How could God allow this to happen?

I have lived in this world for a fair number of years now … enough that I don’t really want to say how many! I am also pretty intelligent, and I am a thinker. I like to delve into things, plumb them to their depths. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how much I don’t know, even about the workings of my own heart. Well, perhaps especially about the workings of my own heart.

Last week I was at a Bible study, and during worship we were singing some older worship songs. I found myself transported back to 1988, to standing at my kitchen sink, to the place I was at the moment Michaela was kidnapped. It was really common at that time for me to sing worship songs while I washed the dishes. Some people sing in the shower, I spent much of my life singing over the dishes. Back then I’d sing along with Sandi Patty, Dallas Holm, the Gaithers, 2nd Chapter of Acts. I don’t know if I was singing on that morning. I don’t recall it if I was. But it was me, who I was, a mom who sang worship songs while washing the dishes.

But on that morning while I stood at the sink, just a couple of blocks away, a stranger was stealing my child, my little girl. That was perhaps the most striking part of this experience, how very real Michaela’s presence was to me. I could literally feel her. I was aware of her height as she stood next to me, the warmth and solidity of her body, how it felt to hold her in my arms. I could feel the wispiness of her fine blonde hair as I ran my fingers through it. I could see her eyes, how big and how blue they were, her gentle smile. It was one of those moments when I realize how much of a distance I have established in my heart from the reality of this grief. I know somewhat of this distance. I know that there is a black hole of grief in the center of my life, and I know that I rarely allow myself to get close enough to peer into it because I am afraid I will fall into its depths and never find my way out. People talk about my strength, but I am not so strong. If I was really strong I would be able to hold my daughter’s presence in my heart and in my mind all the time. In fact, I don’t know if I would have been able to survive the past 25 years if I had not created a distance from the grief, which sadly became a distance from Michaela. Sometimes it seemed so impossible that such a terrible thing could have happened that it seemed as though it was all a nightmare, something that existed only in the darkest hours of the night.

Those times of lucidity like I experienced at that Bible study are heart wrenchingly painful. And yet they are extraordinarily beautiful, as I am able to feel Michaela’s presence, to hold her in my arms, to feel the full beauty and … well, there are no words to describe it … the joy of her presence … the just plain LOVE I felt for her. And that love was extraordinary, for my first child, the answer to my prayers, the fulfillment of my longing, the beautiful, intelligent, graceful, gracious and endlessly kind little girl with whom I was blessed. Oh friends, this feeling is so intense, so beautiful, and so, so, so, so painful because it isn’t real, because when I open my eyes she will not be there. I cannot entertain this kind of exquisite heartache for very long, or very often. I have to close my eyes to it, to turn back to the world in which I live, in order to function. I sigh. I spend most of my time and energy thinking about Michaela, what she had to endure, what she might be enduring now. Me? My feelings? I put them in the category of less important. But the fact is simple. I miss her.

Beyond that is something else, though. It was a Bible study after all, and we were singing worship songs. I have resolved this question a dozen times, the question of how God could have allowed this to happen, of why he didn’t save Michaela. And yet I saw myself, a young mother who stood at the kitchen sink singing worship songs, a mother who had told her daughter that if ever she needed help and I wasn’t there that she should ask God, and God would help her. And a wave of new grief welled up in me. God, how could you have allowed that? I put my faith in you, and yet you allowed such a terrible thing to happen to me, to my child, who also put her faith in you. Grief and anger flowed through me, and I realized how much was still unresolved, how much healing there was that I had yet to experience, all these long 25 years later. I resolve these issues in my mind time and time again. But I have turned away from God not once but twice since Michaela was kidnapped. Always it is for reasons completely unrelated to Michaela. Or so I think. This last time it was really simply over the issue of God’s goodness. In my mind, it didn’t have anything to do with Michaela, but in my heart how could it not? It also happened at one of the points of deepest, deepest sorrow and depression I have experienced since Michaela was kidnapped, after Jaycee was found, when I had believed that Michaela might also be found, but wasn’t…. Yet I managed to tell myself that my turning from my faith was unrelated to this, because I am not a strong woman. I am a woman who just cannot face and embrace the depth and breadth of the horror and grief of it all. I am emotionally crippled, because that is the only way I can live with the life I have been given.

