Sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith

Please forgive me because this is not going to be one of my usually upbeat ramblings.

Jorelys Rivera was laid to rest today. For those of you outside the metro Atlanta area, Jorelys is a 7-year old girl who was sexually assaulted and fatally beaten allegedly by a 20-year old maintenance worker who police say snatched the girl from her apartment complex playground.

This story, rightly so, dominated local news coverage over the past week. And with each retelling, my sadness turned quickly to anger and just as fast back to sadness.

A lingering feeling that’s been bothering me every since news of this story broke is that this tragedy could just have easily fallen upon my little girl. You see, before moving into Casa McCullough, we lived in an apartment complex very similar to the residence where Jorelys lived, an apartment complex with a playground, and what’s truly disturbing, an apartment complex with seemingly nondescript somewhat interchangeable maintenance personnel. There were times Zoe wanted to go outside by herself, but being the Apache attack chopper of the helicopter parent that I am, she never set foot on the playground without me or Mrs. M within pouncing distance.

I don’t want to get too spiritual here, but I am a man of faith and I like to think it’s unwavering, but things like the brutal death of a child can really leave one asking seemingly unanswerable questions. Why did this (or any) child have to die? What would compel this sick son of a bitch – allegedly – to hurt this little girl? Of course, the general catch all question – why do bad things happen to good people?

There’s not much more to say – except to say a prayer for Jorelys and her family.

Keep the faith, even when it’s easier said than done.



  1. Lean Airo Loking

    Sometimes, the most brutal of things happen to the gentlest of people. Its inevitable at the very least. A good friend of mine died a few days ago and he was branded a “vigilante” by the media. I know the person first hand and I know media sensationalism just gave him a bad name. He was a very loving and caring father to his kids. I honestly don’t understand why it happened to him but I know it is all for the glory of the maker.

    I just made a recent post about death and you can see it on my site.


  2. Michael Charney (@BeckIsALib)

    Theodicy is, for me, the ultimate question, and the one that I have the most difficulty overcoming as part of my own faith. It is perhaps the reason I tend more towards a non-involved (non-denominational?) God rather than a traditionally woven story. We’ve heard all the arguments–free will, God’s master plan, and, even, “it’s a mystery,” yet none quite satisfy. The true challenge is to see the beauty despite the pain and tragedy.


  3. Sandra McLeod Humphrey

    Her death also struck me really hard. She was so young and so vulnerable and her assailant was apparently so out-of-control and impulse-driven that he didn’t even attempt to conceal her body. There are some questions that just don’t have any answers in this realm.


  4. RaeBeth McGee

    This sort of thing happened in my home town too. A little girl (which will remain nameless due to privacy) was last seen at her bus stop by her bus driver. She walked home from there. Late that night, her parents said she never made it home.

    Our community searched for her for about a week. When we located her… her body had been buried right under us. She was at the location we set up for the “headquarters” of the search buried in a ditch not far away. It took time for our community to recover from this. It’s hard to understand why. But just remember- if there was no suffering… there’d be no compassion…. (regardless of the age)

    I have very strong faith. But I’m fighting a battle. I’m twenty four years old and for the past five years…. I’ve battled for my life. I had bad dental problems that had infection going throughout my body making me sick. I finally got the approval to have a full mouth extraction last month. (I had no insurance). Every day is a struggle to eat. But this only makes my faith stronger because I know the Lord has his hands on me and has a plan.


  5. Aja

    Thank you for this post. I am a Christian, yet I feel like that means my faith should always be 100% unwavering, and yet there are times like this that I can’t make sense of how God who I believe is supposed to love and watch out for us, can allow so much pain in the life of someone so innocent. It makes me feel like if God could let that family down, why not mine? I appreciate that you are willing to openly ask the hard questions, because while I know that I won’t understand everything in this life, sometimes my belief feels a little shaken by such a tragedy.


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