This is one of the profound questions facing our world today and it is often posed to the Christian as a way of disproving the existence of a morally just God. But I have come to the conclusion that I believe we are asking the wrong question. The question should not be “Why do bad things happen to good people?” but rather “Why do we think bad things shouldn’t happen to good people?”
I believe this is a fair question. Why do we believe that, because we are good, nothing bad should happen to us? I am not saying that to minimise tragedies that have occurred but I want to get to the heart of the issue. I feel that as a generation we have an entitlement problem. We expect good things to happen to us solely because we do good things. At no time in human history has this topic been as hotly debated as during this generation. Atheists declare that because bad things happen (ie evil) the God of the Bible cannot exist. How could an all powerful, ever loving and perfectly good God allow evil? Of course an easily spoken, not so easy to accept, answer to that question is that God must have a good reason for allowing evil to exist (ie Free Will). But diving into that debate is not the purpose of this post. I want to explore the motive behind the question.
All throughout the Bible, and history as a whole, bad things have been happening to good people. Abel was murdered by Cain. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. David was chased by Saul for many years. Daniel was put in the lion’s den. John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod. The Apostles and the Disciples were martyred. And Jesus Christ, God Himself, was crucified. Now pause for a second and look at that list. If anybody didn’t deserve bad things to happen to them it was these men and women. So why, after reading through this Bible, do Christians still question bad things happening to good people? And why do Atheist believe that this is a valid question to ask a religion with a history such as the Christian faith?
Bad things happen to good people because bad things happen to people. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad. Listen to what Jesus said during his ministry:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV)
That basically means good things sometimes happen to bad people and bad things sometimes happen to good people. That is just a thing we call life, in this fallen world. What gives us hope is that our Saviour endured this grand injustice. The perfect man experienced the perfect evil. He who only did good was hung naked on a cross. Why? Not only to identify with our pain, but ultimately to right this horrible wrong. Peter writes this in his first book:
“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:17-18 NKJV)
That is why we have hope! Jesus has made a way! Because He died I can now have life and life more abundantly. Because He rose again I can now spend Eternity with Him.
When bad things happen to good people we sense the imperfections of this world and we look to the day when we will be brought Home – to the place our soul longs for. A place where there will be no more sorrow or burdens to bear. A place where there will be no more sickness or pain. A place where there will be no tears or fears. A place where justice and peace will reign!