Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Part 2.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Today I discuss this age-old question from the perspective of our American culture. In our society we have the ingrained ideal of “the pursuit of happiness”. This was first expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Since the freedom to seek happiness is governmental, the idea has become sacred. While the original intention was that of releasing oppressive restriction, we now believe we own the inalienable right to never be uncomfortable. In addition, due to our modern comforts and conveniences, our attitudes have changed from that of former generations. Difficulty is seen as wrong, with outrage when experienced. It no longer matters what sphere it comes from, whether personal, political, spiritual, or circumstance, we understand adversity and problems as outrageous interruptions. Our attitude is our day-to-day lives should be a state of uninterrupted bliss and peace. Anything less is unfair.
What I am pointing out may seem cold to say. Yet it sounds that way to Western societies bred under the illusion that every misfortune in life can be avoided or alleviated. With the magic wand of science, human brilliance, and prosperity we assume we can dispel any hardship. It sounds this way to a people born so accustomed to comfort we demand it.
The American style of faith has been little help. Where answers to life are offered, there has been a trickle down from the prosperity gospel and charismatic name it/claim it teaching which fosters the same mindset. God never wants you to be uncomfortable. He wants only our happiness. It is all about you; they say.
You Will Have Tribulation
There are two problems with this attitude. One, life does not work this way. We will meet trouble, difficulty, or painful ordeals in our lives. It is guaranteed. To assume otherwise is to deny reality. Secondly, human or spiritual circumstance on our terms is diametrically opposed to Scripture. The Bible acknowledges the factual truth of suffering. Adversity–from mild annoyances to traumatic occurrences-is unavoidable in a corrupted world full of broken people. We are fallen and we can't get up. Rich, poor, or in-between, pain reaches everyone.
In the Christian life, God calls us to periods of suffering. He uses these trials to draw us closer to Him. There is a tension, a resistance on our part, since we want ease. However, God values our spiritual growth more than our temporary comfort. In the book of Job, he and his friends explored the question of why bad things happen to good people from every angle. They argued, accused, and heatedly discoursed at great length. When God confronted Job, he repented and worshiped Him. God did not answer a single argument of Job or his friends. Basically, He said, “I am God”. That was enough for Job. God is always enough. Our maturation is more important to God than our temporary circumstance because He is infinitely worth our every devotion. Though we cling to Him out of sheer necessity in adversity, He uses this to compel us to Himself. Dependence is for our deepest well-being. More of Him is what we always need. God’s glorious character and loving-kindness defines and completes our life, filling us with wonder and awe of Him in our darkest times. Difficulty hurts, but God is the answer to our joy and welfare.
How We Look at It
When we view bad things happening to “good people” this way we see it as an opportunity to cooperate with God in obeying Him and being filled with His strength. Though painful, or annoying if it is minor, our experiences are a continual call to the feet of our Savior. No one enjoys being uncomfortable. Suffering hurts, seeing others do so is heartbreaking. We have a choice to allow our suffering to glorify God and have Christ's compassion for those hurting, or to brood in bitterness. Will we resist and make demands, or trust and be set free? If we have never received Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, pain can be a loud knock on the door of our hearts. To accept Him is not to have our problem removed in an instant, but finding abundant, joyful, and fulfilling life in our surrender.
Deep wounds can cause anger or questions. Why is this happening to me, we wonder. We may be confused and filled with a myriad of emotions. God understands this, He offers His loving-kindness to us in Christ. God's love brings healing in the utmost grace. If we have become bitter, we cut off our only real hope.
Questions are not wrong, God can certainly handle them. Are we open to answers? If a skeptic, are we willing to examine our motives? Anger or resentment with God leads us to a particular word in the question we are exploring-good. Why do bad things happen to good people? Could it be the wrong question? Can the answer be, why not? Are we, if we presume to be good, exempt from hardship? Do only bad people deserve to suffer? How good is enough to be free of problems? Do the realities of a fallen world apply solely to “bad” people or other folks and not us? Can we make a list of demands to life or to God Himself? The Bible teaches us no one is good. Not one. It is by His grace alone we live. Here, behind the question, is the feeling "why do bad things happen to me? I do not deserve this, I am due better. I should to be exempt".
If we must have our measure of suffering, at least God never allows more than we can handle. We may try to comfort ourselves this way. We are missing the point once again. God does sometimes permit more. He does not allow more than He can handle. We may be unable, but He is our strength and sets us free in Jesus Christ. Praise His name forever, come what may.
"In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jesus speaking) John 16:33.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
Read part one at the link: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
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