I suppose we have all wondered this at one time or another. When a child dies in a freak accident, we question life. When a new mom passes away in childbirth, we throw up our hands, demanding answers, letting them fall back down limply in grief. When a family slips away from this earth as they sleep, a shocked community and even the world wonder why them.
We all want to know why only the good die young or why in the world wonderful, kind people find themselves in tragedy while the rotten, selfish folks continue on their merry way, skipping and whistling through their seemingly perfect lives. I mean, seriously, why do bad things happen to good people?!
This is especially a difficult question for believers, and by that, I mean people like myself, Christians, followers of Christ. We believe in a sovereign God who holds the world in the palm of His hand. We believe He controls our lives, controls the very ocean waves and violently strong wind when it blows. Why do people who love the Lord have their houses burn down, lose a child, have to say goodbye to their marriage, suffer through sickness, or get laid off from work?
Why do bad things happen to good people?!
I think the first thing we have to do in these questioning moments is to remember that questions are good. They’re not bad in themselves. I think God, especially as a Father, understands children who desire answers. So we shouldn’t feel guilty for our angry, sorrowful questions thrown emotionally into the air, but we should also be open to the answers that will come. The thing about answers is they don’t always come until much later. So we have to hold on to what we know.
I believe the first thing to keep in mind when bad things happen is God’s character. He is good. And since He’s good, bad doesn’t flow from Him. God doesn’t make bad things happen to us. He’s not mad at us. He doesn’t want to teach us a lesson like a stern schoolmaster, or purposefully injure us like a cruel kid pulling the wings off a fly. God is good. God is Love. Therefore, He wants love and goodness for His children.
His Word states He works all things for the good of those who love Him. That means that even the bad can be worked for our good.
We do live in a sin-filled world, a world ruled by sin, a world where sin creates bad things. God doesn’t create the bad, but He does work the bad for our eventual good. It’s hard to see that good in the thick of the bad, but as Christians who know God’s character, we can hold fast to that truth.
I can remember years ago, when my daughters were babies, continuously praying for their health. Sick babies are so scary. If you’ve ever held a tiny infant’s chest in your hand and felt their tiny ribcage rattle with the rough movement of mucus, you know what I mean. I can recall during one prayerful morning the Lord speaking something to me about their health. I had been praying for zero sicknesses. Perfect health, if you will. And the Lord reminded me of reality. They had to get sick!
As a nurse, I knew the importance of them getting those little viruses. They needed to build their weak, immature immune systems. If they didn’t get a little sick with some common sniffles every once and a while, then they wouldn’t be able to handle a bigger virus if it ever came. Sometimes, you need a little sickness to make you stronger.
I know you’ve heard people say jokingly, “Let them play in the dirt. It builds their immunity.”
Well, sometimes, life gets dirty to build us stronger.
Even as my children are young now, when they fall, I know it’s for a reason. They’d never learn to be careful if they didn’t trip and fall first. They’d never understand accidents hurt if they never felt pain.
It’s the pain that matures us.
It’s the sickness that builds us.
It’s the fire that refines us.
It’s the hurt that teaches us.
It’s the tests that create our testimony.
I don’t always know why bad things happen to good people! But I do know this. I know God works the bad for our good.
I know that, through the struggle, we grow closer to Him.
I know that, in transversing through pain, we become stronger.
I realize that, in the bad, we become better.
I get that, in the fire, I don’t walk alone.
He is with me.
I can see that, even in the bad, He is good and His purposes always prevail.
But sometimes, you can’t see. You can’t see Him. You can’t see how all the bad can ever be good! You can’t see the purpose in the pain! You can’t see why bad things happen to good people. You can’t see.
You can’t see the steps that lie ahead for you. You’re too afraid to walk farther. You can’t even see behind you to remind you of His past provision. But do you know what?
He sees you.
He knows your pain. And He knows the way past it. He knows the steps you take, and He knows how to lead you to higher ground. He sees. Even when we are blinded by the bad, He sees good.
I don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people, but I do understand this. I understand that nothing we have been through or are going through now, in fact, no trial we face in this world can compare to the glory that awaits us.
We face a tough world in the current, but the current problems of this world are like a passing mist compared to an eternity with Jesus. If we would only put on Kingdom Eyes, we could see! We could see that the bad we face here is nothing. Our victory is in Christ. Our victory brings only good things ahead.
So, come on, sickness, debt, disaster, and such. We can count it all as joy, for it is building us stronger, wiser, more mature, and closer to Him.
Why do bad things happen to good people? So we can become good like Him, better than we are. So He can show His love and power to us by lifting us higher. So He can take us beyond the passing bad to a constant good. A forever good. That is a future I can handle.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on briegowen.com
Featured Image by Gus Moretta