Just over three years ago, I got the news, six-year-old Jacob Hall passed away. Jacob was shot by a fourteen-year-old boy on Wednesday, September 28th, at Townville Elementary School. Townville is only 45 miles from where I live. Too close to home in more than a few ways.
I was heartbroken.
I prayed for that family. I prayed for that mother. I prayed God would please save him the way he saved my son Isaiah, so his Mom could tell the story of his miraculous healing.
I can only pray now the mother of the shooter will one day be able to tell her own miraculous story of a different kind of healing and redemption.
Why do these things happen? Why does God allow them to happen? I think tears are streaming down my heart. Six years is all they got.
These are the times we ask why God allows bad things to happen to good people. The only way I can wrap my head around this is to remember, evil roams this earth.
I Peter 5:8 says “Stay alert Watch out for you great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Events of this magnitude often cause people to lose their religion . . . and sometimes to find it. Even in this kind of situation, I know God can be glorified. He didn’t make this happen. He allowed it to happen.
The tough thing to accept is that He has gifted each of us with free will. It is a gift, and it is a curse. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have it. Sometimes I wish I was a beautifully perfect robot who did everything right. The kind who always makes good choices. The kind who doesn’t have to suffer consequences because I never do the wrong thing. Nothing bad would ever happen because I always made just the right choice.
If that were the case, what would be the point of existing? If everything was perfect, our highs wouldn’t really be highs, because we wouldn’t know the difference without having experienced the lows.
So with that perspective, I accept my free will.
With that perspective, I must accept the free will of others.
With that perspective, I must accept, bad things happen to good people.
It’s nothing God ever intended for His children . . . but truly, He loved us enough to give us free will.
Free will to love Him. Free will to reject Him. Free will to birth life. Free will to take it away.
So what do we do with all the excrement we are left with on this earth? We use it to fertilize the garden we choose to grow. If we sow love, peace, and forgiveness, we will reap the same. We work harder to love, even when it is just plain hard.
We use our free will to choose peace over strife. Forgiveness over condemnation. Love over hate.
We have a choice.
My heart breaks especially for the one I identify most with . . . Jacob Hall’s mother. I pray she can feel God’s loving arms wrapped around her as she will continue to mourn the loss of her baby boy. Dear God, he was just a baby.
I pray one day, she can see what Satan intended for evil, God will use for good.
I struggle with feelings of . . . not so much guilt, but the question of why my son, my baby, was allowed to live, and Jacob wasn’t. Why so many other mother’s sons die, but mine didn’t. I can only look to my faith.
I believe God allows bad things to happen because, from His vantage point, He sees things we never will.
I choose to believe good things can come from even one life lived and lost.
Tragedy often draws our attention to matters we would not have seen otherwise. Important changes are made when we are forced to sit up and recognize a problem we would not have known existed.
I know through my family’s struggles, lives have been changed. I never would have asked for this, but I am truly thankful, the one life of my son. The now difficult life of my son has made a difference.
A friend of mine recently told me, although she does not share my belief system, she is glad I find comfort in it.
The truth is, it is not just comfort I find in it.
I find peace.
I find joy.
I find hope.
I can’t think of anything we need more today.
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:2-5 NLT)
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Christina A. Custodio is a teacher, writer, photographer, and whatever she is called to be on any given day. On September 8, 2015, her son Isaiah’s near-death experience changed the trajectory of her life. Living in a hospital room with him for forty-four days, she chronicled each day’s heart wrenching, faith-filled, and victorious moments, which became the launchpad for her ministry. Learn more at ChristinaCustodio.com
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