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Bad Things . . . Good People . . . Why?
The Question Everyone Asks
It's an ancient question. Everyone wants to understand why good people still experience bad things. Let me give you a heads up. Everything you are about to read is from a Judeo-Christian perspective. In my mind to ask the question without recognizing that we have a Creator is ludicrous. If our existence isn't based on a Sovereign Deity with some control over His creation, then what is "good and bad" is strictly a matter of opinion. What I think is inappropriate may not at all line up with what you believe. On top of that, in a world without the Almighty, then everything is completely random. There is no rhyme or reason why good or bad things happen to anyone.
There are a lot of Biblical reasons for the evil that people experience, even good people. As you read, some will find hope and sense in the midst of the chaos. Others will discover some advice to help you through the struggles. And for many who've read the scriptures for years, you won't read anything new. Because the truth is, what I'm about to tell you isn't a new revelation, it's just a new way to present it.
What you'll find below is not by any means an exhaustive explanation. There's not enough room here to include all the details, and because of our humanness, there are things we won't understand this side of heaven. If you find something troubling or leaving you with more questions than answers, be sure to leave your wonderings and comments below. Let's have a good friendly discussion. So, here goes. Why DO bad things happen to good people?
Sin messed everything up
The Number One Reason
The primary reason that bad things happen to good people has its roots in a piece of history as old as time. God created the world and said that everything was good. However, it didn't take long for humans to mess it all up.
God gave Adam and Eve only one "rule:" don't eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yep, they could do anything else they wanted to. All kinds of fruit and vegetables were at their disposal, but when the devil posed as a snake and fed them lies, they doubted God and decided to try out the "forbidden fruit." This seemingly small faux pas introduced sin into the world. You can read the full story in Genesis 1-3
And with sin came evil and bad things. If everyone in the world would choose to serve God rather than their own whims, a lot of the "bad" things that happen would cease. But every generation since Adam and Eve has chosen to ignore the Creator's instructions and live for themselves. Most people believe that their sin doesn't affect anyone else, but they are wrong. All of our lives are intertwined. Even though I may not know each person reading this, my disobedience still has the potential to mess up your day.
Some sin, the kind that damages the body and the emotions, actually has the potential over time to compromise and change DNA to produce things like cancer and chromosome problems. That doesn't mean that your personal sin has caused any kind of diseases to effect you or your family. It explains how years of disregarding the standards that God has put before humans has gradually compromised the perfection that God originally created. A lot of the "rules" that humans see as stifling, God put there to protect his perfect creation, including the original rule, "don't eat from the tree."
God Loves You
The Least Popular Reason Good People Face Bad Things
Proverbs 3:12, Proverbs 3:24, Hebrews 12:6 and Revelation 3:19 all tell us that God disciplines those He loves. It's a Scriptural fact that no one really ever wants to hear. Those God loves, He will discipline.
This discipline comes in a variety of ways. Israel often found themselves without the protection of God's hand when they decided to rebel against their Heavenly King. More than once we see the people of God walking away from God's provision. But even with all the examples and warning from scripture, people keep doing it today and then they wonder why bad things are happening.
God loves us. Which means that He wants what's best for us. Fortunately, He knows what's best for us, too! When we are young in the faith, God tends to rescue us a bit more often, much like the way a parent will rush to rescue a small child from falling down the stairs. But as our children get older, we begin to allow them to walk down the stairs alone, and when they don't pay attention to our warnings when there is too much horseplay, sometimes they'll fall. As we grow, our Heavenly Father treats us in much the same way. His discipline sometimes hurts, but it's always for our best and it's always because He loves us.
We Have Free Will
God won't make anyone do anything they don't want to do
In the 2003 movie, "Bruce Almighty" featuring Jim Carrey, God gave Bruce a few rules to follow if he wanted to be God. He couldn't tell anyone he was God. He couldn't make anyone love him, and he couldn't change anyone's free will. I know it was a Hollywood Movie, but those facts about God are very scriptural.
As I said in the last section, there are things that happen every day because ever since the beginning of time sin has caused bad things to happen. Many people have a hard time with that concept, because If God really is as Omnipotent as we believe, he is in control of every situation. But the Bible is clear that God has chosen to give His creation free will. Every person has complete control over their own life.
The good news is you can do anything you want, and God will not stop you. The bad news is you neighbor can do anything he wants, and God won't stop him. Everyone you come in contact every day has the potential to turn you good day into a bad one. God won't stop the drunk driver from getting behind the wheel. It's difficult to fathom why God won't stop some things.
There's really no way for us to completely understand since an all knowing God designed and planned it, and our minds are too small to comprehend. Isaiah 55:9 says “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." As long as we live on this earth, we'll never fully understand why God works the way He does.
What I do understand is that God never changes. He said, "I am the same yesterday, today and forever." If God allowed Adam and Eve to make choices that would ultimately lead to their demise, then He will allow me to make choices regardless of the fact He knows the outcome. Plus, He will allow one man or woman's sin to effect those around him or her.
Because I understand that free-will can effect my circumstances, when I'm going through a rough patch, one of the first things I do is check my recent decisions. Even while I'm trying to follow Christ, I manage to make bad decisions. Either I don't ask God's opinion, or when He gives it, I don't follow His advice. While not every bad day is a result of my own free-will, it happens often enough that when it is, I want to catch it early, change my course and learn from my mistake.
So, between our own bad choices and the choices of those around us, the odds of bad things happening, even to the best of people, grows every day. If you've chosen to surround yourself with people who are committed to following Christ and listen to His advice more often, you may find those odds get a little better. Likewise if you surround yourself with folks who ignore the Holy Spirit and path God might lead them on, you might find the odds going the other way.
Devotion Readings - to Help you Get Closer to God
This isn't all
There's so much more
These three points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding why bad things happen to good people. I've been studying, praying and learning about it for years. It's a question that everyone asks, and it's one that I like to help people find the answer to. So, feel free to leave your questions or comments. If I get enough response, I plan to add more scripture and information on the subject.
I look forward to hearing from you!
The only thing I ask is that you keep it respectful and friendly.