I Have Witnessed Too Much Bad to Believe in God

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend who expressed that he has seen too much bad happen in the world for him to be able to come back to Jesus. Now I am not sure that what he was meaning to say was that he can’t come back to the idea of Jesus or the existence of God, or that he doesn’t want a relationship with Jesus anymore. Either way it was hard for me to keep quiet about my thoughts on the issue, but I could tell by his body language that he wasn’t open for a deep discussion on the subject.

Naturally I chose to write about it, because that’s what I do.

When we witness or experience bad things happening in our world, or in our lives, we tend to get angry with God, or become unbelieving. “Why would he cause this to happen?” “Why would he allow this to happen?” Or even, “If there really was a God he wouldn’t let all of this happen.”

Maybe you have decided that there is no higher power. If you have come to a place of unbelief, I would ask that you consider this: If there is evidence of evil forces in our world then why wouldn’t there be good at work also? Wouldn’t all of us have a spirit of evil if only evil is at work? Maybe you think that there are neither good nor evil forces, just good and bad people, but have you ever heard about or witnessed something horrible that made you think “How could anyone ever do that?” “I don’t understand how someone could do that to another human being, or to a child?” It is my belief that people who commit horrendous acts do not make the decision to do those things by themselves. I belief that they have been tempted and coerced by evil forces, sometimes by possession but not always.

Maybe witnessing all of the bad in the world has caused you to lose faith in God. Sometimes in the midst of pain, suffering, and fear we forget that bad is the result of evil forces manipulating our free will. We also tend to fix our eyes on the bad and fail to see that God is working. When God is working it is not always in the way that we want it to happen, but we as a human race have proven that we don’t always know what the best way is.

I would also like you to consider how every person’s free will plays a role in the bad in our world. Every single day we are faced with opportunities to make good or bad decisions; most of the time these are small, seemingly inconsequential decisions, and sometimes they are big decisions. Most of us like to think that the decisions we make don’t have an affect on others, but we are wrong. Every single decision that you make has a ripple effect, and it is either a good or bad ripple effect.

Chances are that you have never trafficked another human being for sex, but have you view pornography? Even just once? Did you know that the viewing of pornography directly fuels sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children? (Don’t believe me? Get more info at www.fightthenewdrug.org)

Would you ever kill a good person causing this person’s children so much pain at the loss of their parent that they turn to drugs or even suicide? No? Well have you ever driven drunk, or buzzed, or high?

Obviously there are a lot of different scenarios that we could play out. Maybe you think I am being a little extreme and your bad choices don’t affect people like the ones I have written about, but every decision has a lasting ripple effect.

God does not cause nor does he want bad things to happen to us or others. He has given us free will in order to choose whether or not to have a relationship with him, but this free will also creates opportunities to make bad decisions. Whether or not we realize it God is working, and so is evil. So instead of getting angry at God when bad things happen, let’s get angry at the evil forces who are constantly working to use our free will against us.

My Story

It was week 2 of Rooted, a bible study/life group that I was taking at my church with a group of 14 other people. The group leader tells us all that over the next 9 weeks we will each be sharing with the group our story of our journey with God.
Queue the anxiety. I HATE public speaking, especially when I have to talk about myself. My heart starts racing, my face turns completely red, my hands get sweaty, and I start shaking uncontrollably. This was going to be a nightmare.
I managed to get all the way until the last week before I had to share my story. I chose to write my story out to read to the group, so that I wouldn’t miss any important parts while I was having a panic attack. As I allowed myself to start thinking about my past and my journey with God I started to feel like something within me was loosening. I was finally allowing myself to think about a lot of things that I had tried to forget about, and it felt liberating. Naturally when it was time for me to share my story the anxiety kicked in and I was shaking through the entire thing, but when it was over I felt amazing. Putting my story on paper and actually sharing it with others, surprisingly, felt incredible. As if speaking it out was actually healing me, and at the same time revealing to me how God has never left me.
So why choose to share my story with you all? Why be painfully open and honest about my past with the world? I believe we were never meant to suffer through our struggles alone, and I am certain I am not the only one with a story like mine.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
So here’s my story.
When I was very young my parents took my sisters and I to a non-denominational Christian church for a few years, and that is what planted the seed for my relationship with God. My parents were never consistent in going to church, and eventually we stopped going all together. Throughout my childhood there was constant fighting in our house between my parents, my siblings and me, and I would pray a lot through the hardest times. From 8th grade to sophomore year I went to a youth group with my cousin, and attended church camp 2 years in a row. During my second year at camp I experienced God’s presence during worship one night. A few months later my cousin and I baptized each other in a lake during a family camping trip when no one was around. Both times that I came home from church camp I was on a spiritual high, feeling like I could take on anything, but my home life would always end up bringing me down. During my junior year in high school I was doing great in school, and also going to church and to a Young Life group with friends. Though I was doing so good, my sisters had started their rebellious phase, so my parents tightened the reins on me and treated me as if I was always about to do something wrong. When my senior year came along I had had enough of being treated like that, so I let my grades go, started skipping classes, and started smoking and drinking. Shortly after I graduated high school, I stayed the night at my boyfriend’s house, only to come home the next morning and find all of my belongings on my parent’s front porch. So I moved in with my boyfriend and some roommates, where I drank every day and partied every weekend.
On two different occasions I experienced God trying to pull me out of that lifestyle. The first was during a party at my house; a friend of mine who drank with us very often randomly came up to me and just said “You know you don’t belong here.” The second time was when I had drank so much that I couldn’t function properly, so I went and laid in my bathtub. I broke down crying because I didn’t want to keep living that lifestyle, and as I was laying there I heard a voice in my head say “Get up Michelle. You don’t belong here.”
Not long after those experiences I met and started dating the man who is my husband today. Soon after we started dating, I went back to church, got baptized again, and read through 46 of the 66 books of the Bible in about a year’s times. Regardless, I still struggled with completely committing to living my life for God. Over time I ended up getting back to a place where I wasn’t making time for God anymore. We got married and had our first child, and the stresses of being a stay at home mother and wife weighed on me, and I quickly started developing anxiety which got progressively worse with time. After about 6 months of suffering through the anxiety, a friend recommended the book “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer, and that is when I realized that I was under attack spiritually. I had allowed the enemy to creep in to my life, and he was bent on destroying it, so I started making time for prayer again, and found a church close to our home. It has taken effort to make God a part of my everyday life again, but the enemy is losing his control over me. I have made a commitment to be in church every Sunday, and have started building relationships that are healing and uplifting.
My hope in sharing my story is that it may be an encouragement to even just one person struggling.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:5