So I’m gonna get real personal real quickly in this blog post. I might rant, I might have strong opinions about things, but over all I hope to put at ease some questions that people have been asking me and questions that I myself am asking. Now, I’m not a pastor, I’ve never been to seminary, or any of that fancy stuff. I’m just a Christ follower who has studied God’s book and uses the Bible as the basis for the things I’m going to talk about in this post.
Why do bad things happen good people… or any people really?
Recently my family and I have been going through some really tough stuff.
In June, my two year-old niece drowned unexpectedly. It was a horribly tragedy and one that you can never be prepared for. That was followed by my grandmother being diagnosed with a serious form of cancer, as well as another important person in my life. All of this happened in the same week that my grandfather passed away from cancer 9 years ago. He was easily one of the most important people in my life. That whole week is always hard on me, so everything piled on top of that did not go well. All these bad things were happening and it sucked honestly. It was hard for me to care about anything at all because the moment I would start caring was the very moment that all the pain would come rushing in again.
But that was just what was happening in MY life. My friends were also going through horrible situations. My country had seen awful acts of violence, racism, riots and so on. My Christian family around the globe is being heavily persecuted for following who they believe in. Innocent christians are being MURDERED. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is chaos and falling apart.
Why? Why do bad things happen? Many people go further and ask “Why does GOD let bad things happen to good people?”
I’m going to try to not make this sound like a sermon or something I’m preaching. But I really want to break things down, maybe for my own sanity and understanding but hopefully for others too.
First of all, there is no such thing as a “good” person. It clearly states this in a the Bible more than a few times. Romans 3:10-18 talks about how there is NO ONE who is righteous (or good) not even one. All people are sinners. All people have done wrong. No one is good. It doesn’t matter if you are a model citizen or a murderer, you’re still a sinner. A christian or a non christian, you’re still a sinner.
So really the question should be “Why does God let GOOD things happen to BAD people?”. I mean looking back on my life so far I can conclude that I am a sinner. I sin everyday. I don’t deserve a lot of the good things that happen in my life! God has blessed me and continues to bless me, but do I deserve that? Probably not.
The beauty in this is that God’s grace is sufficient for everyone. Salvation is a free gift to anyone who chooses to believe, regardless of your origin story or life choices. God’s perfect love conquers the sin and dirtiness in our lives. So no, there is no such thing as a good person, but yes, there is such a thing as a good and gracious God.
Now that we have that as a basis, why does God let bad things happen in general?
In the beginning when God created the world, He saw that it was GOOD. God did not create evil, it wasn’t part of His original plan. He gave Adam and Eve free will to obey His one rule or not. They chose to disobey, we all know how the story goes. Evil entered the world through sin, and God cursed the earth as a punishment. Bad things happen because we live in a sinful world.
Now that doesn’t mean that every time we sin something bad will happen. Theres consequences for sin but the only one to judge and determine that is God Himself.
I think an important thing to understand is that even though suffering isn’t a good thing, God can use it to accomplish good things. If you think about it, God used the absolute worst thing to ever happen – Deicide (the killing of a god- Jesus) to become the best thing in the history of the world. Because Jesus died we have a chance at a perfect eternity with the God of the universe. That is easily the best thing ever.
Another example is the church persecution crisis in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent people are dying for what they believe in. These christians are becoming modern-day Martyrs. There’s no doubt that what is happening over there is absolutely horrible. But in the midst of that, there is still hope. There is a revival that is happening.
Here’s part of an interview with a Syrian woman taken from CharismaNews:
“We are now experiencing that this is the best spiritual time for Syria and other countries, like Egypt, because as much as their suffering is great, they are growing. We experience how refugees run away from their places because of the bombing from the government. They came to the churches, and they came to find the truth of the real God.”
In this horrible situation, God is taking the bad things and turning them into good things. I am truly amazed at the faith that these people have. As the body of Christ we need to continue to lift them up in prayer.
As humans, we don’t always see what God is doing or why He is doing something. It doesn’t make sense to us. We tend to lash out and ask “Why, God?!” We can’t see the whole picture that He is putting together. Take the story of Job for example, everything in his life was taken away from him. His home, family, wife, possessions, friends, health, EVERYTHING. Job didn’t know or understand why God was allowing these things to happen in his life. Instead of turning away and choosing to be bitter and angry because he had no idea what was happening, he trusted The Lord and praised him in the midst of his trials. In the end, God blessed Job, his life turned out pretty well!
The truth is sometimes, bad things will happen to us, our faith will be tested, and our life will be hard. But compared to whats in store for us as christians in eternity, the trials of this life don’t seem so bad. A perfect forever with God is way better than anything that could happen to us on earth.
It’s like the story that British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. He had been in and out of hospitals his whole life — and yet he made the astounding comment that God is fair. Reid asked him, “How old are you?” The boy said, “Seventeen.” Reid asked, “How many years have you spend in hospitals?” The boy said, “Thirteen years.” The pastor said with astonishment, “And you think that is fair?” And the boy replied: “Well, God has all eternity to make it up to me.”
I really enjoyed that story and the boy’s point of view. He had a lot of reasons to be upset, however he still found joy in his circumstances. I feel like many times in my own life it’s easy to get caught up in the bad things that happen and become bitter or even angry towards God. It’s hard to completely trust Him and realize that He’s got it under control even when it seems like you’re stuck in a hopeless place of utter chaos.
One of my favorite Bible verses is John 16:33. “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart. I have over come the world!”. In this verse Jesus straight up tells us that sometimes life is going to be hard and things are going to suck (Tori Paraphrase Version). But then He comes right back to say “Don’t be afraid, I’ve already dealt with the world”. (Again TPV)
How wonderful is it that Jesus looks out for us in the way that He does! We don’t have to worry about what the world throws at us! It’s already taken care of, the fight is already won! I’ve finished the book! Good wins in the end! (Spoilers)
As I was researching different opinions people had about this subject, I came across this quote from a pastor named Lee Strobel. I love how he worded this paragraph and this is what I’ll leave you with today.
” God’s ultimate answer to suffering isn’t an explanation; it’s the incarnation. Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. Are you broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do you cry out that you can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Did someone betray you? He was sold out. Are your most tender relationships broken? He loved and He was rejected. Did people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as if He were a leper. Does He descend into all of our hells? Yes, He does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.” Every tear we shed becomes his tear.”