When God Doesn’t Make Sense

Today she asked the hardest questions.

The kind that don’t have answers.

We spent the morning teaching the girls and staff of Mercy House about leadership, positive attitude  in difficult circumstances and the love of God. It was rich. The girls took notes and sat in rapt attention.

As we wrapped up the two-hour session, we opened it up for questions. We are still in that silent-awkward phase, where we are getting reacquainted. There are eight little reasons that make the transition easy (who were being cared for in the baby room by Maureen and my kiddos during our session):

And then she raised her hand, quietly, but the urgency of her question, hung in the air.

“You speak of God and how much he loves us.  I would like to know why he allowed me to suffer so much? He is powerful, yes? Why doesn’t he stop the bad things?”

The question was heavy, it came from a place of pain I can’t imagine: this girl who had been gang raped by evil men, the memory and trauma very fresh.

A 17 year old mother, her baby conceived in a wicked world, grasping for something to hold onto, but I’ve watched her for two days now tenderly care for her baby. It’s a beautiful heartbreak, this world we live in.

My heart broke for her trying so hard to understand the why’s of suffering. Suddenly, our tidy message from the western world seemed empty.

I looked at her with tears thick, and I said, “God stepped into your pain and brought you here. We have suffering in our world because of sin, but you aren’t alone. Jesus is here and somehow even when he doesn’t make sense, he is still God and he loves you.”

My husband offered her tender promises from the Bible and we acknowledged her very real struggle to understand. But in the end we can only lean into God’s Sovereignty even when we have more questions than answers.

An hour later, we huddled in a room (21 of us!) and we sang of his great faithfulness.

Because even when we can’t explain the why’s, we trust anyway.


  1. 2


    This post comes so timely for me… I just shared that my 13 year old cousin just died suddenly and tragically on Saturday… he was healthy, strong, and literally just dropped dead in his home— the day before his 14th birthday. There are no words, no answers to the whys. And somehow we grapple for trust in the midst of darkness and brokenness; we reach out for all we know is true: Christ loves us.
    Thanks so much for sharing :) Blessings on that sweet girl and on your trip.

    • 2.1

      Patty says

      “And somehow we grapple for trust in the midst of darkness and brokeness; we reach out for all we know is true:Christ loves us” Thank you for reminding me of this. I live in the same community as this young man and I have really struggled for days to make sense of his death. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you and your family.

    • 2.2

      AmberK says

      A nightmare for parents, Lauren, and for his family. I’m so very sorry for your loss…Your prayers will be added to mine. Patty, we just have to remember to embrace Him and His plan even in the thickest moments of fear and anger and confusion and heart break. He’s the only Hope after such tragedy…His promises are our only hope.

      Hugs to both of you.

  2. 3


    My humanness has struggled to make sense of pain and has wished for justice. I’m sure that until HE comes again…I’ll long for answers. This year my Community Bible Study group was in Revelation. The image of my JUDGE in the end has given me HOPE for tomorrow. Rev 21:3-8 This has encouraged me…and I hope HIS TRUTH will encourage you.

  3. 5



    I know there is no easy anwser for this question but I do know that His glory and beauty are shining through the broken hearts as He heals them and brings them nearer to Him. We all ask these questions searching for God in our pain and suffering and in the end we do have to surreneder it all to Him and trust that He is who He says He is and simply rest in His love for us, right now where we are in our story.

    Thank you for your shining example of reaching out in love and living in light of the gospel.

  4. 6

    Shani Pearce says

    Watching those beautiful girls sing about the faithfulness of God made me sob. Beauty for ashes….God is so faithful, and even when we don’t understand or are faithless. As I watch them sing, I think how insignificant my problems seem in light of what they have been through at such an early age. Thank you Lord! And thank you for sharing. I am so touched.

  5. 7

    Kysia says

    I’ve been struggling with this myself. As a missionary in Uganda, a girl came to me with no hope. Her eyes were stone cold. She wanted me to pray for her, but I couldn’t understand her words. It was difficult praying, because all I could I ask was for the Holy Spirit to intervene and speak for me. Later the same girl came back to me with a nurse in our clinic. The nurse translated. She had been raped and was afraid. Having known her fear I just sat and cried with her. Then we prayed again crying out to Jesus together asking for guidance. Asking for hope through healing. I don’t know why bad things happen, but I’m thankful God is there.

  6. 8


    Beautiful song! And, I do believe you answered the question beautifully as well. Keep doing the wonderful things you do through His grace and mercy.

