…Why do bad things happen?
I’ve thought about it, you’ve thought about it.
We’ve all thought about this at some point or maybe we haven’t.
Let’s not even bother getting deep in defining the difference between what’s bad (evil) and what’s good. <— That’s a book in itself lol
We’re talking earthquakes, tsunamis, diseases, mass shootings, genocide.
If God is so good and capable of preventing all of these things from happening…why do they still occur?
Let’s begin with people.
Why does God allow people to commit acts of evil?
The question can be somewhat answered by asking a similar question
“How come God doesn’t forcefully make us love Him?”
God didn’t create us to be robots, because He desired for us to intentionally desire Him.
Otherwise, why would the Bible consistently reminds us to “love the lord your God with all your heart..”
As a matter of fact, Matthew 22:36-40 explains that our love for God is the greatest commandment.
God will never force an unwilling individual to obey Him.
We see an example of this in Genesis 4:6-8, where God begins reasoning with Cain in attempts to prevent him from killing Abel (his brother). Unfortunately, Cain still chose his way and killed Abel.
This is what gets me though.
God created the heavens, the earth and Cain’s father from DUST…within a span of 7 days! He was obviously more than capable of preventing Cain from committing this act of evil.
But He chose not to, because again, He desires for us to willfully choose Him over our sins.
Alright…well what about things like natural disasters? Sudden sicknesses & diseases?
Natural bad things happening to people, even Christians, out of nowhere?
Thankfully, a man of God by the name of Job, asked this very question to God in the midst of severe chaos.
Scripture makes clear that Job was a blameless, upright man who feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1).
Despite these attributes of Job, the following events happened to Him.
- He lost all of his property (oxen/ sheep/ camels) and children on the same day –> Job 1:13-19
- He was struck with loathsome (repulsive) sores all over his body –> Job 2:7-8
Here we see a clear example of dreadful events striking a man who (according to scripture) was blameless, upright and feared God.
Despite his initial attempt to remain strong, (Job 1:20-22), he eventually began to question God as many of us would (Job 31).
The answer God gave to Job’s questions was profound.
God rhetorically asked Job several questions, implying that His wisdom was far beyond understanding.
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?” – Job 38:34
“Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?” – Job 38:35
“Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” – Job 40:9
(Read Job 38 – 41 for God’s full response).
After hearing all this, Job repents before God for questioning his wisdom (Job 42:1-6) and God restores him with fortunes and a new family (Job 42:10-17).
Now despite the big turn around at the end of this story, notice what God did not tell Job…
“All these events occurred as a means of me testing your faith”
Now as observers of this story, we know why all this occurred –> God permitted Satan to Job’s faith (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6).
However, unlike us, Job never found out why all these events struck him. Yet he was humble enough to repent before God for questioning his immeasurable wisdom.
…With all that being said, how does this relate to us in our day to day life?
Well, to answer the question “If God is so good, why do bad things happen?”
The reality is, none of us will ever truly understand the exact reason why any of it happens.
However, God’s response to Job gives us a humbling reality to reflect upon as Christians:
It’s not our job to understand the ways of God, it’s our job to trust Him.
Thankfully, our trust is not in vain.
Truth is being a Christian doesn’t disqualify you from suffering, but gives hope to all circumstances.
Because we have faith that everything..literally every..single..thing.. works out for our good.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose
A great example of this is found in the story of Joseph, the youngest of Jacob’s s 12 sons (read Genesis 37 – 50 for the full story)
Out of jealousy, Joseph’s own brothers threw him into a pit and sold him as a captive to Egypt.
However, God used this act of evil to display His goodness to Joseph and future generations of Israel (Genesis 50:17-20)
Bad things will always happen.
But the only unwavering hope in the midst of darkness is Jesus.
See some examples below:
God will use everything, to work out for the good of those who love Him.
Whether you reap of this good in this life or the life to come, God is still faithful.
Believe in Jesus.
Already believe in Him? Continue pressing on. Rely on Him and the church.
Most importantly, know that He is forever with you, in all of it.
Soli Deo Gloria