Thursday, July 17, 2008


This week a friend of mine, 40 years old with three young children, died from breast cancer that came back as lung cancer. Last weekend, we found out that the mother of a friend of ours has lung cancer. And just this week, we found out that the doctors of a good friend who has been free from breast cancer for 7 years just found a spot on her lungs. She starts chemo very soon.

I don't talk about God a lot on this blog. I fully believe that many of the readers of this blog, even if they believe in God, may have different views about broad or specific details than I do.

But it has been bothering me that a friend is angry at God because (s)he let my friend with the young children die. So this is sort of in response to that comment and also to this horrible outbreak of cancer among my friends.

I don't believe God does that. I know some people do believe that God chooses some people to die from cancer and others to recover. I know that some people believe that God gives some people cancer (or some other tragedy) to "wake them up" and get their attention. I don't believe that's true at all.

People die. That is the only thing we know is this life: everyone will die. We don't know if we'll get married, have children, become homeless, or even find the cure for cancer. All we know is that we will die. Some will die old and others young. Some with young children and some with adult children. Some will die tragically and for some, death will come as a happy relief. But everyone is going to die.

And I'm not saying that some deaths really don't seem fair. I fully agree that for our neighbor, who lost her child at birth, that death was not fair. But I don't think God did that to her or her husband or to that baby.

God doesn't have anything to do with that. That is life. Death is life.

Where God comes in, to me, is in what the people do around the person and his/her family when they die. The comfort, the care, the reassurances, the family, the love they feel from others and the chicken casseroles, that is where God comes in. Or doesn't.

We are very, very sad for our friends. And we want God to show through us and to our friends. And hopefully, some comfort will be given.


Carroll said...

Well-said, Anita. Well said, indeed!

I think, in the end, it's really all about love. Whatever form that takes, and whatever memories it allows us to take with us -- it's all we've got.

Your friends are so very lucky to have you in their lives.

nancy said...

I agree with you, but I totally get being pissed off at God. We buried my sister at the age of 41 leaving 2 young kids; we buried my uncle a few months ago, and my dad yesterday. My other uncle is at Mayo.

Yesterday my SIL's mother went in with what she thought was bronchitis, and found out she has stage IV lung cancer.

Sometimes the anger just needs to be channeled at someone, and sometimes that someone is god. Somehow, I think god understands that too, and gives a break.

I hope so, cuz I have to say, I'm not really speaking to him these days.

Anita said...

When I was in the hospital for my gut surgery, my church came by to visit and I mentioned my anger at God over the miscarriages.

The minister said that it was completely fine; God could take it.

So I certainly don't discourage anger at God. I think it can be healthy.

Anonymous said...

For an interesting take on this subject, read the book called The Shack. It discusses why really bad things sometimes happen to the people who least deserve it.