Q: When I first was diagnosed with lupus I was relieved to know I wasn’t crazy, that I was sick and that my disease had a name, Lupus. I started taking medications and soon began the cycle of emotions. The hardest part for me now are the questions:
”Is there a God?” and “Why did he give me lupus?” I can’t seem to become involved with my church again. I feel like I’ve been abandoned. Do you have any ideas on how to overcome this?
A: Your question is profound. Many people suffering from a chronic illness or any kind of tragedy grapple with the question, “Why me?” or “How could God let this happen?” These are philosophical and religious questions which cannot be answered simply. The best I can do is to refer you to two books which specifically address these issues. The first one is called When Bad Things Happen to Good People written by Harold S. Kushner. Kushner is a Rabbi who lost his young son to a fatal illness. In the book he discusses how to come to terms with suffering. He provides a unique conceptualization of a loving, caring and supportive God and gives insight into God’s role in coping with and recovering from suffering. This book has been lauded by religious leaders and scholars of all faiths. For a more traditionally Christian view of the meaning of pain and suffering, I understand that a book entitled Where is God When it Hurts? by Philip Yancey is very good. (I have not read it.) Apparently, Yancey provides insight into the crucial role and meaning of pain in life, discusses coping with pain and suffering and expounds on the role of religious faith. These two books (containing divergent points of view) should more than get you started on your journey. I hope you will find comfort in one or both of them.