When Tragedy Strikes, Here's Why It's OK to Ask God Why

When Tragedy Strikes, Here's Why It's OK to Ask God Why

What do you do when your husband is perfectly healthy, is only 37, and he goes to bed and never wakes up? And, he leaves you with two sons ages 12 and 13 to raise on your own, as well as a church to pastor on your own? That happened to Karen Jensen Salisbury on New Year's Day in 1997. Her husband's sudden death left her with a great deal of grieving, and a lot of questions for God.

That tragic turn of events led Jensen Salisbury to write her book Why God Why?. which she discussed with Taylor Berglund on the latest edition of Charisma Connection.

13 Minutes • a month ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Karen Jensen Salisbury

 

What do you do when your husband is perfectly healthy, is only 37, and he goes to bed and never wakes up? And, he leaves you with two sons ages 12 and 13 to raise on your own, as well as a church to pastor on your own?

 

That happened to Karen Jensen Salisbury on New Year’s Day in 1997. Her husband’s sudden death left her with a great deal of grieving, and a lot of questions for God.

 

That tragic turn of events led Jensen Salisbury to write her book Why God Why?. which she discussed with Taylor Berglund on the latest edition of Charisma Connection.

 

For the entire interview with Karen Jensen Salisbury, visit cpnshows.com.

 

 

Introduction

Taylor Berglund: I’m excited to welcome in the studio Karen Jensen Salisbury. You are the author of the books, Why God Why; and How to make the Right Decision Every Time. You're also a minister, but we're going to get into the books, everything that you're working on your ministry. But first, I just want to hear what is your testimony.

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: It's actually in the book, Why God Why. My first husband and I were pastoring a church in Boise, Idaho. It was our second church that we had pioneered and pastored and we were 37 years old and on New Year's Day, 1997, he went to bed earlier than me. By the time I got to bed, he had died just suddenly. He hadn't been sick. Just went to heaven. And I'm pretty sure he was surprised when he got there, but happy. And so I had to end up pastoring the church by myself and raising our sons who were 12 and 13 years old at the time. Years later I wrote the book, Why God Why; and it starts with that story because I had questions. Lord, my perfectly healthy 37-year-old husband went to heaven. Why, why, why didn't you tell me?

 

What I find is that a lot of people have had terrible events happen in their life. It might not necessarily be a death, but even just a terrible disappointment or something, an accident or an incident that scars them maybe. Sometimes they get stuck there in the whys. I think it's perfectly OK to ask God all your tough questions. He's heard them all. You can't scare Him. He didn't fall off the throne because you asked him a hard question. And you’re already asking the questions. in your head anyway, right? You’ve heard people say you should never question God. And they usually say it and a holy voice like that. But I think you can ask Him all the questions you want because He's the one with the answers, right? And He loves you. He wants to help you come through those events. He doesn't want a terrible event to define your life. And so that's really why I wrote the book. I call it a manual for getting past the pain. It's the story of how my sons and I got past the pain and how God brought us through the valley of the shadow and gave us wonderful lives. He is so faithful. That's what we found. We kind of wanted to share that with other people, that there is a way. Yes, I'm sorry that there is a valley of shadow. Yes, I'm sorry that terrible things happen. But you know, welcome to life on planet Earth. There is a way to make it through and come out even better.

 

Karen’s Books

·         Why God Why?

·         How to Make the Right Decision Every Time

·         Helping Your Children Make Right Decisions

·         “I Forgive You, But …: 3 Steps That Can Heal Your Heart Forever

 

Taylor Berglund: I think that's a really great perspective and the way that you phrase that getting past the pain. I think there's two parts to that. I think that so often we as Christians focus on one of those two parts. There's the getting past it and there's the pain. So, thinking first about the pain, I think something that a lot of times in the church today that Christians have lost the ability to do, which is funny because it's in the Bible itself, is lamenting and grieving. What was that process like for you after the death of your husband?

