Posted by: missionventureministries | July 11, 2019

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE? – Psalm 37:1-2, 7-8

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away… Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:1-2, 7-8)

The truth is that we can’t know all the reasons why God lets bad things happen. We know some, because we cause them ourselves. We live in a world that is affected by sin, so difficulties and disappointments will sooner or later cross our path. Nevertheless, if we ask God for discernment, we can begin to understand why He allows some things to occur. We can also discover how God can convert the situation and bring benefits to our life as a result of suffering.

Scripture teaches us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) And Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When bad things happen to us we should search for God’s answers and see if He is trying to get our attention to teach us to develop spiritual maturity. We need to remember that “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

When we trust in God, we can be confident that He will not allow anything to happen to us without His permission, and He will not let any “bad thing” happen that will not ultimately bring us more good than destruction. As the Scripture teaches us: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

It is hard for us to understand God at times as Isaiah writes “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (55:8–9). 

Jesus suffered much. He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He was ridiculed, betrayed, beaten, humiliated, abandoned, and falsely accused. Do you think that Jesus was ever tempted to be resentful toward those who caused His suffering? Of course He was. In fact, the Bible says He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), but He remained obedient to the Father.

“Without sin” – Here is the difference between man’s responses which is anger and bitterness (sin), and Jesus Christ’s response of trust and perfect obedience to His Father’s will. How, then, can we face temptation without sinning? The next verse in this biblical passage gives us the answer: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Jesus showed us the right way to respond to suffering. In our hard circumstance, tragedy or heartbreaking disappointment, we can learn to respond as Jesus did. As we study God’s Word, be alert to Christ’s responses when He suffered. We need to follow His example as God guides us by His Holy Spirit, in each situation we encounter.

God wants us “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). During this process the Lord gives us grace to respond to every circumstance as Jesus would respond, and we develop the divine character. The Bible tells us that even the Son of God learned obedience through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8)

If bad things happen to us we should be asking: “Is this situation that I am in God’s discipline to correct me? Is God trying to get my attention before it is too late? Have I disobeyed my heavenly Father?” Because God loves us, He will chasten us as a Father chastens a son (Hebrews 12:5-11). It is important to remember that “no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we need to repent, and as a result: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In the Old Testament we read about Joseph, who went through terrible suffering, being sold into slavery by his brothers, he was unfairly accused and falsely imprisoned. Finally, after about 12 years, he was put in a role of great authority where he could save the lives of his family and many others. This is what he said to his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). 

As we see, if we are committed to God, He promises that He can and will take whatever pain we are experiencing and produce something good from it for His honor and glory. 

The book of Job is another one that deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1), yet he suffered in ways that are almost beyond belief. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him and Satan did everything to make Job’s life unbearable. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). And, “the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well.

We live in a fallen world, and we experience the effects of the fall. One of those effects is injustice and seemingly senseless suffering; and when wondering why God would allow bad things to happen to good people; it’s also good to consider the following: 

  • Bad things may happen to good people in this world, but this world is not our final destination. Christians have an eternal perspective: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18). We need to always remember that we are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, and will some day have a great reward.
  • Bad things happen to good people, but God uses those bad things for an ultimate, lasting good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). When Joseph, innocent of wrongdoing, finally came through his horrific sufferings, he was able to see God’s plan in all that happened to him (Genesis 50:19–21).
  • Bad things happen to good people, and equip believers for a deeper ministry. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3–5). Those with scars can better help those going through conflicts.

As we see, God allows things to happen for a reason. Whether or not we understand His reasons, we must remember that God is good, just, loving, and merciful (Psalm 135:3). Often, bad things happen to us that we simply cannot understand; therefore, instead of doubting God’s goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Jesus said “in the world you shall have tribulation.” Suffering is the price we pay for living in a fallen world. “Don’t be surprised by the fiery ordeal as though some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). As tragic as some of life’s circumstances are, Jesus warned the people to quit being so concerned about temporary tragedies and start being concerned with the greatest tragedy of all – dying and being separated from God.

Although God truly cares about the difficulty you might be experiencing, He promises that all suffering for the believer is temporary. What is much most important is that you be delivered from the ultimate suffering – separation from God – and that your final deliverance from suffering comes when you are ushered into heaven because you are a truly born again child of God.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled…

and blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.

(Matthew 5:6, 8)

*******


Responses

  1. Thanks so much.
    — R&D


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