  7. 9


    Thank you for taking the time to post how God is working each day during your trip. My stomach was in knots as I read today’s post knowing that while our situations are very different I understand the questions that attack when you are faced with attempting to reconcile God’s goodness with the unbearable pain that comes in the face of suffering. God is beginning to show me that I have to come to the realization that some things are beyond human understanding and I have to collapse in the arms of our loving Father, who is sovereign, who will one day grant me complete understanding after I leave this place and go to my real home! Oh, What a glorious day that will be!
    Father, please wrap your arms around this young girl. It brings me physical pain that such a young, vulnerable
    girl is having to try and reconcile Your goodness with the very real suffering that she is dealing with.
    Please allow your mercy and grace to shine through the loving eyes of her child and allow your peace to engulf her
    mind, her soul, and especially her heart. Our words seem so empty when put up against the suffering that springs
    from the wickedness of this world. BUT YOUR LOVE IS REAL! Use the Welch family, and the Mercy House
    family to reveal YOUR LOVE to my sisters in Christ across the globe!

  8. 10

    Kim says

    You are such a gift to these girls and their beautiful babies. When I read this my thought was that God gave these girls you – one woman willing to do whatever it took to give them a chance at a better life. You inspire me – I hope that one day I can have a purpose in life as great as yours. But until the time that my purpose is revealed to me by God, I’ll continue to follow along your journey, learn from your actions and kindness, and pray for you and Mercy House. God bless you Kristin, you are an amazing woman of God.

  9. 11

    Kim says

    I’m not a big crier, but the tears come thinking of her pain. I want to hug her tightly and somehow through that physical touch impart the lessons God has taught me through suffering so her road might be a little easier. I imagine you ache for them to understand the fullness of your heart and the heart of God for them.

    Such beauty in their song in the midst of their pain. A sweet aroma of praise to God. A sacrifice of praise even when they don’t fully understand the how’s and whys of their journey.

  10. 12

    Stephanie Carreno says

    When you don’t understand why, just trust God! Trust His heart! Trust His purpose! – Anne Graham Lotz
    Thank you for your serving heart and dedication to your family, Mercy house and most of all to God. To God be the glory.
    Learning to love like Him,

  11. 13

    Heather says

    My 9 year old daughter who tells me daily she wants to be a missionary in Africa came out of her room as I was reading this. She said, “Mom, who are those ladies singing How Great Thou Art…and in what language?” I told her where you were and that the women were singing in Swahili. She said, “That is SO cool! Play it again.” She watched it three times with the biggest smile on her face. The Lord has big plans for her and people like you pave the way for people like my daughter to dream big. Our God is Big and I pray the women at Mercy House (many of them actually just girls) feel His BIG, BIG love all over their lives. Amen!

  12. 14

    Amy says

    Whilst it’s terrible circumstances I didn’t seem to find it difficult to answer this question.

    Suffering happens because of:
    1. Our sins
    2. Other peoples sins
    3. Because we have an enemy (read Ephesians 6)

    In this young girls case it would be the last two. Our God loves us incredibly. Yet He chooses to allow people the choices that they have wrong or right.

    There is so much incredible hope for everyone through Him, and healing to be had.
    Bless you and your work..
    In Him

  13. 15


    Sigh. Such a sweet, tragic and true post. I trust that the Lord is good, that He loves us, and that He will return. This is all I know. Thanks for sharing this experience.

  14. 16


    I have been stalking your blog enjoying the updates and tears filled my eyes at this post. The heartache she has experienced. I was told to memorize a verse, mark 9:24 “I do believe, help me to overcome my unbelief.” we don’t always know why, we may doubt, and we may question, but if we never doubted or questioned we would never believe. You are doing an amazing thing and I love seeing God’s work and love being done through you.

  15. 17


    What a toughie. Praise God for the wisdom He’s given your family to share His love and truths with these girls. Praying you all have a very enlightening experience and are being filled with and filling others with more and more of the Holy Spirit every day.

  16. 18


    Such a common question. There is so much hurt in this world. I hope she was comforted and realized what God has done for her in her life. I like to think of it from the perspective of a parent. God loves each of us, even the wicked, he allows a small amount of suffering because he wants the wicked to come back to their heavenly father so they have a chance to spend eternity with him. If my child did something horrendous, I would want her to repent, I would want to give her a chance. You are a courageous woman.

  17. 19


    Exactly! And it’s worship to Him…when we tell of our questioning, and when we trust anyway. It honors Him most in those times.

