Is God punishing me by allowing my friend to die at the hand of a drunk driver?
A friend of mine—a real close friend who I had been going out with for a while—got killed in a wreck. The truck that hit his car was driven by a guy who was drunk. The drunk guy walked away without a scratch.
It's been hard. I pray about it, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good. Our youth director told us not to blame ourselves and that it was going to be hard, but that it was going to get better. I feel like God is punishing me for something I've done. Do you have anything to say that may help?
Oh, Angie, I can't pretend to imagine the shock and grief you are feeling. You've experienced an unbelievable tragedy. You almost certainly have never before faced anything this awful. In one ugly and cruel instant, you lose a very close friend.
I would worry about you only if you didn't feel as you do, Angie. Something would be wrong if you did not grieve over the loss of your friend. You need to remember that shock and grief are God's tools to help us deal with tragedy. Your emotions are completely understandable, completely normal.
You are no different than God's servant David in the Old Testament, who in Psalms 31:9,10 talked about his grief:
“O Lord, have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from sorrow. I am pining away with grief; my years are shortened, drained away because of sadness” (TLB).
Trust me, Angie—you can trust God. He will be there to help you, to give you the strength to face the tragedy. Pray to Him to help slow your tears.
But Angie, please do not think that God is punishing you. That is simply not the case. God would never punish you like that. He promises us He won't do that. “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus,” we are told in Romans 8:1, (TLB).
You are a Christian and you belong to Jesus. All the punishment you deserve for you sins Angie, was put to death on the cross with Jesus Christ. He carried your punishment.
Unfortunately, we still live in a fallen, ungodly world. People get drunk and bad things happen to good people like your friend. We don't understand why, but we have to know that God isn't punishing us. God didn't cause your friend's tragic death, but he allowed it. You may never know all the reasons why, until you get to Heaven. But God has a plan and someday, in Heaven, it will all make sense. For now, we have to trust what God told us in Isaiah 55:8:
“This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours!” (TLB).
So, Angie, I know this isn't easy for you. It may be the hardest thing you've ever had to deal with. But let God help you. Trust Him. Ask Him for strength. And day by day, little by little, it will get easier. Be patient and, like David, wait for God and give Him time to help you:
“Wait for the Lord… Be brave, stouthearted and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you” (Ps. 27:14, TLB).
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