Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where is God?

In January 2007 Bryan and I took a senior seminar class together entitled "Where is God in the face of evil?". After this past year, I cannot help but ask myself that question everyday.

Where is God... is he even real?

Why did he do this to me... to Owen... to Bryan?

Where is he now... does he even care?

I have always been a "faith filled" person. Although I do not go to church every Sunday and I don't pray every night before I go to bed... I have faith... or at least I did.

Lately, I have been filled with questions and doubts. I don't understand what I did wrong during my lifetime to deserve this kind of pain... this great suffering. I had everything that I wanted and lost it all in a matter of seconds. If we would have left for SD one day earlier... if we would have never moved home... if he would have had his back turned to the accident... if he would have called in sick.... HE WOULD BE HERE TODAY... but then someone else would be dead. Bryan died that day, saving someones life. He died a hero, doing what he did best in life, helping someone else... shouldn't that take away some of my pain? Make me feel a little better? Make me feel more at peace?

Even though I know that Bryan died saving someone else, it still does not ease my pain... the pain of loosing my soul mate... or the pain that my son will feel when he grows up without his father.

Sometimes, when I ask "why?", I wonder if God needed Bryan. Maybe his job here on Earth was done and he was needed for something greater in Heaven. I wonder if Bryan hadn't died that day saving someones life if he would have been taken from me in another way. Maybe it was his time to go... and there was nothing that any of us could have done to keep him here. When I think about it that way... that there was nothing I could have done to keep him alive... it seems to help a little bit. It makes me feel like it was less my fault and more something that I couldn't have controlled.

We never did come to a conclusion in our senior seminar class. How do you answer where God is when millions of people suffer... when starving children go without food... when someone is taken way before their time?

I am trying to find my way back to God... back to the faith that I once had. I know that it will take some time for my anger to ware off and for me to forgive God... but I know that I will at some point. I guess that the best answer I can come up with... the one that helps me out the most, is that although I don't know exactly where God is when evil things occur... I think that he is grieving along side me... that he is suffering too.

"Where were you"

I wish you would have been there.
You could have saved his life.
Instead you left me all alone,
a widower for life.

I never disobeyed you.
I always did things right.
And yet you still ignored me
And took away his life.

You left me all alone.
Alone to raise our son.
You took away my husband.
The one thing that I loved.

Where were you when I cried for help?
How could you let us down?
You teased me with a perfect life.
Then left me face first in the ground.

Some days I really hate you.
Resent your holy name.
But then I thank my lucky stars
You let me take his name.

Although he had to leave us
to join you at your throne.
I am grateful that you gave me
nine years with him alone.


  1. I know this isn't probably what you want to hear, but God wouldn't give you, me or anyone else more than you,I or they could handle. You will get through this. That doesn't mean it will be easy, but at the end of the road you will come out a stronger person and Owen will be proud of you!

  2. Please contact the local churches and see if any have grief counseling groups. You are grieving and have many questions. You need to find answers to those questions. Although we don't understand these horrible times, God is here and hasn't forgotten you. Although you are angry (as most of us would be)God hasn't forsaken you. You do need someone that can help you walk though this path of pain, sorrow and grief. Doing this will also help prepare you to guide your son's questions as he grows older.

  3. OK Anonymous! I don't think you know Ashley or our family! There are days when we do feel that God has forgotten us and we are not sure if he is listening to our questions. But, believe me, we all have questions! Being Bryan's mother, I have many and I am one of the most faithful of God's people! Don't pretend to help Ashley or her son! You can't possibly understand these horrible times! Ashley's family and many others are walking through this journey with her! We are extremely proud of the way she is handling her grief and she is doing a fine job guiding their son!
    Back off! You messed with the wrong mom!

  4. Dear Anonymous. It is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about. Grief is not about platitudes. Part of grief work is questioning. We deepen our understanding though experience and discovery, not by having someone at a church tell us what they think the answers are.

    The most important thing in grief work is providing a safe place, not a judgmental one. Your comments are one of the reasons people are leaving churches.

  5. We live in a world of suffering and loss. Death is a reality, and none of us get out of this life alive.

    Looking at the story of Job in the Bible is very helpful to understanding how we can be in relationship to God even in the midst of loss.

