Understand God’s Role in Your Tragedy

Understand God’s Role in Your Tragedy

Reframing loss, illness, or grief is a journey from exile. Consciously and unconsciously, we feel tremendous anger, despair, depression, and resentment. Waves of emotion overwhelm our minds. Reframing is not about minimizing, fighting, or ignoring what we have been through; it is about returning from a destination where we feel displaced, disconnected, or depressed. Although we cannot change what happened, we can change our thoughts, our perspective, and our approach to move forward in life.

In my new book The Rewired Brain, I point out that one of the most important things we can do when tragedy strikes is to come to peace with our beliefs about the cause(s) of tragedy

I am always blown away by the foolish things people say to someone going through heartbreak or tragedy. A few years ago, I attended a funeral service of a teenager who had committed suicide. As I stood in line waiting to speak with his parents, I struggled with what to say. Words did not come easily. I knew spouting a monologue or offering advice would be pointless. So I just told this couple who had endured an unthinkable loss how sorry I was and then hugged them tight. What else was there to say?

Unfortunately, I have heard perhaps well-intentioned but misguided people respond in these circumstances with phrases and clichés that only enhance the sufferer’s pain or spotlight a disturbing theological perspective.

If your husband has left you for another woman, if your child has a fatal disease and is in the hospital for the tenth time, if you are dealing with a debilitating physical or mental illness, the last thing you want or need to hear is:

“This is God’s will, and you have to accept it.”

“God never gives us more than we can handle.”

“God has selected you for this burden because he knows how strong you are.”

Perhaps one of the most horrible statements I have heard was when someone approached a couple who had just suffered the loss of their only child. This person said, “I’m sorry you’re sad. But God obviously needed your baby as an angel in heaven more than you did.” I can say with confidence that was not, nor ever will be, the case.

In his book The Will of God, English theologian Leslie Weatherhead tells the profound story of being in India with a friend who had lost his young son in a cholera epidemic. Weatherhead walked beside his friend, who paced up and down the veranda of his home only a few feet away from his sleeping daughter, his only surviving child. The bereaved man turned to the great theologian and said, “Well, padre, it is the will of God. That’s all there is to it. It is the will of God.”

Weatherhead gently disagreed. He loved his friend and knew him well enough to reply with the following words: “Suppose someone crept up the steps of the veranda tonight, while you all slept, and deliberately put a wad of cotton soaked in cholera germ culture over the little girl’s mouth as she lay in that cot on the veranda, what would you think about that?” The father was horrified and replied by saying he would kill the intruder and then asked why he would even suggest such a cruel thing.

Weatherhead quietly explained to his friend that that was what he had done when he had characterized his son’s death as God’s will.

“Call your little boy’s death the result of mass ignorance, call it mass folly, call it mass sin, if you like, call it bad drains or communal carelessness, but don’t call it the will of God.”

What you attribute your tragedy to will make a huge difference in your capacity to reframe it. Whatever you have been through or are going through as you read these words, do not blame God for your suffering.

I love the words of Rabbi Harold Kushner in hid classic book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, “ The God I believe in doesn’t send us the problem; He gives us the strength to cope with the problem.”




Body Fear Health How to Rewire Mind Relationships/Sex Resources Soul Uncategorized

Feed the Right Dog

Our thought life is powerful. Actions, good and bad, result from what we think about. I love what the Episcopal bishop John Beckwaith said in the nineteenth century:

Plant a thought and reap a word;

plant a word and reap an action;

plant an action and reap a habit;

plant a habit and reap a character;

plant a character and reap a destiny.

If you want to become a more generous person, you must push your Self to regularly do good things for others. If you start down that path, over time you will become a generous person. If you tell your Self, “I’m not a generous person. It’s just not in my nature,” then you will continue to give to others sparingly. As Beckwaith says above, we become the type of people our thoughts tell us to be.

When you have a thought that you repeatedly act upon, your thoughts and resultant actions become a habit. Through this process you direct your brain to change its wiring. Repetition of the same thoughts, actions, and habits strengthens the wiring to make the habit more powerful.

While emotional dysfunctions and addictions are hardwired in your brain, you can weaken them by not using them and build new wiring to a better place by thinking differently.

We scientific nerds have a saying that, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” That simply means that the neurons and pathways most used become stronger, so wire neurons together that produce good habits and emotional health.

Because your thoughts matter, it is important to learn to be careful with them. Do not compromise your Self. With time and practice, be conscious of any negative or Self-destructive thoughts because they highly influence who you are and who you will become. In light of our new understanding of genetics and its relationship to brain plasticity, emotional dysfunctions and negative Self-talk take on a whole new meaning. Thinking the same negative or unhealthy thoughts will reap an unhealthy and negative destiny.

Fortunately, recent science in positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapies suggests that the converse is also true. You can plant positive thoughts of change and reap positive brain wiring, actions, character, and ultimately a positive future.

I have heard several variations of the following story: “A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”[i]

Because of brain plasticity, the thoughts we feed the most get stronger.

Want to change your life and your mind? Change your thoughts. I want to encourage you that even right now you are in the center of change.

By simply reading this blog post you are beginning to understand that you may have been feeding the wrong dog. Here is the most important and exciting news: you own your mind and can choose how to focus your thoughts. Because of the wonders of brain plasticity, your Self-directed thoughts, choices, and actions can change your brain and your mind. This takes desire, practice, many new starts, and courage to work hard.

Pay close attention to the latter part of what I just wrote.  It is hard work to change your brain and your mind but it can be done, and it ALL starts by feeding the right dog.


Mind Resources Soul Uncategorized

Pre-order The Rewired Brain


I’m excited to announce that my new book, The Rewired Brain, is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

This book has been my passion and priority for a long time now — not because I just woke up one day wanting to write a book or be known as an author, but because I have personally experienced the transformation and freedom that its message and principles bring. I wrote The Rewired Brain because I needed The Rewired Brain; and I want to share it with anyone else who does, too.

I just can’t wait for you to get your hands on the Rewired Brain and see what incredible discoveries you make and goals you achieve upon meeting your true SELF for the very first time.











Resources Uncategorized