How Can I Not Lose Faith in God When He Allows Dear Ones to Die?

Question

How can one reconcile oneself to sudden death when one has been a sincere seeker and expects God’s protection and love, although one has tried to bear difficulties that come in a brave manner up to now? How can one avoid cynicism and wonder at the peaceful and calm lives of worldly friends and relatives who pity one instead of the reverse? Somewhere this shakes one’s faith badly. Clinging to God should actually make one strong. Instead, the death experience results in wondering where one went wrong. What to do?

—Anonymous, India

Answer

Dear Friend,

I am very sorry for your loss and know how easily in such a situation we can feel that it is only unjust and incomprehensible, shaking our very faith. “How could a loving God let such a cruel thing happen?” And, “Why?”

The answer is this: God created a basic law for this world. Every action has a “mathematical” result. If that result is a tough one, we suffer. Yet it is not really a “bad” situation but a valuable and necessary lesson for our evolution in this school of life.

Yogananda told a story which I repeat here from memory. There were two brothers: one was worldly, selfish, and mean. Everything however went wonderfully for him in life, year after year. His brother on the other hand was a spiritual man, a devotee of God, serviceful, kind, selfless. Yet he suffered one trouble after another, year after year. In the end he was even caught up in a bad car accident. The worldly brother always laughed and told his “stupid” brother to change his ways and follow his “wise” ways.

“Why, God?” the spiritual one cried out in despair.

At that moment God actually answered, telling him: “You see, in your last life you were very worldly and selfish, but at the end you decided to transform, and to become good. Your brother was the opposite: he spent his life in a generous way and was devoted to Me, but at the end of his life he turned to evil ways. In this life you have reaped the results of your past actions, but now that old karma is gone. Everything from today will improve for you. And your brother’s good karma from today has been spent. You will see.”

And indeed, the worldly brother now started to have troubles and sickness. The spiritual one started to be blessed by fortunate events.

In short: in our past we all have created our present life, meaning all the situations which we are confronted with now. It is not God’s loveless action. Remember, any “bad” situation is in truth not as bad as it seems. On the contrary, it is His wise way to teach us, to make us grow. Everything happens for our best.

In your situation, then, what is it that you have to learn? Maybe faith in Him, even when a dear one is taken away by death? Or maybe inner strength? Or wisdom, that the outer life is forever fleeting, to seek solace and stability in Him alone?

Whatever the case, please trust the great Masters who tell us that God loves us always, and always will. And He will never allow something to happen to you which is too much for you to handle. It is all good, even though now it looks horrible. So please maintain your trust and keep Him in your heart.

In Divine Friendship,
Jayadev