The Terror of Randomness

Continuing my blogging series from Jerry Sittser’s book “a Grace Disguised” here on my thoughts on Chapter 8 ‘The Terror of Randomness.

In this chapter Sittser describes what thoughts can race through your mind about why things happen when they do. Why did his family have to  be destroyed by this accident? If they had just left a little later or a little earlier it wouldn’t have happened. So many things occur on a second by second basis “orderliness” of how the world works that we just don’t give this type of thought any credence.

For me, I look at things differently since my daughter died. Her situation wasn’t random, however there are moments when I think had I done things differently or had I been more attentive – maybe she wouldn’t have had that seizure. The seizure that turned the world as I knew it upside down.

Sittser writes: “loss makes the universe seem like a cold and unfriendly place, as if it were little more than trillions of atoms colliding together with no predictability, no design, and no reason to it. Life just happens, whether good or bad.” I’m not so sure I agree with him here on this theory because for me I still believe things happen for a reason. Those reasons we do not know. But I do believe that we are here for a reason and we leave for a reason.

I know sometimes, even today I question God’s hand in all of the pain and suffering that happens in the world. The randomness of the violence that occurs every second. You see it on the news every day. It’s horrifying what happens to human beings daily in this world. Why? One could make themselves crazy asking that question. I do believe there is a randomness to what goes on in the world – and I also believe God allows it. I’m not sure why or the rationale behind it. But I believe God hurts and cries out when his people are hurting.

My daughter’s death, my mother’s death, my grandmother’s death and I could go on, has made me question on more than one occasion God’s existence. Or if he cared for me. Because in the common sense of it all I find it hard to believe he does exist or that he loves me. But it is my FAITH that sustains my belief that although I have had a rough life and some very bad things happen, he is here and he cares. That is the true test of my faith.

Finally Sittser speaks of hope. This is where I get real serious. I live in the very hope that I WILL see my daughter again in Heaven. I will see my entire family in Heaven when it is my time to leave this world. My terror of living the randomness of what has occurred in my life is quieted by the HOPE that I have in God and in my seeing my beloved family again. That is how I make it each and every day.

I too, like Sittser, believe that people who CHOOSE to live in HOPE are resilient. We get knocked down and we get back up and dust ourselves off and we keep going. That although life can be full of terrors and randomness – we feel or believe that life is worth moving on. In Sittser situation he has other children to care for and I believe that helps him in his belief that life is worth living. Me on the other hand, well I’ll call it a stretch as I have no other children. But I have an amazing family and group of friends that make life worth getting up for everyday. I have a job I love. Being a nurse, although not in clinical practice, allows me the privilege of serving others. And it is through the service of others that I find purpose and the reason to keep going.

Sittser talks about Job in this chapter, and for those of you who know my writings or are familiar with my story – I so love the book of Job. Job’s story was the one I identified with so much in the early days and weeks after Brittany died. I felt like the current day Job having lost everything I held dear. My daughter, my life, my home – I lost it all. Like Job, when I stopped asking why and just began to simple believe in God’s goodness did I truly find some peace. And the joy of life began to return.

The days are filled with joy now, but there are days when the darkness looms over me like a watershed of grief. So yes, I still live in that terror of randomness, but I also know it will leave me just the same way it came – quickly and unannounced. I just have to let it flow. Lean into God and He will keep me on course. That is what I know for sure is true.

until next time


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