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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Why do bad things happen to good people? That's been the question from many people and the source of numerous articles and books. It's a good question. If God didn't "zap" a person, why did He allow it? Why did a drunk driver kill practically a whole family, leaving only a small child behind? Why didn't God stop a person from abusing or molesting a child? Honestly, I'm sitting here typing with my eyes closed (my stance so that I can type what God wants me to type), trying to think of how God would want me to answer the question. It's difficult. But, first of all, know that God does have the power to stop those things. But, when He created mankind, He gave them a choice. Their choice resulted in sin. We are plagued by sin. Oh, I certainly don't mean that a person gets sick because they've sinned. I've heard that before, too. Now that I think about it, I have been around a lot of stupid people!! I just mean that because of sin and the bad choices that we make, there are consequences. Most of these consequences affect more than just that one person. An affair affects more than just the two people involved. A drunk driver affects more than himself, even if he's the only person killed in an accident. His/her whole family is affected--forever! I hope that I'm not rambling, but I'll try to answer as best as I can. Yes, God could stop those things, and because He doesn't does NOT mean He doesn't love us. He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we can live with Him forever. I can't fathom that kind of love.

After my fall and the major downward spiral of my MS, my neurologist sent me to a counselor. He looked at me like I had three heads, and all of them green, when I said, "I know that God is in control. I know there is a reason for my MS, my depression, and my disability." I remember sitting in my wheelchair in my kitchen crying, praying that I'd overcome my depression. Then, it hit me....I was going through this so that I could help others. I prayed that if God would just bring me out of that terrible pit, that I would try my best to help others who suffered from depression. So, I did quite a bit of research on the topic and was surprised that I really didn't find that much written from a Christian perspective. I wanted to find out what the bible had to say about depression, life's struggles.

I really focused in the book of James. James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." NIV

Notice that he does not say, ”if” you face trials; he says “whenever” you face them because they are coming. That does not sound encouraging, but it is realistic. Trials happen, and they happen regularly. God uses suffering in our lives to build our faith.

James not only mentions trials, he mentions trials of many kinds. From the Greek word for “many,” we get the English word "polka-dotted." That is, life is "dotted" with trials. They are everywhere from little irritations to great tragedies. The strange thing, however, is the fact that James tells us that we should “consider it pure joy” when we face trials. James is not saying, "feel joyful" because that would be impossible. If you felt joyful when bad things happened to you, there would probably be something wrong with your mind. But, you can be joyful because you know God is in control and that he has good in mind for you.

I found a neat story (author unknown) that I' like to share:

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.
The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled.

The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

The man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand that the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was necessary to force fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight upon achieving its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our lives without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don't forget the power in the struggle. –Author Unknown

James 1:3 says that "the testing of your faith develops perseverance." The word “perseverance” comes from the prefix “per” which means “through,” and the
word “severe.” It means to keep on pressing on, even through severe circumstances.

I found a good example of perseverance:

In 1987, Henry Dempsey was the pilot on a commuter flight from Portland, Maine to Boston. While flying, Henry heard a noise from the back of the airplane. He turned the control over to the co-pilot and went to see what it was. As he reached the tail section, the plane hit an air pocket, and he was thrown against the rear door. The rear door had not been latched properly at take off, and when he was thrown against it, the door opened, and he was instantly sucked out of the jet. The co-pilot, realizing what had happened, radioed the nearest airport requesting permission to land and asked for a helicopter to search that area of the ocean. He was hoping that his friend could survive the fall into the water. After the plane had landed, they found the pilot holding on to the outdoor ladder of the plane. Somehow he had managed to catch hold of the ladder and to hold on for 10 minutes as the plane flew 200 miles an hour at the altitude of 4000 feet. Dempsey held on when the plane started its decent. Dempsey, with his face less than 12 inches away from the concrete, held on when the plane's wheels made contact with the runway. Dempsey held on when the plane came to a halt, and Dempsey held on after the rescue workers arrived. Dempsey held on when they told him he was safe. And when they said, "You can let go," Pilot Dempsey found he couldn't. It took more than fifteen minutes for rescue workers to pry his hands from that rail. Pilot Dempsey had held on. He had no other choice, because nothing else was going to save him.

That’s really pressing on through severe circumstances. Like Dempsey, we must learn to persevere by holding on to God with such strength. Don't let go!!!

I don't know if I've answered the question in my rambling, but the purpose is to build our faith so we can persevere and learn to rely on Him.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Even though I had read your blog before, just reading it again, I gain more insight into God's upper and lower stories. We may not ever know why we have this trial or that one, but God does. If we fail, He gives it to us another way to help us learn the lesson that He wants us to learn. Some of us pass the first time, others it takes many.

