Growing up I had a friend named Robert. Robert was always on the short end of life. It seemed like no matter how or what, Robert ended up losing. His mother passed away when Robert was in the sixth grade, his sister ran away from home the next year. Robert was intelligent, got good grades at school and (in return) was bullied every day. He ended up dying of cancer alone in his apartment. At his funeral only I, his sister and two co-workers attended. He was a good man and a good friend.
A question has always nagged me about Robert, “How can such bad things keep happening to a good person?” He never harmed anyone, never had a bad word to say about anyone and never broke a single rule. He was so quiet that if you were sitting with him, you could hear an ant crawl across the floor. Yet if something bad were to happen, you could count on it happening to Robert. I’ve never seen such a thing.
Some people would say all the things that happened to Robert were a result of evil at work. Others say that’s just the way things go, some people are just unlucky. Still others say he must have done something wrong, so God was punishing him for it. I don’t believe in any of these answers. I believe God loves Robert and felt terrible about everything that went wrong. I don’t believe in a God that continually punishes a person for an infraction of any sort. I also don’t believe that anyone is that unlucky. So this leaves me with evil – but even evil doesn’t account for everything. It just raises more questions, “Why him, and more to the point, why him constantly? What’s the purpose of it, what’s there to gain?”
So I guess the bottom line is I don’t have an answer, just more questions. I still struggle with the mystery of it all – probably just like you. And that’s just one more reason we’re church together.
This blog consists of reflections written by the minister each week for the Sunday bulletin. We hope that you enjoy the musings!