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: It is a process obviously, and I think that we do grieve because we were never meant to be separated from our body. Sin did that. So that separation is hard on the flesh. It's hard on our soul. We're attached to people and we're afraid of what happens after we die, unless you've done a lot of study on Heaven. There is a there is a grieving process, I believe.  I don't want people to get stuck in the valley of grief. That's why I wrote the book. You know what I mean? But to say no, I'm fine. I'm a Christian. There is still a soul-like tearing when somebody dies. So you have to give yourself 1,000 breaks. There's a part in the book too, about getting through the grieving process. Everybody does it different and nobody can really tell you how to do it, when to do it. There's a story in the book about somebody whose family member was telling them it's time for you to get over it. Six months passed their loved one dying, it's time for you to get over it. Get rid of their clothes, get rid of their pictures, get rid of everything. And they asked me, is that right? Am I doing this wrong? I always tell people listen, if it comforts you to have their stuff around, or to relive those memories, then you just keep on as long as you need to. If it's creeping you out to have their stuff around, then get rid of it or have help getting rid of it. Everybody's different and nobody can tell you exactly how to grieve. But then keep going. Keep going past, don't wallow in the grief.

 

Taylor Berglund: So when it comes to that, the getting past the pain, because some people get stuck in the pain you brought up. How did you get through the valley of whys?

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: I think that it's with the Word of God. Before my husband died, I knew God, I preached the Word. I was a Word girl. But after he passed away, I just buried myself in the Word of God. I soaked in it. I always say I read the Word like a five-year-old; ran my finger down the page like a five-year-old learning to read. I knew I had to have more of His Word. This is God talking to us, that's what the Bible is. I knew I needed him talking to me every day. I had to get over my husband's death. I had a pastor a church, I had to raise teenage boys. I needed more Word. I found out that He's a very present help in times of trouble. The closer you move to him, the closer he moves to you, and that's really up to us. He's always available to be right there. But we get busy or we get mad, or we separate ourselves from Him.

 

Taylor Berglund: So you said that happened in 1997, right? OK, it's been over 20 years since then. I guess maybe the, the natural follow up question then is, how is your life going now? Is there hope for anyone who may be either watching this recording or listening to the podcast here; does it get better? Does God eventually answer the questions for you?

 

·         Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (MEV)”

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: Yes, absolutely. Some of the questions of course don't even need answering. You think you need to know, but you really don't. Sometimes you just have to trust.  But yes, you get answers and I'm telling you my life is even better and my son's would testify the same thing. We found out that God is a very present help in times of trouble. And you know how Jeremiah 29:11 says, I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, plans that give you hope and a future. I'm telling you what, we hung on to that verse because it looked like the plan we thought our life was going in that direction got blown out of the water in one day. When our husband/father died. But God still has a good plan. He knows the end from the beginning. If you'll stay with Him and avail yourself to Him and trust Him and read his Word and keep on with Him, He will lead you to a plan with a future and a hope. He's so faithful.

 

Connect with Karen Jensen Salisbury

·         Karenjensen.org

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

·         On YouTube

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Karen Jensen Salisbury

 

What do you do when your husband is perfectly healthy, is only 37, and he goes to bed and never wakes up? And, he leaves you with two sons ages 12 and 13 to raise on your own, as well as a church to pastor on your own?

 

That happened to Karen Jensen Salisbury on New Year’s Day in 1997. Her husband’s sudden death left her with a great deal of grieving, and a lot of questions for God.

 

That tragic turn of events led Jensen Salisbury to write her book Why God Why?. which she discussed with Taylor Berglund on the latest edition of Charisma Connection.

 

For the entire interview with Karen Jensen Salisbury, visit cpnshows.com.

 

 

Introduction

Taylor Berglund: I’m excited to welcome in the studio Karen Jensen Salisbury. You are the author of the books, Why God Why; and How to make the Right Decision Every Time. You're also a minister, but we're going to get into the books, everything that you're working on your ministry. But first, I just want to hear what is your testimony.

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: It's actually in the book, Why God Why. My first husband and I were pastoring a church in Boise, Idaho. It was our second church that we had pioneered and pastored and we were 37 years old and on New Year's Day, 1997, he went to bed earlier than me. By the time I got to bed, he had died just suddenly. He hadn't been sick. Just went to heaven. And I'm pretty sure he was surprised when he got there, but happy. And so I had to end up pastoring the church by myself and raising our sons who were 12 and 13 years old at the time. Years later I wrote the book, Why God Why; and it starts with that story because I had questions. Lord, my perfectly healthy 37-year-old husband went to heaven. Why, why, why didn't you tell me?

