Why do Bad Things Happen?


We all know that life can be very hard. For some, it’s an every day kind of thing, a normal routine. For others, it might just be several sporadic moments penciled in on the timeline of their life. I know people from both sides of that coin, and there is one distinct question that echos across the ages. Why? I don’t want to write this post merely from a spiritual point of view, but also from the human side of things.

A big question is always “Why do bad things happen to such good people?”. The easy, Bible-based answer is that there is no one on the Earth who is truly “good”. Romans 3:10 says, As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Further on in verse 23, Paul writes “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” For some, that is a harsh revelation right there. We entered into sin the moment we were birthed into this world. All of us. There was only One throughout all of history Who was born perfect. So we’re pretty much behind the 8 ball from the start.

My answer to that very same question? My “human” answer to those who don’t want to hear “Well, technically there are no good people in the world”? I have no idea. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.

I have a friend who lost his wife to cancer several years ago. They both worked hard, taught their son right and wrong, went to church, and gave money to charities. My friend is honest, intelligent, and an awesome father, but his wife still passed away. His wife was an amazing person and well liked throughout the community. Is it fair that her life had to end? Of course not. Why would God take her away from this world, her family, and everyone who loved her through the avenue of such a horrible disease? I don’t know.

What about the Steven Curtis Chapman family and the horrifying accident that took the life of their 5 year old girl, Maria Sue. Here’s a guy who sings Christian music and touches the lives of so many people. Their family adopts children from China. They remove them from horrible situations and give them a better life. How does it make sense that God would allow them to help a little girl escape a hard life, only to end up dying in their driveway at five years old? I don’t know. There is no possible way anyone can explain that.

No one wants to hear “God has a reason” or “Everything happens for a reason”, when they are bending over a coffin, tears streaming down their face, saying “I love you” to the one person they thought they would spend forever with. It’s so easy for people to say that when they have never experienced a devastating loss. I was quick to speak those words myself, until the day my Dad passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly.

When my Dad died, my entire view on grief, loss, and pain changed with that one event. I didn’t lose my faith in Christ, but I was very angry with God. It wasn’t fair. My Dad was such an awesome person, but yet he was taken. I didn’t want to hear anyone try to explain how God could do that. If anyone had said the cliche about there being a reason for everything, I would have punched them in the face. I didn’t care. All I knew was that my father would no longer be here, and I was heart broken and devastated beyond words.

I asked God why he would take Dad when there were plenty of prospects sitting on Death Row. Why not take one of those guys. One who might have murdered a convenience store clerk, or stuck a baby in a microwave. It struck me years later that Dad had Christ. He was a born again Christian and his eternal fate was already worked out. We all knew, without a doubt, he would spend eternity with Jesus. The guys on Death Row more than likely had not experienced an encounter with the Creator of the universe. Although it’s a very hard pill to swallow, the fact of the matter is that on Earth they still have a chance repent and turn to God. Dad is in the arms of Jesus. These guys need a savior.

We have to understand that people are human and all go through grief in their own way. It’s like athletes. Some respond well to yelling and screaming in their face while others prefer a calm, non-psychotic approach. I never want to be one that comes across as if I have all the perfect, neat answers to every problem in life. I would rather say “I don’t know” than try to explain, with my own understanding, how God works. I would venture to say that most grieving people would rather receive a genuine hug over spoken words anyway.

It makes me think of the way we try to convert people to Christ. There are many different methods, steps, and guides we could try, but it all comes down to one thing. Cultivating a relationship with another human being. Just like a grieving mother doesn’t want to hear “God has a reason” when she buries her five year old, those who are far from God don’t want to hear that they are sinners and will go to Hell if they don’t repent. While that is most certainly true, beating someone in the head with a Bible isn’t going to encourage them to become a Christian. I believe we have to show them Jesus before they will ever understand Jesus.

If a devastating event rocks your life and you come to me with the question “Why do bad things happen?” As a fellow human, I am going to say I don’t know, and then give you a hug. It’s the only thing I can do that makes any sense.

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Have a blessed day.

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