Do you know why bad things happen to good people? If so, please post in the comments below. If not, keep reading as I attempt to answer this question with the help of my church notes.
We will all go through our entire lives without finding a definitive/concrete answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people. Thankfully the Bible helps us understand what we should do when we have this question and others.
Some personal questions that I’ve struggled with lately or in the past have been…
- why do I have a mental illness?
- why was I born with a concave chest and have to have major surgeries?
- why have I been laid off twice before I turned 25?
What should we do when we have tough questions?
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT
We are to trust that God is in control, and not try to figure everything out. Let’s face it, there are a lot of question marks in life that we will never figure out and the title of this blog post is one of them.
- It’s not about why, it’s about how we respond
Have you heard of Job? (pronounced like robe with a J, not like a job where you go to work) He was a good man and he had 7 sons, 3 daughters, thousands of sheep and camels and hundreds of oxen and donkeys. He lived in the land of Uz and was the richest person in that entire area. (Job 1:1-3)
In modern language – Job had a very large number in his bank account, lived in a mansion, drove a Lamborghini, had a garage full of other nice cars, maids to do housework for him, and a big family.
Guess what happened? Yep, bad things happened to him. Thieves stole his oxen and donkeys, fire burned up his sheep and the shepherds, raiders stole his camels and killed his servants, and to top it all off, a house collapsed killing all his children, all on the same day.
Modern language – His bank account got hacked and went down to zero, his house burned down because of a lightning strike, someone stole his cars and killed his maids during the heist, and all his children died in a tragic accident, all in the same day.
So he had a bad day (gross understatement) but how did he respond?
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave.The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. Job 1:20-22
So even after suffering a great loss, Job chose to run to God and praise his name without getting caught up in why all of those things happened to him.
- Don’t get caught up in the why, run to God
It’s okay to have questions, feelings and getting upset. The difference is when we are caught up in the why, we aren’t looking to God in our questions or in our feelings but just staying in a cycle of WHY.
2 Reasons why we should run to God and not get caught up in the WHY cycle?
- The enemy wants to tear you down
Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
- The Father wants to lift you up
Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good 1 Peter 5:9-10 MSG
God wants you to respond to whatever is happening to you by turning to him and running to him so that you may grow and help you get closer to him. The reason for that is because he loves you.
There’s a part 2 to every story. Even if you had zero control to part 1, part 2 depends on and is determined by how you choose to respond to part 1.
Part 2 of Job’s story: The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first. He owned twice as many sheep, camels, cattle and donkeys. God restored his family, and he was the father of seven sons and three daughters. There were no other women in the whole world as beautiful as Job’s daughters. He lived 140 years after this, long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And then he died at a very great age. (Job 42: 12-17)
Job chose to run to God and not get caught up in the why. God found Job faithful and ends up restoring Job’s life and blessing his life more.
- How are you going to respond?
You can choose to get caught up in the whys and get stuck in a cycle of why, isolate yourself, and/or become bitter and angry with God.
Or will you choose to do what Job did. Run to God knowing that he loves you, and that he wants to use your story for your good and for his Glory.
I’m choosing the latter and I hope anyone reading this does as well. Peace be with y’all.
This blog post was made possible by attending Foothills Community Church in Seneca, SC on 3/12/17 – To watch the sermon online go to foothillscc.org watch/listen page, look up “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People” in the “WHY” Series.