“About 26 years ago, my daughter started feeling unwell,” Poppy sighed as she started narrating her experience to the members of the Bible study group. The topic of the day was God’s punishment. “A few weeks later, she was so sick that she had to be hospitalized. The doctors told me she was dying, and there was nothing they could do. Hearing their words, I felt like the ground was slipping from beneath my feet. However, in my despair I could still feel God’s reassurance that everything would be okay.
“As soon as the hospital’s visiting hours were over that day, I went to find some church members. I wanted to ask them to pray with me for my daughter , to pray for her healing , to pray that this experience would show her how much God loves her and draw her restless heart to Him.
“The brethren listened to my plight with solemn looks. Then…” Poppy took a deep breath to calm her surging emotions, “…then they told me I had brought this calamity upon myself. God was punishing me, they said, for not attending church faithfully over the past months. They did not pray with me. No one even bothered to ask me why I had been absent from church activities lately.”
Poppy took another deep breath as she relived the pain of being rejected by people she had trusted. “I went home to pray. I knew God loved me. I was certain that my Heavenly Father would never let my child die in order to punish me. Over the next couple of days, my daughter’s condition improved. In a short while, to the amazement of the doctors, she was completely well. Most importantly, during this painful and trying experience, my sweet child learned to place her trust in God.
“Because of my daughter’s illness and recovery, I was not able to attend church for quite a while. I had no courage to go back. To them, I was a great sinner. Through this experience, I also realized that we believed in a different God. They believed in a God who punishes the poor and weak in order to make them better church members. I, on the other hand, believed in a God who loves His children, a God who encourages and supports the weak , a God who comforts in times of distress. ”
After a heavy silence, Elly’s indignant voice sounded, “Those people truly did not know God’s real character! You are absolutely right, Poppy! God is merciful and kind to us; He is definitely not the one who brings troubles into our lives. What a shame that you had to endure this trial alone simply because these people were so confused about God’s character. They were so confused! All I can say is that I am glad you knew God and did not trust their confused judgment.”