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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

By Luke Hobbs
Why do bad things happen to good people? That is the difficult question I will tackle in this article.  Let's jump right in.

The question ("Why do bad things happen to good people?") has been asked for centuries, and is a common question in today's society, especially among the church.

The first thing we need to do while asking this question is to realize that it is actually the wrong question to ask. The reason for this lies in the fact that Jesus clearly said: "No one is good -- except God alone" (Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19). So, obviously, the question is not the right one to ask, because, according to Jesus, there aren't any "good people."

However, one can say, "Yeah, okay, bad things don't happen to good people because there are no good people. But why do bad things happen to, let's say, Christian people who are living in God's will and obeying Him?"

Ah, now there's the question that pins it all down. I suppose one could answer, "Because God has every right to do whatever He wants with His own creation." That's true, but that's not the reason.

There may be several reasons. The first is that there is sin in a person's life. Paul gives example of this in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30: "For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep." Now, in this context, Paul is speaking of the Lord's Supper. However, this does not discount the fact that sin in a Christian's life can cause that Christian to become sick, and even to "fall asleep" -- die. That's not to say that every sickness and death of a Christian has its roots in a particular sin of that Christian, but I believe some do.

Another reason is that God is putting a Christian through a time of testing. This is seen in the case of Job most clearly, as we get glimpses of God giving permission for Satan to basically wreck Job's life, as a test. And Job proved equal to the task, though he did come down with a case of self-righteousness.

And that's another thing that we need to consider when bad things happen to us: God may not be punishing us; He may instead be testing us.

But sometimes bad things happen to us for neither of those reasons, and we see wicked and ungodly people prospering. Those are things we must simply accept by faith. We don't know why we're going through what we're going through while the evil flourish, but we trust God and know that He'll get us through what's happening. For "we know that all things work for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to His good purpose" (Romans 8:28). And we should also remember that God "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."