Do you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people? Harold S. Kushner a Jewish Rabbi wondered that also. He had come to such a crossroads in his faith that he wondered if God really cared about us. Then he wrote “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”. Of course, it was written entirely from an Old Testament view, and without the benefit of knowing the Messiah.
Others have written many books, sermons and articles on this subject, but we, as born-again, spirit-filled Christians, we sometimes may get the impression that we are supposed to be immune from trials and tribulations. However, sometimes bad things happen to us, and we wonder: “why?” There are many reasons, and sometimes we may not know the reasons.
- Jesus promised us we would have “tribulations”:
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
- Because we are the “children” and “heirs” of God:
Romans 8:16-18 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us.”
- Sometimes we are “tried” or tested:
James 1:2-4 “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.
Proverbs 17:3 “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.”
We are purified by God’s refining “fire” to burn away the contamination from the world in our life. Just as heating to extreme temperatures, causing the “dross” or impurities to rise to the surface so they can be removed, purifies gold or silver, so are we also “refined” when God turns up the heat on us.
- I doubt that God can use anyone greatly until they have been hurt deeply, and recovered by God’s grace, mercy and comfort.
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
1st Peter 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
We live in a sinful world, surrounded by sinful people (ourselves included) who are sometimes influenced by Satan to attack us with everything they’ve got. However, we can rest on the assurance that this life is just “a season” as the Apostle Peter put it.
Some people believe bad things happen to us as a punishment for sin. I say, look at Job; he was a righteous man who did not deserve what happened to him.
Job 1:1 “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
Job 1:8 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
How about Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel): in Genesis we read where he was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was then put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, where he stayed for several years, until he had an opportunity to interpret a dream of the Pharaoh. He was then placed in a position of great authority, which enabled him to help his family survive a famine (including the same brothers that sold him into slavery). This enabled God to preserve the lineage from which Jesus would be born a few thousand years later.
Then in Genesis 50:19-20, after Israel dies, Joseph’s brothers feared the day of retribution had come. However, Joseph, being the Godly man he was said: “Fear not, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
Or as the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome: “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His promise.
Nevertheless, there is a principle of “sowing and reaping” that God has placed in His word. Although we sometimes want to focus only on the positive side of this promise, there is also a negative aspect to the principle:
Galatians 6:7-10 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
That brings me to another point. I get very discouraged when I hear Christians putting others down, especially when they are speaking of other Christians. I don’t care if they are in public office, or in politics, I don’t believe it helps the cause of Christ to have believers slandering or spewing hatred toward or about anyone (much less if they are Christians).
As a line in a song states: “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future”
- God is still on His throne, and He’s still in control.