What About the Norm? (When Things Go Wrong – Part One)


Then Louise’s mind changed gears. She thought of her parents and little sister. Are they in danger? She teetered on the verge of concern then decided otherwise. They’re the ones who should be worried. Do they even know that someone took me hostage? They should have been there for me. A knot formed at the back of her throat. Tears of hostility burned her eyes. Their God… Just when her heartbeat had begun to slow, it pulsed faster again – this time with anger. Their God should have been there for me.

-Excerpt from Isolated, subject to change in final revisions


Louise is the young protagonist in my novella, Isolated. Though she wouldn’t admit them to others, she has some strong ideas about this God, the God of her parents and sister, the God of the Bible.

She herself doesn’t love Him, serve Him or even believe in Him. But assuming an all-loving God truly did exist, shouldn’t He have protected her from her kidnappers? If an all-powerful God really did oversee the affairs of the world, shouldn’t He have intervened? If this God truly was concerned with justice and capable of executing it, why didn’t He?

0108-what-about-the-norm-when-things-go-wrong-part-one

The questions we all ask

You may not deny the existence of a loving, powerful and just God (or maybe you do). Either way, these are questions we all tend to ask, myself included. As far as I’m aware, no one is immune. All it takes is for one thing to go wrong.

One backfire.

One curveball.

One trial.

My challenge to all of us today, and I want to include myself, is to consider that those are the exception rather than the rule. We obsess over the instances when something goes wrong and we neglect every minute that they progress smoothly.

We neglect the rest He gives us at the end of the day.

We neglect the food He puts on our tables.

We neglect the breath with which He fills our lungs.

Or, if we don’t altogether neglect them, we are at least quick to let the normality of these things translate to “we deserve them. That’s why they’re a given.”

If we blame God for the times He doesn’t hold things together the way we think they ought to be held, do we also thank Him for the times He does sustain their smooth progression according to our ideas? Do we even acknowledge His hand in it?

We can’t accredit God for the bad and not for the good.

Let’s discuss it.

  • What curveball in life has caused you to question God’s love, power, justice, and/or other attributes?
  • Are these questions inherently wrong? How would you answer them?
  • What good things in life have become normal to the point where you feel like it just ought to be that way? Perhaps you might make a list of them.
  • If you do believe God is the source of these everyday gifts, do you acknowledge it both to yourself and to others? Do you live as though you’re a believer or might your words as well be the response of an atheist?
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3 thoughts on “What About the Norm? (When Things Go Wrong – Part One)

  1. Oh, I definitely take things for granted when I should be more thankful for them. But one of the things I love most about God is that whenever we ask “Why did He do this to me?”…there’s always an answer. There’s always a reason for the things that happen, and I think that’s amazing. Even when things seem to be going so wrong, there’s a reason He does it, and it turns out right in the end.

    So I don’t think it’s wrong to ask those questions of “why” because by asking why, we can find the reasons that things happen and the great plan that God has in store for us. That’s not to say that they can be answered right away, because usually it’s only later that you find out why, but finding reasons why God does what He does helps me to trust Him in hard times when I don’t currently understand why they’re happening.

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    1. Good point. Yes, I would agree that God does things for a reason, even if that reason is to cause us to humble ourselves before Him as we admit our human limitations and ask for answers. Even if that reason is to inspire awe in us by showcasing His glory in that He is supreme and all-wise, fully justified in all He does. God may also have practical reasons in the physical world for allowing us to battle serious illness or for allowing a mass shooting. And when He does, may He be praised. But I think that often we overlook the spiritual implications and the work that He wants to do in our hearts and souls.

      I think that asking God “why” can go either way with regards to whether it’s right or wrong. I think of the births foretellings of John the Baptist’s birth, and of Jesus. Though the situation isn’t exactly parallel, I think we can learn something from the spirit of the text. We’re talking about asking God “why”, in the cases I mentioned, both Zechariah the father-to-be of John and Mary, Jesus’ mother-to-be asked, “how?”. Zechariah was given no direct answer and was made to be mute until John was born, whereas Mary’s question was honored and answered and she received no apparent consequences for asking. What would you say the difference is? And do you think these real-life examples speak to the situation of us asking, “why?” I think that the difference with Mary and Zechariah had to do with the heart behind the question. Likewise, I think it’s possible for us today to ask, “why” and for it to be either wrong or right. What do you think, Lana?

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      1. Oh yes, and that’s shown many times in the Bible when he rebukes the children of Israel because they’re being unrighteous.

        I agree with you about it having to do with the heart behind the question. I think Mary believed and just wanted clarification, whereas Zechariah kind of doubted everything. And yes, like you said, we can also say “why” doubting, or “why” faithfully, and it makes a big difference!

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