1997-06-23 - Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
This is a topic that has been suggested to me and I only admit to taking
a stab at this one. I would respond by returning a rhetorical question, Who
is good? I mean really, when the standard is, "You shall obey all My laws,
you shall love Me with your heart, soul, mind, and being, and you shall never
deviate from this standard," who is good?! If good is perfect obedience to
God, who is good? Honestly, no one. (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:10-12) If I were
reading at this point I would protest and say, "I know good people!" I even
know "good" people, who are decent, honest folk and are not Christians. So
we need to clarify what we mean by good. For our sake here I would like to
narrow the definition of who is good, to those who are regenerated in Christ.
So the question becomes why do bad things happen to Christians? I would like
to suggest two reasons, neither of which fully satisfy me.
- Bad things are the result of the Fall. When Adam sinned, bad things started
happening. Job 1:1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was
Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from
evil." And for the rest of the book of Job, we all know the story, he
had a happy, peaceful life and all was well with him and his family. He was
blameless, we say, so of course it went well with him. He deserved a nice
life, he was, after all, upright. Apparently not! After this opening verse,
his life was literally "turned upside down." He eventually did say to God,
"Hey what do you think you are doing, I don't deserve any of this!" After
God responded to Job, Job was a little more humble in his attitude. "Then
Job answered the Lord and said. "Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply
to thee? I lay my hand on my mouth." (Job 40:3, 4)
- Bad things lead us onward in sanctification. There is no guarantee that
this will be true in our lives, but it should be. Bad things can lead us
to despair, but they should not, they should drive us to the foot of the
cross, they should lead us to deeper trusting, fuller understandings of our
dependence upon and need for more grace, and deeper fellowship with our Lord.
May the Lord grant us the grace that this would be true in our lives.
"As long as there are spots in the moon, it is vain to expect anything spotless
under it." --Thomas Fuller
Soli Deo Gloria,