Why would God allow?

Last night my wife and I found out her younger brother (47) has a mass on his pancreas. We don’t know if it’s cancer or not until more testing is done. However, my wife’s family is very hyper sensitive to this as my in-laws both died within 18 months of each other from pancreatic cancer less than 10 years ago. They were both in their early 60’s. My wife took their deaths so hard she was diagnosed with PTSD as they both died in front of her. All that is past her now with meds and counseling and I am doing everything I can to keep her together. Her question to me last night was how could God allow this to happen again. I have no response to her as this hit me hard as well but my faith tells me her brother will survive this. Her older brother also stated once he found out that if he (his younger bother) has pancreatic cancer he will become an atheist. I am really struggling on how or what to say to them at this point other than we need to pray more, say the rosary, light candles etc. I have asked my sister to include him in and the family in her prayer chain and I ask that you all please do the same for Brian. I look forward to your thoughts on this matter. God Bless you all.


Hello Larry,

I’m so sorry that your family has received this bad news. :hug1: I will pray a rosary for your family.

Your relatives reaction of questioning and anger is a natural reaction. If we are lucky, we live a long and healthy full life. Death is a natural part of the cycle of life. I come from a culture that accepts death at a young age. I remember mourning around a dead relative at 5yo. Children in our culture are not shielded from death, they are taught at a very young age that life doesn’t go on forever and to accept that and to live every moment.

My 12yo cousin passed away 3 years ago from Lupus. It was diagnosed too late. If she lived in Australia she would have been diagnosed early and still be alive.

Her father is a Protestant pastor, never harmed anyone, loved everybody, perpetual smile on his face. In the beginning of her illness he questioned… why, why me Lord, have I not served you faithfully, don’t take my only daughter. Then he bargained, take me Lord, let her live.

A week before her death, I noticed a substantial shift in his demeanour. He gathered the family and he said…" I have struggled a fierce spiritual battle for the past month but I have come to accept the outcome whatever it may be. I thank God for blessing me and my family for 12 years with our precious daughter, she has taught all of us important life lessons. We do not belong here, we are all on borrowed time, our soul is forever longing to be reunited with God, to return home where it belongs. God lent her to this family and we gladly accepted her, if God calls her home we must accept it however difficult it may be".

Losing a loved one is heart breaking. I take comfort in knowing that even though this physical life will end someday, it’s not THE END. Our souls are immortal and God willing I will be reunited someday with my loved ones who have gone ahead.

I forgot to add. Today my Pastor relative uses the experience of the fierce spiritual battle he endured whilst losing his 12yo daughter to teach and counsel his parishioners. He said that during his toughest moment when he knew in his heart that his daughter would not live he went to the Hospital chapel and he yelled in the empty room…do what you want with me and my family, I will not walk away from you, I will not abandon my faith. I’ll still be standing. I’ll still be keeping my family strong and together. I’ll still be preaching your word. I’ll still be defending you.

God tests those whom He loves. We cannot see the future which God envisions for us, but we do know that He greatly desires that we should be with Him in eternity. Does your wife believe that her parents are in heaven? If so, for God’s own sake and to see her parents, she should desire to enter heaven as well. Yet, this life is a struggle, one of suffering and tears, as Saint Paul writes.

If she is a reader, perhaps a copy of Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s book Arise from Darkness would help her. Above all, we must know that only the Lord can turn our sorrow into joy - the manner in which He chooses to do this remains mysterious and incomprehensible to us.

As to the strength to get through this, an appeal to Pope Saint John Paul II would certainly be appropriate, as he lost essentially his entire family at a fairly young age.

This I found in the ask an apologist sub-forum a few weeks back and have shared it a couple of times already. It is from Father Charles Grondin.

 "...remember that God does not get us out of anything, but He will get us through everything."

 May you and yours be filled with loving kindness. May you and yours be well. May you and yours be peaceful and at ease. May you and yours be happy. Blessings.

I’m am very sorry for what your wife’s brother and family are going through. It’s not always possible to understand why God allows suffering and disease. It is true that good can come out of tragedy, but why God sometimes believes that the good from tragedy is greater than the good of healing the person, we will never know. It is a mystery. Pray, pray, pray along with your family for a miracle, but also pray for the ability to accept whatever God decides is best.

Remember that whatever happens, this is not the end for this loved one. Assuming he is Catholic and in a state of grace, should the worst happen, he will be on his way to heaven. You will see him again. Even if he isn’t in a state of grace, it sounds like he still has time for the Sacraments of Confession and Anointing of the Sick. This is the time for family to draw together around your wife’s brother. There is time to create many good, lasting memories with your family and this person that you will all cherish the rest of your lives. Again, I’m sorry your family is having to go through this, but I have hope your family will find a way.

Thank you all for the kind words. Brian and his wife are going up to see their daughters at college today and tell them what is going on. I will continue my prayers for him and his family and for those that will care for him at a hospital to be determined. I will update you all on the outcome of future tests. Thank you all again. God Bless you.

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