Why did God allow this to happen to me?

Why? One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive as a pastor is, “Why?” “Why did God allow THIS to happen to me?” Usually, “THIS” refers to something upsetting or tragic, but occasionally someone will ask the “Why” question in reference to something miraculous. Randy Hill is one such person. Randy and Tricia Hill recently moved their church membership to us from Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown, Va. They’ve lived their lives in the Hampton area and moved to Richmond four years ago to be closer to two of their three adult sons and their families. Randy enjoys golf and woodworking and Tricia enjoys painting, refinishing and repurposing old furniture and traveling. We are blessed to have them to be a part of our Bethel Church family and they come with quite a story.
Twelve years ago Randy survived a “widow-maker” heart attack. Randy wasn’t feeling well and they decided to go to a Patient First type of facility, but on the way they quickly changed their plans based on how Randy felt. Randy said, “Tricia dropped me off at the Emergency Room door and a nurse took one look at me and immediately called for a ‘Code Blue.’” Randy’s face was ashen gray and within seconds there were literally twenty people surrounding him trying to help him. When Tricia came into the emergency room she was met by a doctor who told her to call her sons and tell them to come to the hospital as soon as possible. The situation was grave. Doctors were able to quickly put a stent into place and Randy’s life was saved, but the heart attack caused significant damage to the bottom of Randy’s heart. He said, “The bottom of my heart was literally dead and over time my heart managed to grow new veins to help supply blood to my body.” During this time the doctors also installed a defibrillator to help ward off future heart attacks. Fast forward six years. Randy is running through the airport when his defibrillator kicks in and saves him from another heart attack. When he went to the doctor to have it replaced the doctor exclaimed how fortunate he was because the defibrillator battery had drained down to 1%! The doctor was surprised it worked with only 1% battery. Another miracle! Randy’s life was spared a second time. Fast forward another six years to January of this year. Randy started thinking, “It’s been six years since my last heart episode and six years prior to that is when I had my heart attack, maybe I should go for my heart check sooner, rather than later.” He was scheduled to go in May. Within a few days of that feeling, the cardiologist office called and said that they would like Randy to come in before the end of January. When the doctor examined Randy he told him everything was great. Randy,
said “I didn’t think that was a good answer and I felt the need to push for a heart catheterization.” During the catheterization the doctors determined he needed heart surgery as the blockages were in the same location as previous stents. Randy said that feeling of needing to push for the catheterization and the cardiologist calling sooner than expected was a direction from the Holy Spirit. During the surgery, not only were the blockages bypassed, but the surgeon discovered that the dead part of his heart had begun to calcify and attach itself to the walls of the heart sack. This new discovery led doctors to tell Randy that he would have been dead within six months had he not had the surgery. Blessedly the surgery went well and the doctor was able to remove all of the calcification. That’s miracle number three if you’re counting!
When Randy shared his story with me he said, “I keep asking the Lord, ‘Why?’ Why did the Lord save me on three separate occasions? I feel like the Lord wants me to do something, but He hasn’t revealed what that something is.” Over the years people have asked me similar questions. I remember long time Bethel member Ed Boyer once said to me, “In spite of all my health problems, God has chosen to leave me here for some reason. I wish I knew why.” There it is again, that age old “Why” question. I’ve thought about that question with regards to Ed and Randy and others like them who genuinely desire to know and follow God’s will. While I cannot answer their “Why” questions I do have a couple of thoughts and my thoughts come from John 9. In John 9, Jesus and his disciples encounter a man who has been blind since birth. The disciples want to know, “Who sinned to cause this blindness? Was it the man or his parents?” In that culture, it was believed that if you suffered from a disease then sin was the root cause. So the disciples wanted to know who sinned. In other words, “Why did this happen?” (As a side note, stop and think about the ridiculousness of their question. The man was blind from birth. The blind man would have had to sin in utero in order for his sin to cause his blindness! Crazy). If you read the text, you’ll notice Jesus doesn’t answer the disciples “Why” question. Instead Jesus says in John 9:3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Notice that Jesus points His disciples past the “Why” question and insists that this situation will ultimately bring glory to God. Jesus then goes on to heal the man of his blindness. What I take away from this beautiful Scripture is this: While it’s certainly fine to ask the “Why” question, perhaps we should also ask the “How” question. How can I bring glory and honor to God from this situation? For that question, Randy already has part of an answer. Before his first heart attack Randy coached wrestling and football teams. Some of the young men on those teams did not have a father figure in their life and many of them did not have any knowledge of the Lord as they never attended church. Sharing God’s love and plan for those young men was an experience that helped both Randy and Tricia as much as it helped those young men. Those boys are now men and several of them have reached out to Randy to thank him for his Godly guidance all those years ago. Randy has used his miraculous healings to bring honor and glory to God. My guess as to why God saved Randy’s life is so that Randy and Tricia will tell their story and bring God the glory and honor so that other’s might come to know the Christ that we know and love. I want to encourage us, the next time we want to know “Why,” go ahead and ask the question, but let’s also ask a second question as well, “How?” “How can God be glorified through my situation?” One way God is gloried is when we tell our stories of faith. I want to thank Randy and Tricia for telling their story. There is actually much, much more to their story that space does not permit me to tell. The next time you see them, ask them, they’ll be glad to tell you what the Lord has done for them. 

As we live into our Vision of Knowing, Growing and Going in the Love of Christ, may we all be willing to tell others what the Lord has done for us. May God bless Randy and Tricia Hill and may God bless you and our Bethel Church family.