When Bad Things Happen To Good People
by: Michael Woods | May 16, 2018
Why do bad things happen to good people?
The question is asked during difficult times. It is most commonly asked when we face personal trials, when something happens to someone close to us, or when tragedy impacts our nation and world. This is a painful question. It involves deep hurts. It is filled with frustrations. Today’s question reminds us that this world is not how it should be.
For many, this question is an obstacle that prevents a relationship with Christ. It creates a boundary that keeps some from hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. As well, it is a question that has led many people to struggle with or even abandon their faith in Christ. We all look out in the world and struggle with what we see. We see a world filled with violence, disaster, and pain. Some see this world and question why a gracious God would allow evil to exist.
And as a result there are three typical responses that most people default to when they’re facing suffering and difficulty.
This is where most of us begin in dealing with suffering. It’s the John Wayne mentality. Grit your teeth, smile even when you’re hurting, never let them see you sweat. When someone is in denial, they won’t admit the truth even when they know you know the truth. You’ll say, “How are you doing?” They’ll say, “Great! I’m doing great!” You know they’re not telling the truth. We’re all like that occasionally. There’s something in all of us that makes us pretend that everything is going OK even when it’s not. We pretend the problem is not there or we pretend that it’s not as bad as it really is.
Sometimes we react to difficulty by getting bitter, by getting recriminatory, and sometimes by shaking our fists at God. When you don’t deal with your anger constructively, it affects every relationship in life–including your relationship with God. It is impossible to go through life angry at others and maintain a warm and positive relationship with God. You can’t hate your neighbor and love God at the same time. Some believers live that way for years–and then they wonder why God seems so distant and their prayers so empty and their Christian experience so lifeless. If that describes you, please take a good look inside, because you will never get better until you deal with the anger within.
Blame others for their circumstances.
This is a very popular option. We all use it sooner or later. Not long ago I met a man who went through a bitter, difficult divorce. He told me, “My divorce cost me thousands of dollars.” He was not exaggerating. I asked him, “Whose fault was it?” “Hers!” he said–and he meant it. He went on to say, “I taught Sunday School, I studied the Bible, I studied James Dobson, so when our marriage broke up, it was basically her fault.” Blaming always focuses on what someone else has done to us as the reason for our circumstances.
[Click here for a great video resource from Pastor David that will help you work through the issue of why bad things happen to good people and provide you helpful ideas of what you can do during a season of suffering.]
The fact of the matter is that all Christians suffer. Either you have, you are, or you will — “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). In light of this:
Here are three important truths about suffering every Christian should know:
Suffering is a necessary part of the Christian life.
As Christians, we like the thought of sharing in Christ’s glory, but what about sharing in His suffering? Jesus took care of the death penalty once and for all so we don’t ever have to worry about that again. But the Bible teaches that we must suffer times of trial if we are to share in the glory. Is it worth it? Read what Paul says in Romans 8:18: …For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!
God uses our present suffering to prepare us for future glory.
This life is Basic Training for eternity. God is using everything that happens in your life–including those things that seem utterly senseless–to prepare you for future glory. In this life we won’t know the answer to the question Why? But in the life to come we will either know the answer or it won’t matter because the glory will be so great that we will simply forget the pain of the past. Either way we will end up completely satisfied.
In the meantime we know that our suffering can never separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
If in all that I have said you can’t find any comfort, hang on to this: God still loves you. He loves you as much in the darkness as he does in the light. Nothing you are going through can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
With that thought, let us keep on going for the Lord. Be encouraged, Child of God. He loves you even in the midst of your pain. He loves you even when you don’t love him. He loves you when you feel utterly alone. He loves you with an everlasting love. Your suffering can take many things away from you–your health, your happiness, your prosperity, your popularity. But there’s one thing suffering can’t do. It can’t take away the love of God.
When we finally reach heaven, we will discover that God himself was with us every step along the way. We will stand in his presence redeemed and glorified. Every trace of this decaying world will be left far behind. The sufferings of this life will be but a dim memory, fading into the mists of a forgotten yesterday. Until then, since we cannot see the face of our God, let us trust under the shadow of his almighty wings.
[Click here for a great video resource from Pastor David that will help you work through the issue of why bad things happen to good people. This video will provide helpful ideas of what you can do during a season of suffering.]