    Rich blessings as He speaks to you about His love while He’s moving in you to love on those sweet girls.

  18. 20


    What a wonderful thing you all are doing…such beautiful girls and their babies. So sad that most of them look like they could be teenagers…thank you for being there for them and giving them a safe place to land…God is so good.

  19. 21


    This is truly touching and I am so thankful I read it. It is so easy to get sucked into the poor me syndrome, and then you see other believers around the world…and get sooo convicted. I am so happy that you are there to answer the hard questions. You and your family are a huge blessing to these girls and little ones. May the Lord bless you in all you do and may He let you see the fruit of your labor this side of heaven. God is amazing and I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  20. 22

    Molly says

    As a rape survivor, I have struggled with this question myself. Over several years, I have learned to trust God even when I don’t understand His ways. I also try to remember that although God made each one of us, and although He is with us every day, he does not control our every action, as though we humans are puppets on strings. The gift of free will brings with it great responsibility, and too many human beings choose not to live up to that repsonsibility. Thank you for choosing to use your free will to lift people up, rather than to harm them.

  21. 23

    AmberK says

    Kristen…I know your heart is real and therefore I know how you must hurt with them. And I believe you’re being God in those moments of being genuine. I believe that those girls see you cry with them for them and that they see a glimpse of Him in you. I know that your answers to them, and Terrell’s as well, come from the inner most depths of your hearts and that those girls will benefit and grow because it’s so real. I’m praying for strength and for peace and for hope and for joy and for understanding…and most of all, for Faith. To just believe in the thick of it all. So hard…but so good.
    He will fill you when you need Him too.

    Hugs and Prayers to you, sweet friend!

  22. 24


    That is the one song that my mind and heart still ALWAYS sing in Swahili…even in an English-speaking service here in the States. Can’t help it…I think “How Great Thou Art” was meant to be sung in Swahili! So beautiful. And, such a moving post about hard questions and the struggle to have faith in the midst of them. Prayers for you and your family and the women at Mercy House….

  23. 25

    Jami says

    Someone once explained the “bad things” to me in this way… God loves us all, bad or good, and has granted us ALL free-will. Every person has a choice to make. To follow the path that Jesus showed us, or to give in to Satan and his ways. Unfortunately many people follow Satan (the men the raped her) and while God is powerful and can stop many things, he can not revoke the free will given to others. Sadly, many innocent victims suffer from the free will of others. But through her very painful experience, joy came…her baby. He also showed her the way to live a different life, to be delivered from that evil, away from those men, at Mercy House. He will continue to show her the way and she has the free will to follow or not. There is no explanation for her pain other than Satan. But God will heal.

  24. 26


    Their song was beautiful and I think you handled the situation in teh best way possible. Bad things happen, horrible things happen, things we can’t imgine why happen…BUT we can take those things as lessons and through the bad may others see how we handle it and learn from it as well. God is good, and the love from Him is wonderful. I’m so happy you will be able to share His love and teachings with these women!

  25. 27

    Sharyl says

    Thank you for your message today….it’s what my husband and I needed to hear as we parent our 4 special needs children.

    God bless your work and safe travels. Sharyl

  26. 29

    Jocelyn says

    oh Kirsten… the hope and love you guys are sharing there is amazing. I know that it is hard to be faced with things that you cannot imagine. But you are digging so deep inside your heart to truly hear these girls… to hear their pain and not have sympathy, but complete empathy for them and the life they have lived. You are bringing Jesus to them, you are bringing hope to them… in the midst of an evil and cruel world, you are helping- with each of these precious girls- to make it just that much brighter. Praying for you guys daily as you love on and serve and teach these precious women.

  27. 30

    Sharon B says

    I loved your use of the words “beautiful heartbreak” because there is a wonderful song by Hilary Weeks called, “Beautiful Heartbreak” that totally brings me to tears every time I hear it or watch the video. Life never turns out how we imagine it will and there is so many things that will derail our “plans” but we need to trust that God will carry us through and show us the beautiful things that can come from our heartbreaks. I will continue to pray for you and your family!

    I’m not sure if it will work, but here’s a link to the video for this song.

  28. 31

    Danielle says

    I love your blog. Your faith and trust in God is astounding. I personally can’t imagine my life without Jesus, and seeing you traveling to other countries and just serving Him and others is inspirational. Thank you for sharing that with us and praying that God keeps blessing your family and renewing your strength.

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