Why Did God Allow My Trauma to Happen? 

By Karen Robinson

Heal Thrive Dream 

Is the Real Question, "Is There Really a God, or Am I Just a Bad Person?"

In the aftermath of trauma, it's natural to search for reasons and explanations, particularly when it comes to understanding the role of a higher power in your suffering. Many of my clients struggle with the profound and painful question: "Why did God allow my trauma to happen?" This question is often at the heart of spiritual turmoil and can challenge the very foundations of your faith.

Understanding the Question

This question stems from your innate desire for the world to make sense and for your experiences to have meaning. It touches on fundamental beliefs about the nature of God, the role of divine intervention, and the purpose of suffering. The search for an answer can be as complex as it is deeply personal.

Please attend my summit, “Finding Faith After Trauma”.

Finding Faith After Trauma Summit

May 16-17 at 10am-5pm EST

Nature of Free Will - Double Edged Sword

Many theological perspectives suggest that God has given humans free will. This allows you and others to make choices and live independently, but it also means you live in a world where other people can make choices that negatively impact you. From this viewpoint, trauma is not something God causes, but rather something that happens in a world where free will can be exercised for both good and evil.

Because of the nature of free will, the core belief you internalized in childhood, “good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people”, simply isn’t true. You may logically understand this with your adult brain, but your inner child may be “stuck” in believing negative core beliefs because of early trauma, and the associated feelings of shame. With free will, good things do happen to bad people and good people (or innocent people) do have bad things happen to them. This happens around our troubled world every single day. 

Does Suffering Lead to Spiritual Growth?

In many faith traditions, suffering is seen as a mysterious part of the human experience. It is not necessarily something to be solved but something to be endured and learned from. This perspective does not trivialize the pain of trauma but recognizes it as part of a larger, often incomprehensible, spiritual journey. The Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible, for instance, explores this theme deeply, illustrating that sometimes, the reasons behind your suffering might remain beyond your understanding.

Another perspective, believed by most healers including myself, considers that your deepest wounds —your pain and your traumas— lead to significant spiritual and personal growth. This isn't to say that your abuse or trauma was "good" or you "deserved" it. Now, you may not see the benefits of your past hurts right away. It does take time, and for some of us, considerable time. Have you found that in the struggle of your darkest hours, you somehow find strength, resilience, and new wisdom about yourself? As a therapist, I’ve witnessed survivors courageously overcome their pain with renewed faith and a deepened capacity for empathy and compassion. 

God’s Presence - How He Shows Up

In addressing the question of why trauma occurs, you may wonder about the presence of God in the healing process. You may find comfort in the belief that God suffers with you, not as a distant observer, but as a compassionate presence that offers love and support through your darkest times. This presence is often felt through the hands and hearts of others—through acts of kindness, support, and other sources of comfort. I remember a teacher asking me about my homelife in elementary school. I don’t remember my exact words, but I do remember the look of compassion on her face. She gifted me a bracelet with the 10 commandments on little scrolls. I treasured this sweet gift and believed it to be God showing up in other people for me. I have many more examples of God showing up in others for me across my lifespan. How about you?

Finding Meaning Beyond the Pain

How do you find meaning in the aftermath of your abuse or trauma? You may find purpose in helping or empowering survivors who are behind you in their healing journeys. Maybe you become an advocate, a healer, a foster or adoptive parent. Maybe you volunteer in your community or simply become a positive role model for youth. Finding meaning does not negate your pain or your abuse, but does provide a healing path forward.

It’s okay to have doubts about your faith, especially after experiencing trauma. This is considered a normal response after an abnormal experience (psychobabble) but in God speak, our higher power expects and understands that you may struggle in your faith walk or choose not to have a faith walk at all. Seek out safe people when questioning or struggling with your faith. You will likely find that your questions deepen your understanding.

A Personal Relationship with God

Your relationship with God is unique. Reconfiguring your understanding of God in light of your experiences can be a part of your spiritual journey. This might mean shifting how you pray, how you read sacred texts, and how you participate in your religious community. Lean on your community for support. If you attend a religious institution that doesn’t allow you to question your faith, doesn’t believe you about your trauma, or is oppressive to anyone in the community, please consider finding a safe, loving, compassionate faith community that honors you, sees you, and wants to hear your voice.

My Final Thoughts

"Why did God allow my trauma to happen?" is a question that may not have a clear or satisfying answer. However, grappling with this question is part of a larger spiritual and emotional process that can lead to deeper faith, greater resilience, and expand your capacity for even greater compassion. It has certainly expanded my compassion by leaps and bounds!

Remember that you do not need to do your healing alone. Seek out supportive communities, professional help, and spiritual guidance. Your journey through these questions can lead to insight, wisdom, and a deeper, more resilient spirit. Please explore this with me during my upcoming summit, “Finding Faith After Trauma

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  1. I love your valuable information that far too many of us need. Regarding the question that many ask, "Why did God allow this to happen?" I don't believe God ever allows bad to happen. Bad occurs due to mankind's fallen nature and choices occurring over countless generations. God never makes bad things happen, but He does help us through to the other side if we grasp His hand and let Him guide us. God is the master of turning bad into good. If we allow Him, God will provide countless blessings for us to reap from our challenges.

    1. I share your belief Crystal. Thank you so much for sharing your comments!

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Karen Robinson

  Karen Robinson  

About the Author

I'm licensed therapist with 25 years of clinical experience. Service driven, specializing in trauma recovery, anxiety, and depression, holistic care, and transformation to create an impact for trauma survivors globally. Services include coaching, therapy, virtual courses, digital products, and on-line memberships.

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