I was listening to Pastor Rick Warren the other day. I hang on his words, the words of his wife Kaye. They lost their son just a year ago. He suffered from mental illness and eventually committed suicide. Pastor Rick said you can’t go around your grief. You have to go through it. You have to experience it. I think this is more difficult when your child is missing than when your child has died. When your child is missing there are so many other issues to keep you from your own grief. There is that dratted hope, the one that keeps insisting that maybe you don’t have to grieve, because maybe she is still alive, maybe she will come home. There is the concern for your child. You can’t say she is in a good place and tend to your own wounds. You have to always be concerned for her suffering. There is the work to be done, the mailing of flyers, the giving of interviews, the writing of blogs, just keeping the story out there so that perhaps someone who knows will be motivated to tell you what really happened to your child …… so that perhaps she will see it, and it will give her the strength to break free of wherever she may be, to come home. With all that, how can you grieve?

I don’t know. I don’t know my heart. I don’t know my soul. I am as lost as anybody else out there. I am drowning in grief and don’t even know it. I have, however, come back to my faith … tentatively, shakily. God reaches down and I hold out my hand to him to take it, pull me up above this sea of denial, to where I can feel again, to where I can breathe.

A note found in one of Michaela’s books
 after she was kidnapped.

Michaela, in my heart, I think you are probably not in this world. I think you are probably there, in God’s presence. But I can’t know that. So I will keep reaching out to you. And if you are alive, perhaps you can join me, and reach your hand up to God. He is pretty stubborn, I find. Once you are his, he may let you wander but he will not let you go. It’s a solemn promise. You are his, I know. You gave your heart to him at a very young age. So if you are there, reach out to God because he is already reaching out to you. Take his hand, and I pray he will lead you home.

I love you forever, baby girl. Wherever you are, I will see you again.


15 thoughts on “How could God allow this to happen?

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  1. It's a true gift that someone who has experienced such profound suffering has such a beautiful ability to express and share it in this way. Your words help others make sense of their own grief and I hope that itself is of comfort to you. xx


  2. Greetings Sharon, I read this powerful, genuine, earnest hearted post several times last night and found myself speechless. The writing skills used in expressing the difficult heart wrenching dimensions of your life experiences is outstanding. Because I couldn’t find words to say I noted the “total page views” box wondering how many others might have also found themselves coming to read out of luv and concern and ending up speechless. Since late last night to this afternoon a little over 400 world-wide “views” are registered! ❤ Thank you for sharing your light & life with us.p.s. I looked up one of the singers, I’d not heard of, that you mentioned. He sings well & from the heart. Thanks for the intro.<3 “Dallas Holm – He Knew Me Then!” <3


  3. Thanks, anonymous. There are actually 541,757 pageviews right now, according to the blog host statistics. There is a running number in the right hand column. I installed a site meter because there is information about individual visits that the blog host doesn't provide, but I didn't install it right away when I started the blog, and I do not know how overall accurate it is.


  4. Wow! The count I noted @ midnight was 541,192 ! It renews my hope in the widespread goodness of humanity and immense on-going luv for Michaela and your family. The comments here and on your FB pg is very special. I like your new FB profile pic.:)


  5. Sharon, your genuine love for your precious daughter is evident in every syllable of this painfully beautiful post. Please know I am praying for you, for Michaela, for your entire family. I'm awed by your strength and resilience.


  6. “How could G-d allow this to happen?” continues to be the cry out of so many world-wide faithful followers. You described the heartbreak so well. I too, with a different horrific background, came face to face with core questions after becoming a Christian in adulthood. I had given my heart to Christ as a child in a Christian camp meeting. I returned to my non-Christian household and the experience faded. Although as you said G-d will let us wonder but holds Divines side of the commitment made. In adulthood after the Christian honeymoon of the new and wonderful life began to fade the reasons I had stayed away rose up demanding an alternative view to my prior justification.I found myself fuming when believers would respond to my question of where G-d was with their sincere “He was weeping” comment–My heart rebelled and inside I screamed “I don't want a G-d who weeps while I suffer…I want a G-d who DOES something!” In depth Old and New study followed but still did not minister to the greatest tear filled questions.. Understanding that free-will is the gift given at all times and abused by choice was examined……. When the sacred old testament texts spoke of Daniel's 3 friends being thrown in a fiery furnace for their unyielding faith I found a measure of comfort with the revealing of the presence of G-d being in their WITH (next to) them. When Stephen was being stoned for his faith the heavens opened and he viewed G-d standing up and was strengthened. Hearing of the OUTSIDE presence comforted some what.. The answers to the tough questions like you have asked for me finally began to shine through in rays of Light that tied everything together.. It began with the texts that gives name to the coming Holy One. The definition of the name means “G-d WITH us” Comprehensive prayerful continued study of the nature of The Holy Spirit's role IN the believers heart and life reveals the answers my soul has longed for. The high cost paid from the genesis garden to the gethsemane garden trod so the broken fellowship with humanity could be restored. “Where were you G-d?” now has answers. “When you do this to the least of my brethren you do this TO Me.”…why, because during those times G-d was IN me.Bless you on your continued unfolding journey.


