Wednesday, March 31

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

This is the first of what I plan to be a regular Wednesday series on here - answering "Ask Mike" questions. Feel free to submit questions either on here or via email. I won't promise that I will get to all of them on here, but I will try to respond to each in one form or another.

One note on these blog posts - they won't be as complete an answer as some would want. It is my goal to keep the response fairly short and readable. There is much more that could be said about any of these questions. I'll just be hitting some of the "big ideas."


My first reaction to this question is why shouldn't bad things happen to good people? Why should we expect that good people should only experience good things? Our belief in this comes from several sources - poor theology that results in inaccurate preaching and teaching, our own sense of "justice"or "fairness", the concept of Karma, etc.

But the fact is that the Bible never promises that this would be the case:

Apostle Paul - "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him." Philippians 1:29

Apostle Peter - "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." I Peter 4:12

Jesus - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33

People suffer bad things for many reasons. We suffer because of our own bad choices. Some of the consequences are fairly minor. You get a speeding ticket or slide off of a slick road because you drive too fast. You pay an overdraft fee to the bank because you spent more money than you had in your account. Others are more severe - broken marriages, financial failure, job loss, jail time. But much of what we suffer comes by our own choices.

But we also suffer because of a fact of history that many choose to ignore: We live in a fallen world. The world that God created as perfect - environmentally, relationally, and spiritually - has been marred by mankind's rebellion against God and desire to assert self. You cannot grasp what you read in the newspaper without understanding this fact. We live in a fallen world with broken people on a broken planet.

So sometimes we suffer because of the bad choices of others. Innocent people suffer because of others' greed and cruelty and hard-hearts. Sometimes we suffer because we live on a planet that has marred by the Fall and damaged by mankind's lack of stewardship to care for that which God interested to us.

And sometimes we suffer because we have an enemy whose goal is to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10).

We are not going to avoid bad things in this life. What we can do is take heart that Jesus is with us and he has overcome the evil one.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

We can also choose to let God use bad circumstances in our life to build maturity.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

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