Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

WhyDeep down in our human psyche lies this belief that only good things should happen to good people and that bad things should happen to bad people. This belief governs our life so much so that when good people suffer, including ourselves, we find ourselves asking the question “why do bad things happen to good people?”

Yet the very question reveals the inadequacies and missing gaps in our thinking. First of all, it mistakenly equates goodness or righteousness with good living. The line of reasoning here goes something like this – “if I am good, good things will happen to me.” While this is true, this reasoning fails to reveal the fact that bad things will also happen, which brings me to my second of all: both good and bad things happen to everyone, and that is the nature of life! Jesus Himself confirmed this truth saying, “God causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5.45, NASB).”

Jesus also said that in this world we will have trouble. This means that good people and bad people alike will experience heartache, will deal with death, will have financial troubles, will starve and go without food. While we can continue asking the question of why these things taken place, we can also delight in the fact that Jesus has overcome every single problem that we will ever experience through his death and resurrection. Maintaining this perspective allows us to shift our question from “why did this happen” to “how can God get the glory in this situation?”

You see, Jesus is in the redeeming business. Every single problem that we face, He wants to redeem for His purposes. This is not to say that He causes the problems –sin, Satan, and our own flesh are usually behind most of the problems that we experience – but as the Bible says He is able to take everything that Satan meant for our destruction and work it out for our good. So as hard as what we are going through may be, we should begin to ask ourselves how God’s name can be gloried in the midst of it.

This outlook also allows us to see our problems in light of what God purposes to do in the world. It is not just about us, but about all of humanity and God’s desire to bring every single person back to Himself in a restored relationship with Him. How do our problems align with God’s larger purpose? How can God use our testimony of struggle, triumph, forgiveness, and redemption to bring someone into His kingdom? Perhaps if we begin to see what we go through in this light, we will stop asking the why question altogether and start looking for ways to bring God glory though it.

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