  7. Rmn 5:5……..”And HOPE maketh not ashamed, because the love of G-d is shed abroad IN our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”Act 2:4 ….“And they were all FILLED with the Holy Ghost”Eph 1:13”……ye were SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise” ❤


  8. I just wish God would let us know where Michaela is!!!!! I want to know if she is here or with Him! I started following this blog after Jaycee was found and Michaela was in the news again. Now I think about her all the time. I just wish we all KNEW what happened that day! It is so frustrating and sad.


  9. My heart is heavy with your burden,, not knowing must be tormenting,,, but we know God sees all, knows all,, whoever took her,, may his heart be softened to reveal the truth, to put peace with you,, may she be alive, may she reach out,, I ask the Lord would put this at rest,, the truth to be revealed,, dear God, please dont let this family suffer anymore,, please allow Michaela's where about be known,, please comfort the wounds of the heart,, to all who know her,,, esp Mom,, Dad, siblings,, I ask this in Jesus name,,, love and hugs ,,, tears with you in this journey,,, hope in God,, strength in him, and peace that passes all understanding,, oh may he fill the hearts with peace knowing God didnt do this,, man did,, vengeance is his,, trusting in him alone,, thank you Lord you hear all our prayers, your children crying out,,,, please act Lord on behalf of this God fearing family,, in Jesus holy name,, amen,,


  10. It was the destiny… Someone saw her, wanted her and took her. I either don't want to believe she's resting in peace in God's Place, I want to keep hoping she's still out there and longing for home. If she is, she might be in a place she can't contact with the world.Sharon, have you ever wondered why? I think that's the greatest question of all, WHY? Why was she kidnapped? Not that God had anything to do with it, I want to ask why do strangers kidnap children, little girls and boys and take them to God knows where to the edge of the world? Or get rid of them only a safe distance away from the actual places? Because, I think they are desperate, impulsive an coward-like people. Some of them may be mentally unstable, pedofiles. They don't usually want money, they just want some playdolls, power over little children. Kidnappings happen almost every day in America I've heard. I'm not American. I'm from Northern Europe, much smaller and obviously safer country. But I can't ignore those sad stories. There are so, so many long missing kids in the USA, and I feel wrenching pain in my heart for them too. Kidnappers are cruel, ignorant and obsessed to feel themselves powerful.So when Michaela was kidnapped, and so many other children that aren't even provingly kidnapped, it happened against her will. Against anyone's will. And, I believe, against God's will. It was the destiny's will. You can't defy it. It can make such bad things to happen, make some people's heart break and leave big holes to them for a really, really long time.God can't affect everything. Above him, there's destiny. I believe what so scary and terrifying happened to Michaela, wasn't allowed by God. I think it was allowed by destiny. Who ever stole her away from her young, great life, can't defy destiny either. Someday he will be revealed, by himself or someone else. When he is found, Michaela can be found. You can't defy destiny, but it leaves us to HOPE and PRAY.To Sharon, from Emilia


  11. Actually Emilia kidnappings don't happen every day in America. They are blessedly rare enough that the club of those of us who are the parents of the missing belong to a small club. Most of the missing children you see on posters are parental abductions and runaways.I disagree with you about destiny being above God. Nothing is above God. And I trust him to work things out for good according to his purposes.


  12. Thank you for your answer, Sharon. I clearly wasn't totally aware of that, thanks for letting me know. I do respect your opinion. My faith for God is very strong. I do guess that destiny can't always be chosen. Sometimes it can be, anyway.I keep praying for Michaela and God bless you.Emilia


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