After posting a comment on a recent article on the Bel Air Patch, regarding a serious car accident, I was asked the question that many who don't understand the power of God ask. Why do bad things happen to good people? It took me some time to respond to that question, because in all honesty, that has to be one of the hardest questions to answer; one of the hardest things to understand. After a quick thought, I responded with a simple "I don't know why bad things happen to good people but I know that God loves all." It was an honest answer, but after much reflection, I realized the answer I gave was one of those answers that are wrapped up nice and neat in a pretty little box. My answer was generic.
I have prayed about and pondered that question since that day, asking God to reveal the response I should have given. I've come to expect that the answers to my prayers are not always delivered by FedEx, nor are they always tied up in a neat little package like my answer was and the answer to this prayer was no different. In the days since I began meditating on this question, I have heard of so many tragic events, where terrible things have happened to good people. Young people taking their own lives, children being abused, babies being stricken by cancer, car and motorcycle accidents taking lives or changing lives drastically and people losing loved ones to drugs or illness. Everywhere I turned: tragedy after tragedy.
I started to reflect on my life and the lives of people that I am close to and the bad things that have happened in our lives. I thought back to the death of my father, just 42 years old; a police officer and an incredible husband, father and friend. The day of his death, he had worked to save the lives of several people stricken with heat exhaustion, only to die that very night of a massive heart attack. I thought of my mother and mother-in-law, both wonderful Christian women, mothers, grandmothers, and friends, who both lost terrible battles with cancer. Then there was our dear Christian brother, Ed Rogers, who was killed last July in a motorcycle accident. I've had friends who have dedicated their lives to Christ and still have been dealt the blows of drug addiction, job losses, serious illnesses and deaths of loved ones. Bad things happening to good people.
So after much reflection, meditation and prayer this is what I have come to realize. God, is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent and why should I, a human being and not all these things, be able to fully understand God's ways? The book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible is a great example of this. Job, was a devout, faithful, servant of God, and because of his faithfulness, God had blessed Job immeasurably. One day, Satan came to God and challenged Him, telling God that if all of his blessings, his health, his family, his home, and his livelihood were taken away, surely Job would curse God and turn away. God agreed to Satan's test and allowed him (Satan) to take away all of Job's blessings short of his life and with great joy Satan did. But instead of trying to understand why God allowed these things to happen to him, Job, knowing God is good, remained faithful to Him. In Job 1:21, Job says, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." In his suffering Job continued to hope in the Lord. Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him." Because of his faithfulness, (Job 42:10) God restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
When I really thought about the question, why do bad things happen to good people? I was struck by one thing in particular, "good people." The fact is that there are no "good" people on this earth. We are all tainted by sin. Even the most devout Christians, the nicest, kindest, most giving people you have ever known are tainted by sin. Everyday that we are alive on this earth is only by the grace and mercy of God. So I guess the real question should be, "Why do good things happen to bad people?"
The answer to this question is made clear in Romans 5: 8, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God loves us so much that He paid the penalty of our sin with His own death, assuring that those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior,will have eternal life in heaven. Not what we deserve by any means but what He gives to those who trust the Lord. Plain and simple, despite the evil, sinful nature of our human lives, God still loves us. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
In a nut shell, none of us deserve the blessings we have and unfortunately bad things do happen to people who seem undeserving of them. But one thing is certain, God will use every situation for good. You may not see it in the moment, but one day it will be revealed to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
Things are gonna happen to us that we don't understand, but we are secure in the promise of Jesus. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us this, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Jesus doesn't candy coat it, he says there will be trouble, but he gives us the assurance of victory in him!!
So...when life delivers that swift kick in the gut, don't double over in pain, but stand upright in the knowledge that God's got it!!
Until next time, I'm done asking why!