    Job was one of the most faithful lovers of God. Yet he was afflicted with the loss of his family, his wealth and his health. His friends, with all good intention, questioned whether his faith was enough. They wondered if there was some way in which Job sinned in order to justify all the ill fortune that had befallen him. Throughout the story, God maintains that Job is a righteous and faithful man.

    Job and his friends question God. God’s response is not to answer them immediately. Rather, God’s response comes after much anger, denial, confusion and sadness. Some of it is expressed by Job and much of it is expressed by his well-meaning friends. In the end, God simply recounts the amazing aspects of the universe and asks Job to simply trust and hope. Accepting the new reality, Job goes on to experience an even greater reward for his faithfulness.

    The work of psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who outlined a cycle of emotions around the experience of loss, continues to be helpful in the presence of suffering. She suggests that it is important for people to experience denial, anger, bargaining and depression before accepting the current situation. Some of this anger and bargaining is with God. It is not just OK to question God — it is important to question in order to get a full sense of what is happening and be able to make space in our hearts for trust and acceptance sometime in the future.

    In the midst of suffering, trusting and hoping in God can be very difficult if we have not allowed ourselves the real anger, denial and sadness that often accompany the inevitable experiences of loss.

    Suffering puts faith to test

    The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

    At a memorial service for a friend who died too soon, I said: “We did not want to be here today. Didn’t want this day to come. Still wishing, we are, that your lanky frame would come through that door, that twinkle in your eye, that spirit in your stride.

    “Why, God, Why? There are no answers to our plea, at least none that satisfy. There is beauty and joy and love in this life, and there is heartache and tragedy and loss. And there is no telling why, no celestial ref who keeps it all fair.”

    Truth is, from public ceremonies like this to the most lonely moments of our lives, we humans have cried out, “Why, God. Why?”

    Finding no justification for the calamities that befell him, Job picked a bone with his creator. “Why didst thou bring me forth from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me” (Job 10:18).

    When the prophet Jeremiah’s popularity tanked, he, too, complained to his boss, “Wilt thou be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?” (Jeremiah 15:18).

    For Christians, one of the most challenging texts in all the Bible is the one where Jesus cries out from the cross, “Why has thou forsaken me?”

    Six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, nearly 3,000 were killed on Sept. 11, a parent loses a child, a freak accident claims a life, and we are cut to the bone by faith’s most vexing question: How can one believe in a good God in the face of such suffering?

    In part, the clue to answering that question is found is pondering another: “Where was God?” God was in the midst of nightmare, collecting every tear, resonating with every fear stricken heart.

    Our questioning God, more often than not, arises not out of nothing, but rather a conviction, a hope, an assumption that God exists to be railed against. God is what makes possible our protest possible.

    We don’t know why God could not have arranged for my friend not to have to die his early death. What I do know down to my toes is that I am drawn to the very God who perplexes and maddens. God simply won’t let me go. By all means, question God.

  6. Hey Anonymous!
    This is Ashley's blog, not yours! We don't need you to tell us that this world is full of suffering and loss. You can't assume what our relationship or questions are with God! That relationship is personal and quite frankly I don't care what your feelings are about God! Apparently you have a lot to say, but this isn't the place to do it. If you truly think you were a friend of Bryan's, I want to know who you are.
    " I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

  7. Annoymous- You know that old fashioned saying that everyone has heard:

    "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all".

    Your preaching isn't appreciated rather it's insulting to peope other than Ashley and her family. It also confirms your a jerk.

    Have a great day.

    Kati Casey

  8. Ashley, your poem is just beautiful. I love what it says - thanks for sharing

  9. I apologize to those who were hurt and especially to Ashley if my words in the first post were hurtful (I didn't make the second post)and would ask for your forgiveness. The response was not meant to imply anything hurtful towards Ashley, her family or friends. She posted a heartfelt message that says "I am trying to find my way back to God... back to the faith that I once had. I know that it will take some time for my anger to ware off and for me to forgive God... ". Simply put, that struck a very tender nerve for me. As someone who is on a very similar path, I simply wanted to her to know that she hasn't been forsaken.

    This also wasn't meant to imply that she doesn't have wonderful support system - obviously she does.

    Going forward I will consider that this is a private blog and not give anyone further reason to be upset. I only wish the best for everyone who is sharing her loss.


  10. Shelly... I was not upset at all with your post. I appreciate your suggestions and advice.