I often hear people who are suffering through tragedies such as divorce ask, “Why would God allow this to happen?” But my question is, why do people always blame God for what happens to them? Don’t you realize God gave everyone a free will?
You don’t always make good choices. You, me, and everyone else have made some pretty bad decisions in our lives. But God will not force us to choose what is right over what is wrong. That is His gift to us as human beings and you are free to choose what you want in life. Killing, stealing, rudeness, lies, gossip, abandoning your spouse and children, substance abuse… whatever it is, it’s all your choice. So if you are free to choose what you want in life, and you know for a fact that you don’t always choose wisely, it’s safe to say that suffering will be caused as a result of poor choices made. And in the realm of divorce, there are lifetimes of suffering caused by one person’s decision to have an affair and cheat on their spouse, or to allow an addiction to ruin their family or any of the many other reasons why divorce is so rampant in our society. God allows our suffering because He will not take away the gift of our free will.
So it stands to reason that most of what we suffer in life is a direct result of our poor choices, or someone else’s poor choices that affect us. But that doesn’t mean you should adopt a “victim” mentality.
Consider this gentleman’s situation:
I have always been faithful to God and faithful to my wife. I’ve struggled to build my career for my family’s benefit and raised my kids as good Catholics. But when Kathryn left me, I kept wondering—after being true to God and my family—how could God take away my marriage? How could he allow my children to suffer so much? My family was my whole life and now I feel all my dedication and hard work has gone to waste.
I had to believe there was some bigger reason for what was happening. Nothing made sense to me at that point, not even going to work in the morning. I always had blind faith, but when my wife filed for divorce, my world disintegrated around me and I couldn’t buy into that theory anymore. I needed more than that because if I didn’t find a real reason to sustain hope for my future, I saw very little value in continuing to practice my faith at all.
This gentleman, Michael, who spoke those words many years ago, is a very happy, pleasant, and productive person today, but probably not for the reasons you think. He didn’t run out and find another woman to replace his wife. He struggled mightily for a very long time with the anguish of watching another man become his children’s live-in dad, as he did the best he could to parent them from afar. He sold the home he raised his family in to strangers and opted instead for a small apartment so he could afford the legal bills, child support, etc. He’s suffered tremendously because of other “good Catholics” who have tried to block him from serving in his own parish because he is divorced. So, how is it this man is as happy as he is?
Because he made the best decision he’s ever made… he chose to rely solely on God to get him through that difficult time. He didn’t blame God, he trusted Him implicitly and carried his heavy cross with love and humility.
Romans 8:28 tells us: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to his purpose.
God may not force you to choose what is right and He may not step in and block your way when you’re about to do something terrible, but He will take the aftermath of your divorce and use it for your good. So don’t let your divorce turn you into a victim. Don’t play that blame game. Embrace your cross and let it change you.
There comes a time in your life when you have to take a step out in faith and really believe that God has a plan for your life. This may seem contradictory to your current situation, but remember, things are not always what they seem. You are in the thick of the situation. Your emotions might overwhelm you, but God knows your pain! He knows what you are going through, He is very aware of what is happening in your life, and He is trying to help you learn and grow through these circumstances.
I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter at @lisaduffy.