My Response to Bill Maher’s Question on “Huckabee” Last Week

The following is a response I have written to a specific question Bill Maher asked Governor Mike Huckabee on last week’s edition of the Governor’s hit Fox News TV show.  Maher asked why “God allows pain and suffering?”  Maher went on to specifically reference children born with “that terrible cleft lip.”  In the link above you can see that Governor Huckabee gave a very good answer for the short time he had but since the question hit home to me I wanted to respond in my own way:

To Bill Maher,

My name is Brian Donegan.  I am 26 years old and from Lawrenceville, GA  I served as a blogger, volunteer, and Meetup organizer for the Presidential campaign of Governor Mike Huckabee.  As a big fan of his I never miss watching his new television show and on a recent episode he interviewed you and had a very civil discussion on religion.  During the discussion you asked the question “Why does God allow pain and suffering if he is supposed to love us?”  Specifically you went on to ask “Why are children born with that terrible cleft lip?”  The question tugged at my heart because it definitely hit close to home.  I’d like to answer your question but first I’d like to tell you my story.

I was born “physically challenged” with many birth defects.  the most pronounced of these is my lack of sight (I am legally blind).  I was also born with a cleft lip and palate, a pituitary dysfunction, missing joints on some of my fingers, no sense of smell (in fact no nose at all just a hole where it should be) among others.  Despite testing negative for every known disease and disorder in 1982, my doctors gave me six weeks to live.  If I was blessed to live longer they said I’d be a “vegetable.”  At two month old I caught pneumonia and was rushed back to the hospital.  After that my heart began to fail and my skin started turning blue.  I was rushed into ICU.  On thanksgiving of 1982 I underwent emergency surgery.  Through the care of my surgeons, the love of my parents and family, and the blessings of God I survived.  Life is very precious to me and if I ever need a reminder all I have to do is look at the scar on my right wrist where my IV had to be placed.

Sometimes the best answer to “WHY does God allow bad things? ”  is simply to answer that because HE is GOD, He knows all, He created all, and my understanding is so small of things, I cannot begin to fully know the mind of God.  I am the CREATED.  He is the CREATOR.   But He has given us HIS Word to know Him by.  And the more I study that, the more I know Him and His Character, How He thinks, Why He does the things He does.  When I know Him, I live by FAITH in trusting Him and not needing to question or doubt why He allows bad things to happen.  His Word says that in the beginning, He created a perfect world for his first creatures, man and woman )Adam & Eve).  He gave them a free will in that perfect environment, and they chose to disobey because of their selfishness and pride.  The world of people that God created has been a fallen one ever since.  GOD didn’t plan it that way.  WE messed up.  That is why God sent his SON to cover our fallenness.   Otherwise we are sunk.  We can’t please God on our own.  Only a perfect, willing, sacrifice could provide a covering for sin–one that CAME from God–His SON, sinless and still part human, with a WILLING HEART that accepted the role of Savior, complete with the agony, pain, suffering, and responsibility that the Title encompasses.

Anyway, God does not CAUSE pain and bad things to happen.  BUT God is Sovereign, so He DOES allow them sometimes when He plans good to come from it–WE can’t know the ultimate big picture in our small-time snapshot of events.  BUT HE DOES.  I just know He HAS a purpose and a plan for everything that happens and everyone and everything He creates.  As is written in Psalm 139: Verse 14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I have taken the challenges thrown my way and tried to impact my community and world in a positive way.  I’ve dedicated myself to a lifetime of service for causes greater than my own self interest.  i have been blessed beyond belief and I want to “Spread My Wealth Around.”  While my “wealth” may not be large in dollars and cents, I have a lot to spread around.  It’s called love for my fellow man.  I have no way to know how long I will be blessed to live on this earth but I try to make each day count by spreading it around to everyone I know and “paying it forward.”  While it may seem daunting even a smile, a kind word, and a hug can help someone in a big way.

Thank you for conducting a very civil and fascinating discussion with Governor Huckabee on faith and for reading a response that has come from my heart.

Brian Donegan
-Lawrenceville, GA

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