Coming Face-to-face with “Why?”


“Why do you think God let that happen to you?”

I’ve asked myself that question before, but when my friend asked me across a cup of coffee today, I wasn’t quite ready to put my answer into spoken words. I stared out the window at the rain pouring down on Hawthorne Boulevard and tried to pull my thousand jumbled thoughts together.

We’ve talked about my abuse here before. It’s not a new topic. And, in fact, we’ve discussed this question, phrased differently, before. But each time we discuss it, I’m able to get a slightly different perspective of God, and I’m able to understand Him better, and trust Him more deeply. So, I decided that since this came up today, it’s a perfect time to revisit it.

Today, when I finally reined my thoughts in and shared them with my friend, it came out something like this:

We say, “Why did God LET that happen?” But the truth is, God never wanted that abuse to be enacted upon me. He gave my abusers free will, and they chose to enact those behaviors on me. God didn’t want it to happen to me, but He stayed with me while it did. Because He was with me, I survived it. And because He’s still with me, now He takes those bad things that have happened to me and turns them into something good. I can comfort others. I can help them to process what they’ve been through. I can give them hope.

We say, “Why did God let that happen?” But if we ask that question, we also have to ask why He lets the good stuff happen. I could ask why I lost my job—with no warning—three weeks ago. But if I do, I also have to question why God blessed me with a new job to replace that one already. (I mean, seriously, in this market? Finding a new job within three weeks? That’s the work of God, y’all!)

What it all comes down to is that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. None of us are going to have perfect lives. But is God with us when the bad things happen? Is He helping me through them? Is He planning something good to come out of it? And the real bottom line, as Andy Stanley asks, “Will I trust that God has my best interest in mind?”

I may not understand why life looks the way it looks. I may not understand why things happen as they do, or what their outcome will be. But I trust that though I don’t understand it, He’s never going to abandon me in the middle of it.

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 MSG

This post is part of our weekly book discussion on Andy Stanley’s book, “The Grace of God.” You don’t have to read the book to discuss. Feel free to leave your comments below. If you have written a response to this week’s chapter, please drop by my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s place, to link it up at the widget. 

About Sarah Salter


  1. We don’t understand so many times that God is with us in those darkest of moments when someone else has hurt, diminished, or abused us as they act out of their own pain, rejection, abuses, or whatever else. He’s there and He weeps with us. At the same moment, He is setting things in motion to work it all for redemptive purposes. All is grace… I just can’t get away from that. Thanks Sarah. Good stuff here.

  2. There are so many very hard questions about the very real pain and loss that is part of life on this world.

    You reminded me that it’s been awhile since i visited the shops on hawthorne. Pastaworks and powell’s bookstore etc… will wait for a warmer and drier day.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, All is grace. And that’s a reminder I’m finding that I need EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Nance, I thought about going to Powell’s yesterday when I left Peet’s Coffee & Tea. But my budget’s a bit too tight. 🙂

  5. As I read your post, I was reminded of something I wrote a while back:

    “If God has never forsaken those who seek Him, why did/does these things happen? That is where our minds go. In going there though, we have misaligned our focus. We have allowed the temporary to derail our view of the eternal. And it is so easy to do at times.

    But to know God intimately, is to know that this world and this moment are just a passing thing. To know Him intimately is to recognize, He has prepared for us a perfect place far greater than anything we could experience here – a home in heaven with Him.”

  6. I wasn’t able to post on this chapter, but the timing of it is apt with what happened in OK with the tornado’s….so many are asking WHY?
    As I listen to news accounts and people trying to rationalize it, it saddens me to think some people are going through such a hard time without God and some have a wrong view of God.

    Thanks for sharing, this post. Really enjoyed reading this chapter.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Good word, Dusty!!

  8. Not sure what happened, but my comment last week didn’t go through- I’m sorry.
    Thank you for sharing this personal information. Our testimonies high light God’s grace in our lives…even in our worst pain.
    I can’t remember what all I wrote originally. But Good post. Glad I came back to read it again!

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