 

What I find is that a lot of people have had terrible events happen in their life. It might not necessarily be a death, but even just a terrible disappointment or something, an accident or an incident that scars them maybe. Sometimes they get stuck there in the whys. I think it's perfectly OK to ask God all your tough questions. He's heard them all. You can't scare Him. He didn't fall off the throne because you asked him a hard question. And you’re already asking the questions. in your head anyway, right? You’ve heard people say you should never question God. And they usually say it and a holy voice like that. But I think you can ask Him all the questions you want because He's the one with the answers, right? And He loves you. He wants to help you come through those events. He doesn't want a terrible event to define your life. And so that's really why I wrote the book. I call it a manual for getting past the pain. It's the story of how my sons and I got past the pain and how God brought us through the valley of the shadow and gave us wonderful lives. He is so faithful. That's what we found. We kind of wanted to share that with other people, that there is a way. Yes, I'm sorry that there is a valley of shadow. Yes, I'm sorry that terrible things happen. But you know, welcome to life on planet Earth. There is a way to make it through and come out even better.

 

Karen’s Books

·         Why God Why?

·         How to Make the Right Decision Every Time

·         Helping Your Children Make Right Decisions

·         “I Forgive You, But …: 3 Steps That Can Heal Your Heart Forever

 

Taylor Berglund: I think that's a really great perspective and the way that you phrase that getting past the pain. I think there's two parts to that. I think that so often we as Christians focus on one of those two parts. There's the getting past it and there's the pain. So, thinking first about the pain, I think something that a lot of times in the church today that Christians have lost the ability to do, which is funny because it's in the Bible itself, is lamenting and grieving. What was that process like for you after the death of your husband?

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: It is a process obviously, and I think that we do grieve because we were never meant to be separated from our body. Sin did that. So that separation is hard on the flesh. It's hard on our soul. We're attached to people and we're afraid of what happens after we die, unless you've done a lot of study on Heaven. There is a there is a grieving process, I believe.  I don't want people to get stuck in the valley of grief. That's why I wrote the book. You know what I mean? But to say no, I'm fine. I'm a Christian. There is still a soul-like tearing when somebody dies. So you have to give yourself 1,000 breaks. There's a part in the book too, about getting through the grieving process. Everybody does it different and nobody can really tell you how to do it, when to do it. There's a story in the book about somebody whose family member was telling them it's time for you to get over it. Six months passed their loved one dying, it's time for you to get over it. Get rid of their clothes, get rid of their pictures, get rid of everything. And they asked me, is that right? Am I doing this wrong? I always tell people listen, if it comforts you to have their stuff around, or to relive those memories, then you just keep on as long as you need to. If it's creeping you out to have their stuff around, then get rid of it or have help getting rid of it. Everybody's different and nobody can tell you exactly how to grieve. But then keep going. Keep going past, don't wallow in the grief.

 

Taylor Berglund: So when it comes to that, the getting past the pain, because some people get stuck in the pain you brought up. How did you get through the valley of whys?

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: I think that it's with the Word of God. Before my husband died, I knew God, I preached the Word. I was a Word girl. But after he passed away, I just buried myself in the Word of God. I soaked in it. I always say I read the Word like a five-year-old; ran my finger down the page like a five-year-old learning to read. I knew I had to have more of His Word. This is God talking to us, that's what the Bible is. I knew I needed him talking to me every day. I had to get over my husband's death. I had a pastor a church, I had to raise teenage boys. I needed more Word. I found out that He's a very present help in times of trouble. The closer you move to him, the closer he moves to you, and that's really up to us. He's always available to be right there. But we get busy or we get mad, or we separate ourselves from Him.

 

Taylor Berglund: So you said that happened in 1997, right? OK, it's been over 20 years since then. I guess maybe the, the natural follow up question then is, how is your life going now? Is there hope for anyone who may be either watching this recording or listening to the podcast here; does it get better? Does God eventually answer the questions for you?

 

·         Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (MEV)”

 

Karen Jensen Salisbury: Yes, absolutely. Some of the questions of course don't even need answering. You think you need to know, but you really don't. Sometimes you just have to trust.  But yes, you get answers and I'm telling you my life is even better and my son's would testify the same thing. We found out that God is a very present help in times of trouble. And you know how Jeremiah 29:11 says, I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, plans that give you hope and a future. I'm telling you what, we hung on to that verse because it looked like the plan we thought our life was going in that direction got blown out of the water in one day. When our husband/father died. But God still has a good plan. He knows the end from the beginning. If you'll stay with Him and avail yourself to Him and trust Him and read his Word and keep on with Him, He will lead you to a plan with a future and a hope. He's so faithful.

 

Connect with Karen Jensen Salisbury

·         Karenjensen.org

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

·         On YouTube

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When Tragedy Strikes, Here's Why It's OK to Ask God Why