“Everything happens for a reason.” “God put this experience in your life to make you stronger.” It feels good to say that our chaotic world has some form of order, but these succinct phrases lose their luster when one confronts pain. It’s confusing to be presented with a world that is saturated with difficulties, alongside a God of boundless love. This does not make sense.
I got the chance to go skiing about a month ago. Painful stories of people hitting trees, breaking legs, and having horrible concussions made me seek to avoid such pain by not only skiing cautiously, but also by wearing a helmet. I am a university student. As a student, my brain is my everything. The four days of skiing were a blast! My helmet kept my head in pristine condition, but in the last two hours of skiing, I fractured my hand. It fractured because a crucial ligament had detached from one of my thumb joints. The fracture turned out to only be a trivial chip off my bone, but what had happened to the ligament blew my thumb up like balloon, and my hand was officially useless.
Returning to school with one functional hand meant many painful changes. I found that I could no longer take notes in class as I had injured my dominant, right hand. I could not type, it was super difficult to put on clothes, and I could not even drive my own car because it was a stick. My independence was shattered.
“God put this experience in your life to make you stronger.” No. God did not do this to me. That is a picture of an abusive father. But I’ll tell you what He did do. He kneeled in the snow beside me as I stared at my injured hand. I had no idea how different my life would be in the time that would follow, but He did. My Heavenly Father guided the doctor’s hands as he surgically repaired my thumb; He cried on the couch with me as my swollen hand throbbed uselessly by my side the next day; in fact, He stands right next to me as I clumsily type these words. He did not do this to me. “...God himself does not tempt anyone” James 1:13. God does not put bad in my life but He joins me in turning it to good. My difficult recovery has given me an understanding and wisdom that will benefit my patients for years to come, and provided me an education I could not have gained in any classroom.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” Isaiah 41:10. This experience has been discouraging, but as my right hand has been weak, His has been strong. The right this world and I have to freedom of choice did not permit Him to intervene and dictatorially prevent me from experiencing this, but through all of this He never left my side. In this world I will have trials, yet I shall not be discouraged. Every difficult step, my Father will be with me to not only support me, but someday will take me home where there will be no more crying and where every hand is strong.
Kilory Weis is a Pre-Occupational Therapy student with seven years of summer camp experience and currently resides in Keene, Texas.