this earth, regardless of how righteous they are, must face trials and tribulations. We cannot progress and return to our Heavenly Father until we have done so. No one is immune.
What we are promised, however, is that we will be strengthened during our times of trial. His angels will surely bear us up as we face the challenges in our lives. As we look at all we’re called on to face, we can see so many instances where we were cushioned from the fall we might otherwise have taken. Sometimes we’ll lose our jobs only to discover a month later that we’ve found the job we really needed to have instead. Perhaps we’ll end a romance painfully only to discover that our loved one really wasn’t who we thought they were, and we’re glad we didn’t end up tying our lives to theirs. Sometimes that cushioning really does apply to a physical fall, as my mother discovered while serving her mission in England. She hit a patch of slick flagstones and fell hard. While recovering, she wondered why the Lord hadn’t protected her from the fall, only to realize with clarity that He did. She could have broken her hip, her wrist and her tailbone, the way she landed, and she didn’t break one single bone.
A similar thing happened to me just this last Friday, when I fell while chasing my three-year-old across a parking lot. A car was coming and I was desperate to grab his hand, but instead I ended up face-down on the asphalt. I could have broken my ribs and my shoulder, and my son could have been killed. But instead, the car pulled into a stall just before reaching us, and I’m only suffering soreness and aches rather than casts and breaks.
The Lord cannot keep all bad things from happening to us. It’s contrary to His plan and it would not be for our good. But He will provide ways for us to make it through. He will send comfort. He will ease what burdens He can. He will send loving friends, thoughtful family members, and caring bishops and Relief Society presidents. He will send the gentle touch of the Holy Spirit to whisper to us, and at times, we will hear His voice in our hearts telling us to keep fighting, we’re almost there. He’s with us every step of the way. He does not leave us to battle alone. We may sometimes feel alone, but that is because we have forgotten to call on His name. He shields us. He deflects the arrows and the darts from us. He is always there. He can’t end the battle for us, but He fights on our behalf every minute of every day. Of this, I’m absolutely sure.