Is God Punishing Me?

I’ve heard it from more than one bereaved parent.  

I’ve thought it myself.  

“Is God punishing me?”  

Have I done something so terrible that it falls outside the grace and mercy of the God Who sent His Son and so I must pay for it with my own child?

My heart strains to make sense of things that don’t make sense and I sometimes reach for any explanation no matter how far-fetched or theologically inaccurate.

Because truly, child loss is sometimes only the beginning of the pain and sorrow and ongoing drama and trial.   Since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, many, many things have gone wrong.

Many,  many things have been hard.  

After Dominic left, life just piled on like that childhood game where one person held the ball and everyone else tried to get it.

I woke up every day expecting another blow and it nearly always came.

I remember begging God to simply make it stop!

He didn’t.

So I began to wonder if I was being punished.  What other explanation could there be?  If God was allowing all these hard things, it must be because I owed Him something.  I hadn’t done enough or wasn’t doing enough.  My spiritual discipline was lagging behind.

Somewhere, somehow I was falling down in my faith.  

But those thoughts weren’t placed in my head by God.  They were fiery darts of the enemy of my soul trying his best to make me doubt and turn away from the Source of my hope.  

God is not punishing me.  

He made provision for all the punishment required when He sent His Son as a complete, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for sin.

My Heavenly Father is a good and loving God Who did not leave it to me (or you, or anyone else) to square that debt.  Because it is impossible for us to do it.  Even all the pain I’ve borne is insufficient to pay it.

Jesus paid it ALL.  The debt is no longer outstanding.  

john3-16-17

Now, I may very well (and often do!) have to reap the natural consequences of my own or other peoples’ sin. 

But that is very different than thinking God is doing me harm for the purpose of punishment.  

We live in a fallen world where things do not work as God originally intended.  Human hearts are callous at best and evil at worst and we do things to one another that should never be done.  Sickness, disease and accidents happen.

Sometimes all these things happen at once.  

God can and does intervene.  Sometimes He doesn’t.  I don’t know why in one case and not in another.  That is His wisdom and purpose and beyond my understanding.

But I know that He is not punishing me nor is He punishing you.  

Jesus Himself suffered greatly in His earthly life, yet never sinned.  

That made His sacrifice the perfect, complete and utterly final payment for my own sin debt.   Having received the gift of redemption by His blood, my life is free to be offered back to God as a sacrifice of worship, reverence and faithful obedience.  

But it is not required as payment for sin.  

Neither was my son’s.  

i made you and i will carry you

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

11 thoughts on “Is God Punishing Me?”

  1. Thank you. For some unknown reason, this question has never come to mind. I’m so ingrained in my sorrow that questions don’t often come to mind. Maybe, I know in my heart that it’s not a punishment. It’s just another trial. I’ll make it through, I keep telling myself. From your writing there is “the” answer…Jesus paid it all. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep trying. It’s hard for me to read much of it now as well. Partly because I find I can’t read much of anything. In the first few weeks after Dominic left I devoured some very helpful books on grief and also found myself reading entire books of the Bible. But somewhere along the line, my attention span shortened and I have a hard time reading. Now I often limit myself to a verse or two and try to really HEAR what it’s saying. I pray that you feel the Father’s loving arms around you today and that He overwhelms your hurting heart with His grace and mercy.

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    2. Me too, I can’t seem to find that place I so badly want to be at, to fill my soul with all the love, I just can’t get motivated to read my Bible like I use to!! I know God’s with me but I feel so lonely… I miss my son Kerry so much I hurt so badly I’m numb!!!! I’m so cold I’m burning up, I’m trying to live but just feel like I’m dying!! My other kids keep me here but believe me I can’t wait to see my son again❤️🙏💔🙏

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      1. Praying that the Lord will encourage your heart in ways you neither expect nor anticipate. It’s very hard to get back into the discipline of reading like I used to. I’m trying just a bit at the time. ❤

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  2. I have struggled with this and feeling that I have been a terrible Christian for not having the faith to trust God. Thank you Melanie. It really helps to know that I am not alone in this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, sweet mama! You are most definitely NOT alone! Our feelings are a gift from God but they are an unreliable compass sometimes. The enemy of our souls can twist things and turn them so that we FEEL like certain things are true when in fact, they are not true at all. I pray that the Lord will help your heart hold onto the truth that He is not punishing us. He loves us. ❤

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  3. Oh Melanie thank you for this post. I wish I could feel this in my heart as surely as I can hear you do through this post. This is something I struggle with

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so welcome! Our feelings take us down paths that are unhealthy and often filled with lies from the enemy. The debt of sin is paid. We may have to endure much pain in this life but it is not designed to punish us. What God allows can be used by Him to sculpt us into the image of Christ Who Himself suffered even though He was sinless. Praying that the Lord grants you a firm and enduring conviction that He is not punishing you. ❤

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