Skip to main content

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do Bad things happen to Good People?

Firstly, what are we implying by this question? That bad people should or must have bad things happen to them. If this were so then where would grace fit in and where would I have been before I knew Christ?

Secondly what is, or what makes a person good? From God’s point of view, the only time the world and man were truly good was in the Garden of Eden, before the fall (Gen 1:31; And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day). Things went south after the Fall i.e. Bad things were a consequence of sin. And since then God has the following to say about the “goodness” of people:

Psa 14:2-3,

  1. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
  2. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Rom 3:10-12,

  1. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
  2. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
  3. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Rom 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Isa 64:6, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags

Paul goes on to say the following of  himself:

Rom 7:18-19,

  1. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
  2. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Because eternity is so real and God so pure, the Lord views ALL sin on an equal footing. The conclusion of this is that outside of Christ, we are all miserable, unholy and undeserving of any of God’s favours.

The question therefore now changes to: If God is a god of love, why does He allow people to suffer?

In keeping with the above point, Jeremiah 17:9  says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” 

Most people forget their need of God when things are good or allow their convictions to grow complacent. Biblical experience (plus examples of people we personally know) will prove that the greater the disciple, the harder the trial: Joseph, Moses, David, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, Shadrack and his two friends, Daniel. Read Hebrews 11 and see that the Lord refers to these types of people as people that the World was not worthy of.

We speak of a number of baptisms: Baptism into the Body of Christ, Baptism into Water, Baptism of the Holy Ghost, but very little is mentioned of Baptism of Suffering.  Consider the following:

Mat 20:20-23,

  1. Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
  2. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
  3. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
  4. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

The baptism spoken of here obviously wasn’t a pleasant one, but it was guaranteed.

Then there is another aspect. Look at the following:

Joh 9:1-3,

  1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
  2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
  3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

This serves to confirm that sometimes things won’t make sense, but that God allows them because He simply knows better.

In short Isa 55:8-9 ,

  1. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  2. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This fact is also confirmed in Job where God allows hardship so that He may prove to Satan that Job’s heart was pure and just.

Some other verses to meditate on:

Heb 5:8, Though he [Jesus] were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered

1Pe 4:1-2,

  1. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
  2. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

Jam 1:2-4 MSG,

  1. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
  2. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
  3. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

I know that this may sound crazy on a human level but it’s because God loves us and because He so desperately wants to spend eternity with us, that He allows hardship to cross our paths that we might stay focused and more than that, have opportunity and desire to draw even closer to him.

The question thus changes for the third time: If God is God and knows all things, why does He allow some people to go through such sever trial, when compared with other people?

Well as far as that question goes, I have no idea except that God IS God; all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, all understanding. He is Holy, Just, Sovereign, etc, etc.

Lastly, two points worth affirming:

Job, our all time example of hardship says, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5) i.e. his experience of God in his trials took him from an academic understanding of God to a deeply personal, intimate and very real relationship with his Heavenly Father.

In this verse Job goes on not to curse or question God for all his trials but rather says, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)

The world would say that God was cruel and unfair. Job responds that God is just and righteous and that he (Job) is unworthy. This definitely provokes me to deep thought.

Rom 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

1Co 15:19-20

19.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

In short, our Lord and saviour i.e. our Heavenly Father is working all things out in our personal lives as He sees fit. Not because He is playing games with us or is cruel but because He knows (in light of eternity) what is good and best for us. He knows that the moment we pass from this life, to the next that like Christ (Heb 12:2; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.) we too will experience the absolute joy of being with our Lord. In fact, in that day, the worst of life’s experiences will seem totally insignificant and of no consequence when being compared to the joy of being in His glorious presence.

Rev 21:1-6

  1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
  2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
  3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
  4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
  5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
  6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

(Unless stated, all verses are from the KJV)