If there is a god, why would he allow this?

Hi All,

I have to go to a memorial this week for a close family friend. Patrick was a cool guy, cool wife, great kids, all around good guy. He was just 51. I normally wouldn't write something like this, but I find the need too. You see, he never had a chance. It started with a slight headache that he couldn't shake. That was three months ago. I didn't get to see him. I don't know what I'm going to say to "Aunt" Carol when I see her.

So, if there is a god, this was a cheap shot! RIP Patrick...


31 Replies

  • Joe: I so understand what you are saying. Any time anyone is given a disease that is fatal doesn't seem fair at all. If God is so good as advertised why do senseless calamities happen? Disease that is so harsh it breaks a human to non-existentence? My dear dear husband passed away on 5-21-16 from Advanced Prostate Cancer, he fought for 3 years and what a cruel cruel battle is was. My mother suffers from Dementia, this disease sucks and no one should ever have to leave this world in such poor shape as my husband and my Mom (she hasn't passed). Yes, what kind of cruel joke are these diseases? Senseless and why would such a loving God allow this to happen? I so understand Joe. Dena

  • So Sorry about your husband. My dad is very sick right now from the same thing. It's so heartbreaking and awful.

  • Sorry to hear about your friend. I do not know if there is a God. If there is, I do not understand the things he allows to happen. What I do know is that life is precious. Please make a positive of your friends death. Please focus every day on the ones that matter to you. I went from being healthy one day to having Stage 4 Ductal prostate cancer. My faith (or lack of it) has not changed. What has changed is my appreciation of the ones I love. Do not have how much time I have, but I am going to focus on the positive.

    I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I am sorry for the pain it is causing you. Please know that everyone here wishes you well. Please honor your friend by focusing on the good. I feel it is the best way to pay tribute to those no longer here. It is what I want my wife to do when I am gone.

  • Joe I do believe in God and have no idea why He lets good people die. Of course I have no idea why my wife gets mad if I leave the toilet seat up. If I had to put it up can't she put it down? I know it is difficult but our job is to believe not try to understand Gods ways. I think Patrick is out of pain and happy now and wishes you could understand. Hang in there Joe and keep the faith you have a purpose for being here.


  • It is always difficult to comprehend why any creator would allow suffering and death, though I cannot prove a deitys existence. I would just say without suffering would we know pleasure? Without pain, would we know what enjoyment is? Without stress, would we have passion?

    Life is hard, throughout mine I have known stress, pain and suffering though sometimes I see others who have pulled through greater difficulties than mine. I would just say, rather than ponder what should and shouldnt be allowed, just remember those who you love and that you are loved, remember the good years your friendships lasted and the memories that were created. Try not focus on the pain, you may lose sight of the pleasure. I am sorry my words may not be comforting but I have tried to be honest. May love bless you throughout your life and remember the love you got to share with those special people.

    Keep the faith of love.

  • Joe, I've asked myself the same question. We'll never know. RIP your friend Patrick.

  • Dear Joe. Yes, it does feel like a cheap shot, why him, why so young. I don't have any answers, but I've been questioning and opening to how to live with life, how to live with dying. My words don't mean I don't grieve. I believe I've grieved every day since my husband's diagnosis.

    One thing we know for sure when we are born is that we are going to die. We don't come into this life with some people living and some people dying. We are all going to die. I'm not sure why we feel the way we do about dying. I feel there is more pain in the suffering of knowing one is going to die, and the suffering in the length of that knowing, or better yet, the type of death we have.

    I suffer, don't get me wrong, but I have a dual way of thinking about it. One part of me is so very scared of any of my loved ones suffering- more than my own suffering. Crazy, right?

    The suffering can get so great for the dying person that people pray for their relief in dying, only then to go on to another whole set of grief and sadness of missing the person. It's like a never ending cycle.

    I don't believe this is God's doing. This isn't my personal philosophy. I do know there are cultures that feel very differently than we do. There are cultures that don't hide people away, and actually grieve openly. Their community knows they are grieving, and not having to keep a stiff upper lip. But, to allow the pain to break open their hearts. Where others have witnessed the same sorrow and can be there to witness and hold a place for their family or friends. We seem to be isolated from this type of community. If you have a strong community, you are a lucky one.

