Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Why is it, when I'm doing the right thing, bad things happen?"

I met up with a family in my neighborhood today, whom my wife and I hadn't seen in awhile. They had been a part of our fellowship, joining us occasionally for Sunday gatherings and various outreach events that The CORE Church had sponsored and hosted. We had gotten to know them and had begun developing a relationship with this single mother and her children. Then, almost suddenty, we lost contact with them. After many failed attempts to re-connect with them, we decided to leave the issue in God's hands. We continued to pray for them and had bumped into others who know them, from time to time, who would fill us in on how they are doing.

Today, as I was bringing bread and milk into the church (a local convenience store chain, Stewarts Shops, has been giving us products that they pull from their shelves yet still have several days left before their code date expires which we in turn distribute to families in the neighborhood) I saw this woman and one of her daughters as they were walking past the church. She stopped and we talked for a bit. She shared with me the mess her life has turned into, and that she had not come around because she didn't want to burden us with her problems. Also, she had been working overtime at her job and between work, kids, housework, etc., she has been physically exhausted.

She went on to tell me that she was doing the right thing. She had obtained employment in an attempt to distance herself and her family from public assistance. Her job is a good one that she likes, with decent pay and benefits for her and her children. However, just as she was starting to get ahead financially, paying off many of her debts, etc., Social Services cut her public assistance. Her food stamps are now a fraction of what she had been receiving and Troy Housing Authority raised her rent because she is now in a higher income bracket. She said to me, "Just when I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, they go and do this, and I am right back where I was three years ago." She went onto ask, as she began to well up with tears, "Why is it, when I'm doing the right thing and making good choices, all of this bad stuff happens?" I prayed with her and gave her some bread and milk, and shared a few of my own thoughts as to why bad things happen to good people. She seemed somewhat comforted as our conversation came to an end. She told me she would try to make it to church with the kids, but sometimes she has to work on Sundays. We may see them tomorrow or next Sunday. If we don't we will still love them and reach out to them. We will continue to pray for them and make sure they know God loves them.