Why? God, Why? 5 Thoughts on Humans of New York (HONY) Rwanda Series


Every time I opened my Instagram app and saw the next HONY post, I would freeze and hold my breath until I was done reading it, my belly would twist into a knot, and then a few drops of tears would follow. That is how painful the stories from Rwanda were. 

Now if you live under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, abeg just go and read the posts and come back here later. There are no words in the English dictionary to describe what agony and trauma the Rwandans endured. At the end of the day, I just had to ask – why? God, why? Why would God allow Claudine, an eighteen year old girl, watch her father get killed by a machete, her brother get burned alive, and her other seven family members get tortured to their death, including her almost two year old brother? Why would God allow children from an orphanage home get tortured to their death while other children watched such agony? Just why? If you are a Rwandan reading this, I want to say “I’m sorry”.

I don’t have answers, but I have five thoughts to share not just on the experience in Rwanda  but also on when we experience suffering in life.

  1. God is sovereign. The depth of His wisdom is way beyond what we can comprehend. He could give us an explanation, but our minds are so limited in what it can grasp. It’s almost like trying to explain to a two month old baby why we are inflicting so much pain on them through their immunization shots. I don’t care how excellent a communicator you are, they still won’t get it. They simply don’t have the capacity to understand it. Sometimes we just don’t know why, and we have to trust that God is still in control.
  2. Free will. God is good. The heart of man however, is desperately wicked. Now the good God has given the wicked man free will, and sent Jesus as a perfect example for us to follow. Jesus urged us to do as He did. But did we listen? No. The result is what happened in Rwanda. Man turned away from God, wrongfully exercised their free will, and innocent people suffered. God is powerful enough to stop suffering, but He has given us the free will to make choices. 
  3. A Lesson? Maybe God is trying to say something, or teach us something through our pain? I can’t even fathom what this could be to the Rwandans and I wouldn’t buy this reason if I were in their shoes, but just maybe?
  4. Reliance on God. Perhaps God is bringing us to our utmost low so that we can rely on Him and His strength in our weakness? We don’t have to suffer alone, or without hope because we have Him.
  5. The  Full Picture. Perhaps God allows suffering because it will accomplish something greater later? It may make no sense to us now, but maybe it will a few months from now? Or maybe even to future generations when the full picture comes together?

Here are some resources that may help if you are going through some kind of suffering:

Do you agree with these thoughts? Why do you think God permits suffering?

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11 thoughts on “Why? God, Why? 5 Thoughts on Humans of New York (HONY) Rwanda Series

  1. Your blog is refreshing! I can barely read those stories. Can’t even imagine how the survivors are coping right now. Thanks for the 5 reasons, it helps to put things in perspective. Looking forward to the next post!

  2. Your thoughts are true!! The first reason was my mom’s last word on earth. When the giant ‘’cancer’’ seemed victorious on her, she didn’t let it steal her peace. She understood God’s sovereignty. Although, I am still trying to get the full picture.
    Great post on my beloved country RWANDA 🇷🇼.

    • So honored that you read this, Jonathan. Deeply sorry about your mom. We always hope that we get to see the full picture, but sometimes we don’t and we just keep trusting that there was purpose in the suffering. Please accept my comfort.

  3. There are lots and lots of reasons why God allow so much hurt in this world and you have definitely mentioned some of the ones our human minds can think of. A lot of people and even some believers have either decided in their heart that they can’t just believe a God that allows suffering especially that of children.

    A lot of us also have not experience certain situations in our lives that makes us question the existence of God. Sometimes the only way you can fully understand and believe that even in all this God is still God and He is indeed a merciful God is having that close connection with Him because in such situations He will reveal Himself to you.

    There are lots and lots of things we do not understand and can never understand in this world and you said it well, we do not have the capacity or ability to understand a lot of things God is allowing to happen. I love the example you used about babies. Just because we are older, have had few experiences, know a little more about life does not bring us into the same category as where the knowledge and super ability of God lies. We can never know the extent to God’s greatness and power. We might think we know and we might try to figure Him out but from my experience, once you think you have a grasp as to what you think He will do next, He throws you a curve ball.

    To those that are suffering, all we can do is pray for them and encourage them. But sometimes we can’t really fathom the extent of their suffering cos we’re not in their shoes. But again we can pray and encourage and offer help when we are put in the place to.

    Really great blog……thank you Bisola

    • Thank you, Lamide! Great thoughts. Indeed there are numerous reasons, and I barely scratched the surface. We live in a broken world, and God expects us to shine His light to bring restoration. You are right, we can’t understand the extent of suffering people go through, but we can just be there.

  4. Just like you, I dreaded those posts and still read them. It was beyond heart wrenching like you said. I also followed up after that series by reading a book written by one of the Rwandan survivors, Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza.Enjoy. (I discovered your blog today through a comment you left under TheUfuoma.com)

  5. I haven’t read those posts but from the way you’ve depicted the story I feel so sad for Rewanda and I pray God touch there lives. And my note on your 5 thoughts I think everyone needs that because most people in Nigeria are going through this same sufferings

    • Couldn’t agree more. Lots of (easily avoidable) suffering in Nigeria, and it breaks my heart. I pray we all find comfort from whatever our current sufferings are.

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