Tuesday, July 29, 2014

If "God is good all the time", then God is really lousy

A friend keeps posting on her Facebook page:

God is good all the time... all the time God is Good! 

It makes me cringe. She posts it when something good has happened to her, when something has gone her way.

So, let me get this straight: God is good all the time... even as he:

  • allows fathers to molest their daughters, 
  • allows priests to molest children in their care, 
  • allows parents to mutilate their children's genitals in the name of culture,
  • allows children to harm their own parents and grandparents
  • allows people, including children, to be killed by floods, falling trees, tornados and other natural occurrences, 
  • allows children to contract the most horrible, painful diseases 

And on and on and on.

Because... those are good things? Because he's good, but has no control over these horrors? Because there's some whacked out reason to allow these horrors but he's not going to tell you what - you just have to trust it?

Can you imagine how reading God is good all the time... all the time God is Good! feels to her Facebook friends who are going through hell right now, who have lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes, who are experiencing severe pain because of illness, who have been left by a spouse, who are struggling with a child, etc.? I try to be positive on this blog, more than negative, but this statement is so incredibly hurtful to so many people.

If you are struggling with difficult times, here's my advice:

  • Think of everything about this situation that is under your control, and what isn't. Focus as much as possible about what IS under your control, on what choices and actions you can make regarding this situation - maybe not to solve it, but to survive it, even just minute-to-minute, day-to-day. 
  • Call your local mental health department - your county's health department should be able to help. Ask how they can help you connect with a counselor and/or self-help group that can help you in your situation. Self-help / support groups are free. Many therapists will give you a discount if your health insurance doesn't cover therapy and your situation is particularly dire. 
  • Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any physical pain or severe depression. 
  • Walk every day, no matter what the weather, no matter how you look and feel. Even if it's only for 10 minutes, you need to walk EVERY day. 
  • Go to the library and look for books about your particular situation - nonfiction and fiction. Reading how other people have handled the situation can really help. 
  • Don't give up. If you are feeling like harming yourself is a good idea, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Unfollow people on Facebook that are bringing you down with their posts. They will not know that you have unfollowed them, and you can always look at their pages if you need to catch up on what's going on, but unfollowing gets their posts out of your newsfeed. 
  • Follow organizations on Facebook that lift you up: national parks, state parks, nonprofits doing great work, singers, actors, other artists, etc. 
  • Follow The Greater Good Science Center on Facebook, and read what they post, including books they might recommend. 
  • Remember this is an ongoing process. It can take years to get through something, but people do. They don't just survive - they thrive. You can too.