Songs of Nature

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Why does God let bad things happen?

This question is probably as old as religion itself. It is a stumbling block for some of us, and for many more at given moments of tragedy.

The Journey

Day 1

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry, hold not your peace at my tears.
For I am a sojourner with you, a wayfarer as all my forebears were.
—Psalm 39:13-14

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010Several summers ago some friends and I visited the Grand Canyon. One of our group suggested we get up early to watch the sun rise and then hike to the bottom of the canyon in the cool of the day. According to his calculations we should be back by noon. We thought it a great idea and gathered at the Bright Angel trailhead at five the next morning. The sunrise predictably happened and we all took pictures as though we were witnessing something wondrous and unique. We were in high spirits.

After an hour on the steep, deeply pitted trail, however, we realized that “back by noon” was not even remotely possible. Even that early in the day it was really hot. Soon my knees were screaming, my heart pounding, and regular stops for trail mix and water weren’t helping. After another hour our laughter had ceased; we were each captive to our own private struggle to keep going. “This is turning out to be a lot harder than it looks,” I thought grimly.

Grief is like that hike—a lot more difficult than it looks. Several months after your loss, your heart may ache even more intensely than it did in the beginning. You think you should be better by now, but instead, you are worse. You wonder how long this ordeal is going to last and want nothing more than for it to be over. You wonder if you are losing it.  

This is where faith comes in, even though yours may be shaky and you are finding it hard to trust that God hears you or cares. Faith is putting one foot in front of the other even though you think you can’t possibly take one more step.   

Our little posse didn’t make it to the trail’s end. We turned back at the three-mile marker. By this time the sun was higher and hotter, and we were exhausted. When at last we arrived at the lodge where other friends were waiting, we were presented with souvenir magnets which read, “I hiked, dragged myself, complained, nearly passed out and barely made it out of THE CANYON.” We laughed, but I also found great assurance in those words. This hike is grueling, I realized, not just for me, but for everyone who undertakes it.

Wherever you are today, know that others have traveled this path and have lived through it. You will survive too, no matter how much you hurt today.

O God, help me to keep going and to trust that you are on this journey with me.  Amen.