    These are just my own personal thoughts, not too well thought out.. but, I hope they are not hurtful to you. Right now you are looking for answers and are vulnerable, which is exactly the right place for you to be in.

    Sometimes anger is a good thing, it gets us through things.

    I heard recently from a woman whose husband died that she isn't trying to push grief away.

    She is allowing it to be with her.

    I can't speak exactly to the feeling - but, I can say, I suffer from a lot of anxiety and fear of what hasn't happened yet, the suffering of the death process.

    No answers here.. I feel for you, Joe... Maybe, there doesn't have to be anything to tell your Aunt, just being there with her, not trying to change anything she feels, but understanding that however she feels is okay.. giving her permission to feel the way she feels. I think this is a freedom we don't often give people.

  • The short answer is God is loving and will put an end to our suffering and allow us to enjoy the life we dream of. The longer answer.....a very comforting, satisfying and logical answer is in the Bible, and it's been there all along. It's clearly and easily explained at JW.org. Just ask the question and the answers will be in the Bible you have in your own hands. I am also battling PC and my life today may not be guaranteed but my future is......which allows me to find the good each day brings.

  • If there is a god, I want some answers. What did I ever do to deserve this?

  • Hi Brent-

    Sounds like you are really down. It's nothing you did or didn't do. God doesn't work that by the way.

    Maybe it will help to think of it like this: If you could give to someone else in your family, who that be? Your father, brother, son? Probably not. The reason is that you know whether you feel your life is threatened. Regardless of what blood tests and scans and MRIs say. You know how you feel.

    My husband was diagnosed with Stage IV CRpC met to bones. 99% of his bones. It was very scary. That was 3 years ago and 12 years after successful brachytherapy.

    At this time, there isn't much more than be done. He has had all the Xofigo his bone marrow can stand (5 radioactive transfusions). His blood counts aren't coming back very well but the good news is he can have a transfusion every 3 weeks. We haven't given up. Neither should you. If you have pain, tell your doctors. If you are fatigued, tell your doctors, if your are nauseated, constipated, have mouth sores, whatever, tell your doctor. They can alleviate those things.

    Take this time to do the things you want to do, should do. You can do this. Many, many have. Good luck to you. RIP Patrick.

    Wife in Jamul

  • Sorry for your loss. I firmly believe there is a God. Due to Adam and Eve's sin, we are required to feel pain and suffering hardship, whether it is a young child with a tumor, a teenager with cancer, a parent with Dementia or your friend. The thought is that we will go to a better place. We pray but sometimes, God says no. It doesn't make it easier to accept. A Priest one said that if all the money that countries spend on wars and violence were spent finding a cause for diseases, there would be less heartbreak. Again, my condolences on the loss of your friend. Steve d

  • I know there are many ways of thinking about suffering, and many people, religious and otherwise, have addressed it better than I can. Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book years ago after the loss of his child that I highly recommend: "When Bad Things Happen to Good People."

  • Neuroblastoma?

    It is the bitter price we pay for free will. Otherwise, we are puppets on strings. JMHO

  • The pain exists whether or not there is a God or gods, a question I personally do not find interesting (but that's just me). I can't be glib and say that's what's important is how we face the pain, deal with it, and help others who face it. But that's what I try to do. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter how hard we try. Grief can be pretty bitter at a time like this, even though we have the comfort of others who are grieving with us. I hope you can try to comfort them, and, let others comfort you.

  • Maybe God's actions stop at Creation and the idea of an entity in the heavens directing events is a bunch of bs.


  • Stephen Fry,s answer to a bishop.

