"Life is a marathon, not a dash, and the victory goes to the ones who PACE themselves. God wants us to live a life of balance and joy." — Karen Jensen

Chapter One

Is It OK to Question God?

The last time I ever saw my husband Brent alive on this earth was when he went to bed early on New Year’s Day 1997.

He headed to bed before me that night because the preceding 24 hours had been crazy—real crazy.

As we did every year, we had rung in the New Year with our close-knit church family in Boise, Idaho. We had celebrated with games, prayer and lots of good food. A few people had hung around until about 2 A.M. As the pastors of the church, we had been the last to leave, finally locking the doors and dragging ourselves home in the wee hours of the morning.

An emergency phone call from a church member awakened us very early on New Year’s Day. Running on three hours sleep, Brent had climbed out of bed and gone to help them.

That day I had managed to sneak a nap in, but Brent hadn’t. He and our sons, ages twelve and thirteen at the time, had watched every college football bowl game on television, and even gone to a nearby park and played their own game with some neighborhood kids.

By 9:30 P.M., Brent could barely keep his eyes open. With a smile, he leaned over and gave me a kiss.

“I love you,” he said over the noise of the TV show I was watching.

“I love you too,” I said, glancing up from my cross-stitch project and smiling at him as he walked toward the hallway.

When I went to bed, about an hour later, I found that Brent had stopped breathing. I called 911, and paramedics rushed to our house.

They were unable to revive him, and later at the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

“I love you” were the last three words we would ever say to each other on this earth. I’m sure thankful. It left me with no regrets.

Yeah, I Had Questions

As you can imagine, my life changed drastically after that night. Most significantly, I became senior pastor of our church, and I became a single mom with the responsibility of raising our sons through their teen years—two things I had never expected to do.

When a heart-wrenching event happens, some people balk at asking God big questions, but not me. I had questions.

Man oh man, did I have questions!

Why God, why? How did my big, strong, healthy thirty-seven-year-old husband, who hadn’t been sick at all, simply go to bed one night and suddenly end up in heaven?

Why didn’t You tell me? I was right in the next room watching television, for crying out loud! Why didn’t You notify me so I could help him?

How could You let this happen? What about divine health? What about Your protection? What about satisfying us with long life?

Do You Have Questions?

This is my story. What about you? Sometimes life can be hard and painful. I wish there was a way to avoid the painful things altogether, but unfortunately there isn’t. We live on an earth with the curse of sin, which means that awful things do happen. What is it that has come about in your life that’s caused you to ask, “Why, God, why?”

Maybe your very foundation has been shaken by death, illness, a broken relationship, financial disaster, a bitter disappointment or another life-altering circumstance. As a result, you may be having trouble moving past the pain. You may be seriously doubting your faith in God.

First, please know that there is One who understands. God has a way to bring you through your hardest times.

Second, I’m glad you’ve picked up this book. I believe it can help you! Our heavenly Father is faithful and He loves you so much. He doesn’t want you stuck in the land of hurt. He has made a way out. He wants to heal your broken heart and help you embrace your bright future.

You Can Ask Why

At the beginning of the movie Sleepless in Seattle, Sam Baldwin (played by Tom Hanks) and his young son Jonah are shown at the gravesite where Sam’s recently deceased wife (Jonah’s mother) is buried.

Sam tells Jonah, “Mommy got sick. It happened just like that. There’s nothing anybody could do. It isn’t fair. There’s no reason. But if we start asking why, we’ll go crazy.”

I’m different than Sam Baldwin. I have questions, and I think they should be asked. My husband died suddenly in his bed at age 37 without warning – I think there’s room for questions in an event like that! I’m sure you have some questions too.

Maybe people have told you “Don’t question God.” But I think that’s ridiculous. Let’s face it—you’re asking questions anyway. In your heart and in your head you’ve probably already asked, “Why, God, why?” He knows what you’re thinking, even when you keep silent (see Luke 5:22; 24:38). So why try to hide your questions from Him?

Besides, He can handle it. You can’t ask anything He hasn’t been asked before.

Remember, God is your Father. He loves you! He already knows everything that has happened in your life, and best of all, He also knows everything that will happen in your future—so who better to talk with when something hard happens?

We should ask God all the questions we want. In fact, I think He is the first one we should ask. So go ahead, start asking.

Here are some honest questions you may have for God:

Why did this happen?
Why didn’t You help me?
Why did You let this happen?
Why hasn’t this been fixed or healed?
Why can’t I ———? (fill in the blank)
Why is my life like this?
Why is it taking so long?
Did I miss Your will?
Can I ever trust myself/anyone/You again?

You might have questions about something you have read in the Bible or something you have heard in a sermon. Maybe you have questions about bad things that have happened to other people or someone who received a miracle when you didn’t. Go ahead and ask the questions.

Be honest. Ask every scary, ugly, angry question that has already passed through your mind. You might even want to write your questions down and date them, maybe in a private journal or on a calendar.

Now What?
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Book Reviews

"This is the best book I've ever read, next to the Bible. I have given one to a lady whose son committed suicide, one to a missionary whose wife passed with cancer, one to the mother of a nursing student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, who has been looking for something to share with the families of her terminally ill brain cancer patients, one to the wife of a Viet Nam vet who is suffering from the after effects of Agent Orange, one to a man whose company was on the brink of bankruptcy, one to a discouraged pastor's wife, one to a lady whose husband is an addict...thank you for writing this book of hope to comfort God's people."
— G. Ascherl

"When you have questions about the tough situations of life, you need a guidebook to get you through. This is that book - a must read!“
— Beth Jones

"The crises of life come to us all. What is important is knowing what to do in the crisis. The answer is God’s Word and knowing how to apply it in your case. . ."
— Billye Brim

"Karen doesn't just talk the talk, but she has walked the walk. She shares from her own journey—a journey that is full of inspiration and rich instruction. . .“
— Tony Cooke

"...a book of hope to comfort God's people..."
— Review from a Reader

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