    In other words, don't ever let go of your faith in Christ. Trust in God that He wants us to seek Him and to keep "persevering" and learning.

    Thank you!
    1565 days ago
    Amen. Well said. Some things we do not understand, but when we see Jesus face to face it will all make sense. it is so true about choices. Working with people as a Minister, this is one thing many people at times fail to consider. They want a life without tests and trials, but as your wonderful blog showed, we need the struggle so that we might spread our wings and fly. I am glad for the tests that have touched my life, for they have been God's tool to draw me closer to the lover of my soul.
    1576 days ago
    emoticon and emoticon I needed to hear this today and here it is. emoticon
    1589 days ago
  • MOMMY7903
    Great blog! You have a talent for writing and are definitely using your gifts to help and inspire others! Thank you for sharing what's been on your heart. I know you've made a difference for me today.
    1589 days ago
  • GENRE009
    I can't tell you how wonderful this was to read. you are not rattling. That analogy of the moth was very powerful. I believe we do grow from our trails, always pulling closer to God. I feel that the down fall of man is from free will. I do believe that trail help us grow more humble to understand God's power. yet I do feel that illness & disease can be turned around. That it isn't necessarily a spiritual problem, which really is involved with everything. I know that all things are created by God. But I do feel that things like doctors, and herbs or vitamins, can change out come. Thank you for this blog it was great. eva emoticon
    1590 days ago
    I absolutely loved your explanation. Thank you for a great blog.

    God told me once when I was distressed over a particular trial, "I use the bad for my purposes". What could those purposes be. I have learned that they happen that we might use our agency to act instead of react and choose to become more like Him, patient, kind, understanding, compassionate, longsuffering, loving and forgiving.

    1590 days ago
    That's such a beautiful and inspiring post. I love that image of Dempsey not being able to let go of the ladder after 15 minutes and your comparison with us holding onto God with the same kind of vigor.

    I think these are some words I desperately needed. Definitely going through a few trials of my own, but with God, I am able to press on!

    God bless you!

    1590 days ago
  • KIM22211
    its is the toughest questions non believers and believers alike ask! But that was a good answer you have there!!
    1591 days ago
    this is something I have wrestled with all my life. I was born with Spina Bifida. Why I wanted to know. I want to blame somebody. It has to be someones fault. I did nothing to deserve this.Why me? I would cry!
    Some would say, it was your parents fault for the sins they commited, I did not buy this cause then everyone would have something wrong in thier lives. My mother blamed herself and my father also. Not much was known back then about spina bifida.and why it occurs like i grappled with these questions all my life.the bible told me God loved me why would anyone who loved so unconditionally do this, This is a loving God!. As I said I wrestled with all my life.Do I have an answer? I think we live in an imperfect world and Bad things happen to everyone. It just a fact. I do not understand everything, yet I can rest is God's word that says he loves me, and He will take care of me I have just have faith that in the end everything is going to be okay
    1593 days ago
    Last year we had a really bad thing happen. As I was talking to one of my work superiors and the person also in charge he said "Bad things happen to good people." I thought Thanks, that's no help. But through that trial I learned to love those who hate me. And believe me I didn't intend to learn that lesson. I would have been content being angry with them! But after going through that it was clear I needed that lesson. I'm a stronger Christian because of it!

    I sure don't enjoy these lessons. But if Paul could do it! I can do it!
    1593 days ago
    Great blog. Well my new friend, it seems we have another thing in common ... I'm a believer too. You rightly said, that God is in control. In fact, He's always in control of all things at all times. Nothing (No Thing) is too difficult for Him. It's encouraging to remind ourselves of God's words about Himself, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:8-9 These scriptures, along with many others, have served to comfort me more than once. Indeed we have an awesome God. Loved the examples of the moth and the perseverance of the pilot. Really makes you sit back and think. Thanks for sharing.
    1594 days ago
    He sent His Son to die for us... I can't fathom a love like this either, Ronda. Thank you for this wonderful blog. So many ask "why"-- when we have pain and suffering, but there is triumph over adversity, and with Faith, we are assured of this fact.
    There is a very beautiful movie, "The Song of Bernadette"-- that inspires faith. It not only inspires faith in adversity, but it shows the joyful spirit of St. Bernadette. She is joyful because of her great love for her Creator and Savior.
    Ronda, you truly inspire others by your personal testimony. I am grateful for your messages-- thank you.
    1594 days ago
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    Thank you so much for writing this blog and I am so grateful that I read it today! I needed to read this to reinforce what God does for us on a daily basis.Our garage ceiling all fell to the ground on Friday and we are very lucky that it is just because the sheet rock is old and the foundation shifted.There are no other problems like water leaks, etc. that caused it.No one was hurt as God protected us.