  • I concur with Stephen Fry. Better for me to view the world's joys and sorrows from the "FORCE", Star Wars, perspective. Our daily struggle is to enhance the light and diminish the darkness. Simple dudes and dudess's! docrok

  • I don't agree with that point of view. God gave us free will and what have we done with it caused misery. We have chosen wars instead of healing, hate instead of love. We put ourselves where we are. If all of the effort we have wasted on hate and war was put into healing there wouldn't be major disease. Don't blame God for what we have done to ourselves. I agree with you about one thing We need to strive for the light and fight the dark.


  • Joe, as a Christian I've struggled with this question all of my life. Why did he let my high school friend, Bob, drown? Why did he let a close fraternity brother, Herb, die of brain cancer at 25? Why does he let bad things happen to good people, like 911? For that matter why does he let good things happen to to bad people?

    My own feeble answer is that God allows good and evil to coexist. He has given mankind a free will.

    So... I'm left with my faith that God is there for me, here and now, as I struggle with an "evil" disease called metastatic prostate cancer. I find comfort in that.

    Keep the faith and stay the course. I hope that you find peace.


  • i am close to 88 years old, born and raised a Catholic, now an atheist and now not conflicted with this God thing. felt it necessary to express my point of view.

  • Hi Joe, I'm 57, I was also an altar boy, jeez. Now agnostic. My mom prays for me all the time. It helps her feel better. Can't say it helps me any.

  • I understand. My friend passed away two weeks ago. Three weeks ago, he said, Why me? He was 63. I am the same age with the same disease but will live longer. We were friends for 58 years.

    I think the answer is that it was meant to be. In other words, we cannot live to be 150 but must accept the concept of our demise. I did not tell him that, but, that, I think, is the answer to his question.

    There are other points of view, "Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Rage, rage against the dying of the light" - Dylan Thomas. I don't know if I will do that.

    He was a wonderful person and I shared a short memory on Thenirvanaportal.com.


  • I guess your friend Patrick was such a nice guy that God wanted to hang out with him.

  • I'll buy that, thanks.


  • Bless you Joe. Will be thinking of you. On Monday we have to go to my wife's great nephew's funeral. He was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy - diagnosed at 5 months and we were told he would not make it to 2 years old but he nearly doubled that poor little mite and died last Saturday at 3 years 8 months. Although we were "prepared" for this it was still such a shock and such a sad time for everyone. We know exactly what you mean.

  • Dear Joe, I have hesitated to answer only because I am fearful that I can not express what I know to be the truth so that it will not sound corny and trite to those who think and feel as you. But here goes . . . and I will let God take care of the rest.

    First, I wonder if most people who deny the existence of God are not just angry and

    disappointed in Him and find not believing in Him to be the easiest way to handle those feelings. To that I say, read Job and the Psalms; they are full of people crying out in

    anger and asking “WHY, Lord?!” God welcomes honest expressions of our feelings and He will help us to come to a sense of trust and peace, if not complete understanding. Please remember if he is God and created us, all life and this unfathomably magnificent and intricate world and universe, then we, with our finite minds can never understand all his ways.

    Second, please let me assure (there are few things that I would state so strongly) that

    God created us out of love and loves us as a father or mother loves their child (actually, far better!) ANYTHING that hurts us, hurts God, just as we hurt when our children hurt.

    He wants nothing but the best for us, but that only comes by being in a relationship of trust and love with him.

    And So, why does He allow evil to come to us? I can not fully answer that though there are many volumes devoted to trying to answer that question (one very good one is by an author name G. A. Studdert Kennedy:"The Hardest Part." There, in very bold terms, he wrestles with the questions that torment us about suffering and evil.

    What I can say from my study of scripture and from my own life experiences, is this: We live in what is often referred to as a broken world. God’s entire creation was “good,” according to scripture. For it to remain good, mankind needed to stay in relationship with and follow the guidelines of its Creator, God. But from the beginning, it seems we have been bent on playing god ourselves, making our own decisions, doing it “our way,” and then, when things go wrong, blaming God. We have managed to make a pretty big mess of things and our mess has extended to creation. So, we deal with all kinds of wrongful (ungodly) acts in and among ourselves as well as, natural disasters and horrible diseases like the cancers that have attacked the men on this site, my husband and my mom and to which I lost my sister and you lost your dear friend Patrick.

