May 7, 2013

How Is the Death of a Child God’s Will? ~ Thomas Detras

God did it! Oh, Really?

Does God really care if you get a base hit or even win a game? In my school years on sports teams, I always wondered if our team’s prayer was canceled by the other team’s prayer. It was an innocuous tradition that I supposed fostered team camaraderie.

However, the years have increased my annoyance of how people thoughtlessly attribute godly intervention for events.

But nothing, nothing, riles me more than having tragedies attributed to God.

The most recent occurrence of this obscene practice is the tragic shooting death of a two-year-old child by her five-year-old brother. A rifle accidentally discharged. The brother was playing with his .22 Cricket rifle that he received the year before as a gift from his parents.

The debate will rage about the sanity of the situation. But I am driven to madness by the grandmother’s comment?

“It was God’s will. It was her time to go…”

How can it ever be God’s will that a two-year-old be violently killed? I can understand the need to envision your precious child in the loving arms of the angels, but I have to believe that God in his heaven looked at this child and said,

“What are you doing here?”

How about a senator and military chaplain saying that rape is “God’s will?”

What are these people thinking?

Is it supposed to be part of God’s plan? If so, since they are taught to follow God’s will, any criminal charges would be a sacrilege.

Is it supposed to be comforting that God willed a child’s death or a criminal act? That itself is enough to drive God-fearing people to atheism.

And who is supposed to be comforted? The parents who leave an armed five-year-old alone with a two-year-old? Or the rapist who now feels he was guided by God’s spirit?

Maybe these people should feel guilt and responsibility and any reprisal instead of placing the onus on God’s shoulders.

We all have said thoughtless things in trying moments to somehow ease the pain.

Before attributing God’s hand in tragic events, we must consider how it may be aiding, abetting and encouraging irresponsible and dangerous behavior.

Instead, let our comforting words represent the love that God represents, as he shares our grief and loss of an innocent soul. For we are made in his image, and if we mourn, so does he.


Thomas Detras is a former corporate executive enjoying the slower pace of life that retirement has to offer with his bride of 46 years. He counts his good fortune to have his son and daughter live nearby where he can stir debate in current events and enjoy his two grandchildren. At the well-intentioned, albeit possibly misguided, bidding of his daughter, he has redirected his technical and business writing skills into storytelling to fend off the temptation to listen to his bones rust while watching ballgames and reruns of Matlock.



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Ed: Amy Cushing & Brianna Bemel

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