“Hey Corporal Freeman, do you believe in God, angels, demons and all that religious crap?” Standing outside of our Humvees, waiting for our convoy leader to brief us, I nodded my head. “Yeah troop, I believe in God.” Smirking, the soldier walks over to where I am. “Then why didn’t God protect that girl we saved from being raped? Why didn’t he protect her from her father?” Shrugging in my body armor, I tried to get comfortable with the 90 pounds of gear that I was carrying. “Man, I don’t know. We are strangers here in this place. This isn’t our customs. Perhaps, God needed company….who knows the mind of the Almighty?”
This question continues to haunt me. Why do bad things happen to good people? Some would say that it is a vicious cycle called life. That when something good happens, ten things must go wrong. Others would say that God is nonexistent. That my faith in God is a shallow expression of my own inadequacies. Standing in the extreme heat of that day, an entire group of soldiers waited for my response to the questions posed to me, I failed to answer his questions. However, I have a response now. If I had to do it again, this is what I would say: “Having faith in God does not mean that we will not suffer trials and tribulations. Faith does not mean that everything will go right in our lives. If I die today and there is no God waiting to judge me, then I have lost nothing by believing in God. My life has been enriched by believing that someone was looking out for me. If you die today and God is waiting to judge you, then you have lost everything. When Jesus was beaten for our transgressions, and then carried his cross to His crucifixion, he suffered for us. Is it not right that we suffer misfortunes to prove our faith in Him?”
To this day, I can’t recall that soldier’s name. I can recall the heat, the smell of the yellow sand, and the knee-deep sewage however, his name eludes me. The horrors of war will never fade in my mind. The questions that he posed to me has troubled me for years. I hope that he found the answer that he was looking for. War makes an individual question their humanity, and at its absolute worst, it makes one question the righteousness of God. What happened to the girl mentioned above? Her father didn’t rape her. He killed her for embarrassing her family. She was beheaded to restore honor to her family’s name.
Yes, there has been horrible atrocities committed in the name of God. To name a couple there were the Crusades and the Inquisitions. Both events happened a long time ago, and somehow the attitude that is associated with these religious undertakings are prevalent in our society today. However, just because bad things happen, this does not diminish the goodness of God. Nor does it mean that God is powerless to intervene and keep events like this from happening. A knight in shining armor has never had his mettle tested. The same holds true for Christians. You can’t appreciate the mountaintop if you have never experienced the valley. In the book of Hebrews, the Scripture reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” Another Scripture states that we walk by faith and not by sight. We may not understand why horrible atrocities occur, but one day God will reveal all to us. Until then, I will keep faith in a better tomorrow.