Sometimes I just don’t get it. Sometimes it is just too difficult to try to figure out. Why do bad things happen to good people? Over the course of this past month, I have personally witnessed families devastated by the loss of a loved one. I have seen people lose their jobs, get bad news from their doctor and I even have a friend that was robbed at gunpoint and even kidnapped for a few days. All good people…all people who did not deserve what they received.
So this week, as I was trying to filter through all of the things that were happening to the people around me, I really started to question God. Why would such bad things happen to good people? I mean, I completely understand why bad things happen in my life. There are some things that have happened to me that I absolutely deserved. I can rationalize these events and say that that may have happened because of something that I did or did not do. But when I look at some of the events that have happen to good people, I wonder what is it that God is trying to tell us?
How can a loving God allow bad things to happen? I have thought long and hard about this and I am not sure if I ever will totally understand the “whys” but I am coming to a better understanding the end results of such bad things. I have come to the conclusion that can be summed up in two thoughts…
My first thought is to try to put the “bad things” in perspective. I’m reminded of Romans 8:28 where it says,
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…,”
When God says “all things” that means that there are good things and there are bad things that will happen in our life. No where does God promise us that our life will be worry free and wonderful. I don’t understand it all, but I do know that for whatever the reason, God does have a plan and it is my job to remain faithful no matter what is placed in my path. Good or bad.
My second thought is chocolate chip cookies.
I compare life to chocolate chip cookies. Why? What’s in chocolate chip cookies? There are some really good things like chocolate chips and sugar, and then there are some things that taste nasty if left by themselves, like flour, baking soda, raw eggs, and vanilla extract. Have you ever tasted vanilla extract? If you haven’t, just put a drop on your finger and lick it. It’s one of the most bitter things around. BUT when you mix all the ingredients together (the “good” and the “bad”) and put them under heat (the pressures of life), what comes out is delicious chocolate chip cookies.
So, though some experiences may look bad in and of themselves, when mixed with the good, and baked in the heat of life, the ultimate end is good.
One condition does remain: “to those who love God.” Without the reference point of God, the bad things won’t make sense. We must believe that He is Good AND Sovereign (in control). If He were good but not sovereign, then He would be a powerless philanthropist. If He were sovereign but not good, then He would be an inconsiderate dictator. But He is both good AND in control, so we must learn to trust Him.
We were all born as sinners and must accept the grace of Jesus Christ in order to be freed from that sin. His substitutionary atonement on the cross put my sin (and yours) on His shoulders and His righteousness on mine, if I accept it. The result of faith in Christ: receive eternal life in heaven with Him, instead of eternal life in Hell apart from Him. So, when “bad things” happen, I think of them as God drawing us closer to Himself. Everything that happens is part of His grace. And in the end, we’ll sit down to a heavenly feast with Jesus.
Maybe there will even be chocolate chip cookies served.