    I honestly cannot fathom how anyone gets through such difficult times without a faith in God, who alone, is able and willing to take the suffering we experience in this broken world and use it to bring about something good; and he always does when we entrust it and ourselves to him--this has been my experience over and over and over.

    Joe, I hope that you will give yourself a chance to first, come to the point of allowing that

    God does exist and then, to coming to know him; if you seek him honestly, he will reveal himself to you.

    May I suggest that you spend sometime outside just in quiet observation of God’s handiwork in whatever nature is around you; even the smallest flower, most common bird demonstrate how delicately and thoughtfully and lovingly this world was

    created. Joe, speak to God honestly about your feelings! Ask him to reveal himself further to you. And then, in the following days and nights, watch and listen for him.

    Also, many people have found C.S. Lewis’ writings, especially, Mere Christianity to be eye-opening. I especially love the writing by an old writer, George MacDonald (though you would want to make sure you get copies that have been edited to make them more reader friendly, since George was a very wordy Victorian writer. To me, George better than anyone I have ever read understands the heart of God. Especially meaningful to me are Proving the Unseen and Knowing the Heart of God, edited by Michael Phillips.


    I do understand and empathize with the hurt and anger you expressed. Ours is a very difficult and often, painful world to live in; but thankfully, this is not the end of the story. One day, the God who created us and who loves us in spite of our constantly turning our backs to him and even denying his existence, will make all things new and they will be wonderful and good, just as he intended.

    Joe, this is an incomplete and imperfect response (because I am.) But I pray that something in it may strike a chord with your heart.

    May God be with you and show himself unto you, and may you find comfort, peace and reassurance.

    Prayerfully, Barbara

  • Hi Joe,

    I understand and empathize with your feelings. I don’t think there is anyone among us who has not experienced anger and frustration over death and illness especially when we think it is not deserved. I certainly had a lot of my own moments and at times even cursed God for not getting what I deserved in return for my faithfulness. But I grew up when I realized that the god that I was worshipping was a small god, if there ever is one. It was a god that I called upon to do my bidding, a god that I expected to wave a magic want when I wanted something. The God I worship now is the Creator of the Universe upon which He has instituted immutable laws that govern it. The ultimate of His Creation is the human being to which He has entrusted the Creation to understand, to harness and to grow from. As recounted in Genesis, God commanded the human to “have dominion” over all creation. Which means the human is to use his God-given talents and resources to live a good life. In so doing, he must deal with the presence of good and evil in everything. It is always a challenge and the human will often fail especially because Evil is so tempting as personified by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden story.

    It does not mean that after creating the Universe, God left us to our own devices and is now nothing but a distant God. God is ever-present and cares and loves even in ways that we may not know. And God shares our sorrow in our difficult moments. I believe that though God will not circumvent the laws of nature even if He is capable of doing so, He is always guiding mankind toward a greater future. For instance, I believe that people like geniuses, scientists and doctors who come up with new and better ways of curing and alleviating if not completely eliminating illness are Divinely inspired. And so it is with all kinds of human endeavor. Slowly but surely, humankind is growing toward its destiny.

    Have faith, my friend. And share it - for your sake and for the ones you love.

    Grace and peace, Fredr

  • Wonderfully stated, Fredr! I should have waited for you. Barbara

  • Thanks, Barbara. I too waited long before writing to untl I felt I needed to. BTW, the extra r in my name is a typo. My name is Fred, not Fredr.

  • I am sorry for your pain, Joe. Patrick is blessed to have someone like you to care about him. Death gives life meaning. It makes those we care for more dear since we should recognize from the beginning our time together is uncertain. You must find your own personal meaning in this friendship. As a military person I frequently questioned friendships that where ended by violent acts. Now in old age, I am comforted that I still feel those friendships and rejoice in how their lives have made mine more enjoyable far beyond the time of their physical departure. Blessings for all your days and to those who receive your friendship.

  • I know my dad said the same thing the other day as he is suffering from advanced prostate cancer.