    Have a blessed day and wonderful journey to the new you!

    Paula emoticon
    1594 days ago
    I have gone through many struggles in life, especially in my marriage. I have learned quite a few things through these battles too. I have not arrived yet to where I need to be though, I still have some traveling left to go, but now I have the knowledge that I did not have to be able to get through the rougher times. One of the biggest things to remember is that when going through a struggle, turn to God and trust in Him. Don't fall apart and lose it, hold on to what God has promised, that He never leaves or forsakes you.
    1594 days ago
    A different perspective and one that I can appreciate. ~ Donna
    1594 days ago
    This really puts the focus on our struggles. I've always known that when you survive something, go through something, struggle with something, you now have the experience to help others through, over, under, or around the same type of thing. It doesn't make it easier to endure the "testing" but it does help sometimes to realize "there is a reason!"

    I grow is not easy. It takes a lot of work and while sometimes it feels like we have lost ground in one way, we are gaining ground in other ways. Giving up is not an option.

    Thanks for reminding all of us, and teaching some of us that the struggle is not forever, but extremely beneficial for us. You can't get stronger if you just sit there sheltered from all of it.
    1594 days ago
  • DUBGIRL418
    Wonderful blog, Ronda! You've got me thinking now... emoticon
    1594 days ago
    Another great blog. Simplified to make clear even to the most blinded.
    I pray GOD will use these truths here on Spark.
    1594 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/12/2014 11:44:24 PM
    1594 days ago
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    1594 days ago
    When we pray, we ask for blessings not trials, yet we grow thru those trials and they are a gift. This is one of your best articles drawing upon your own experiences as well as research. James as well as writings of Paul clearly counter prosperity philosophy. Bad things do happen to good people. Even the story of Job shows this truth. When faced with life challenges we need to talk to God in an open manner. We can express our feelings and thoughts. It is thru the dialogue we move on and heal.
    1594 days ago
    That makes sense. When my Dad got sick that is when I found out I had faith. I was mad at God and called a priest and yelled at him. I actually was swearing at him. I was on the phone with him for a couple hourse. I think it is normal to be mad at God when something happens, I think you even bargain with God.
    1594 days ago
    I like the answer Job got from God God made all to his liking some crate and some lowly He made the earth and all Gods plan is not in our hands He is in charge of all I was reading that those who are hungry sick and Hurt will get there reward in heaven Some since Time begum were mistreated used bulled God see all hear all now all He is with the poor the hungry who are his Nothing gets buy him He will wipe there tears if not hear in heaven The murders swindlers the thief the slander the hardhearted will get there reward Sellers of free men rapist and the list can go on forever We are to forgive and give it to God He can do much more then we can God is just put life can be unfair We do not all get the same chance The same start Good health and live in the best part of the warld We are to love and praise God with more or less hardship or plenty Thank you lord for my life Where ever I am That trust takes faith and Love of God
    1595 days ago
    If only saved people were 100% healthy, no stressed, troubles down here, wouldn't there be a lot of people seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons and not coming to him , acknowledging theirs sins.
    Then we don't understand why God allows evil things be done to people by others. We must understand that God does not make people robots, but gives all free will. Although, he is not surprised at the bad things people do to others, I am sure he is grieved. He yearns to bring all into His Family and call them His Children (possible through Jesus Christ, (john 3:16, John 14:6) and then always to be their strength to every trial and heartache. Philippians 4:13, 19

    Jesus suffered willing like no other person on earth. He willing subjected himself to this and dying on the cross for our sins, that one day we will have the final victory. No more sin, death, sickness, sorrow....
    This is the reason we must share Christ with all before he steps off his throne and returns in the air for His Children. He is coming and it is closer than ever. 1Thess 4:17-

    What love God has for all and is patiently waiting to receive all who will be saved through Jesus.

    1595 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/12/2014 7:59:20 PM
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    1595 days ago
    Thank you, very encouraging, enlightening and full of hope.
    1595 days ago
    emoticon . Yes I know that is true that god test our faith. The trail is to draw us much closer to him. He is saying I got you. Perseverance is so powerful. Thank you so much for those words.
    1595 days ago
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