Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:2-5


In these articles we do a lot of talking about outlasting the bad times in life, and keeping the faith through the troubling times. However, something that we have not done yet is to try to answer the question, 'why do the bad things happen to good people in the first place?' This is an honest question and one that needs answering. However, in order to answer this question adequately, we need to clear a few things up.

First, we must understand that the idea of a 'good person' is purely relative. What I mean by that is that while we may consider someone a 'good person', our standards are way below those of God's. In the eyes of society, if you do not harm another person, you take care of your family, you try to do good deeds for others, these all make you a good person by our standards. However, Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This one passage says a lot about the goodness of man. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, it is not our standards that matter, but those of God.

Second, we have to understand that God gave the gift of Free Will to every person. God will not suspend someone's free will in order to stop bad things from happening. This means that God will not interject and stop someone from exercising their free will to live the life they choose. If they choose to live a life of sin and hurting others, then that is their choice. Just as God will not stop a person from serving Him, He will not stop those who want to live a life separated from Him. Their reward will come on the day of judgment, not here on Earth.

Third, we have to be mindful that God is not a respecter of persons. We have to consider this when we ask this question because it goes back to the fact that all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If God intercedes and stops something bad from happening to one person, would he not have to do it for all? Where would we draw the line between someone who deserves God's intercession, and someone who does not? Joe Smith deserves it because he is the president of the Rotary Club, and they do a lot of good work. Mary deserves God's protection because she's chairman of the bake sale charity, but Jenna doesn't, because she is just a regular member. Who is deserving and who is not? Where do we draw the line?

Sometimes people may ask why God sends a natural disaster such as a hurricane to destroy an entire city, like we saw in Hurricane Katrina. When we ask questions like this, we make a dangerous assumption that a loving God would choose to inflict pain and suffering in order to punish people, rather than stay true to His word that said that man's reward would come on the day of judgment. Regardless of how wicked we may think a society is, this goes back to God not interceding in a person, city, or nation's free will to live as they choose. While it is a tragedy that things like this happens, we can no more blame it on God than we can blame it on ourselves.

Even though bad things may happen in life, we know that if we choose to stay faithful to God, He will see us through the difficult times. Psalm 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." (KJV) He has given us a promise that He will carry our burdens for us, but we first have to be willing to let go of our troubles. This can be the hardest part of all of us, but it takes faith in His word, and the promise He made to us that He will deliver us.

When bad things happen in life, do not turn to God asking "why?" Rather, turn to Him and ask, "how?" How can I survive this tragedy and still stay near you? The answer of coarse is to give the hurt and pain it causes over to Him. James chapter 1:2-5 gives us the answer, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

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