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.  


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.

20 thoughts on “Is God Punishing Me?”

  1. Oh how I struggled, and at time still struggle, with this! In May of 2018 my marriage of 37 years ended, in September my oldest son died of a heart condition, and in December my father passed. Needless to say, it was a very hard, bitter year. I have had to lean very hard on my daughter and son and siblings. They have been my strength and have made sure I’ve. continued on, and in turn have been able to find my way back to my faith. I know my Heavenly Father has only what is best for me, I just have to continue to remember whose I am. I have good and bad times, always finding my way back . I have drawn great comfort from this post! Thank you for your words!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never felt that God was punishing me or my family by Jason’s death. However, I did feel that abandoned by God and that he had turned a deaf ear to my earnest prayers to protect my children. This was made worse and exacerbated by the near-total abandonment of the Christian people – “God’s people” – we knew. As our precious 17-year old daughter said at the time, “People and the way they have treated us have made it 100 times worse.” I’ve written extensively about both my crisis of faith and the abandonment by God’s people, so will not restate any of that. My faith has never quite recovered, nor has my trust in the friendship of Christian people. Just my perspective. I know Jason is in Heaven and that I will see him again. I look forward to that day. I just do the best I can in the meantime and try to continue to hope as best I can.

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  3. Honestly, if I didn’t know our Heather was in heaven, I don’t know what “state of mind” I’d find myself in. Heather died of breast cancer last Nov. leaving behind 4 young kids & her hubby. She was an incredibly strong & pleasant believer. But the pangs of lonesomeness are only comforted by God. Over & over again I cry out for comfort & He keeps helping me. Also “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn has comforted me alot. What a rough journey to lose a child. It’s the worst.

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  4. I really struggle with this at times, I go through all my ‘bigger’ (I know all sin is sin but in my head some are bigger) sins in my head wondering if they caused this. I know it’s illogical but I’ve been left with guilt that somehow this is my fault and he took my daughter as a punishment. I hate feeling like this and it is a battle to remember the goodness of God when I am in this place. I can’t read much of anything, can’t concentrate, can’t pray as I just end up crying. Feel so hurt by God and yet still I keep clinging to Him because what else can I do. He is still my rock in this swirling ocean of pain and despair despite all my questions. It is a strange sensation to cling to the one who you also know allowed your child to die.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Susie I struggle with those exact feelings. I too still cling to Christ but if I were totally honest I am just plain mad at Him at times for not rescuing my son!


  5. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    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❤️🙏💔🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      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. ❤


  6. 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. ❤


  7. 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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