Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

It pops into mind when we see our friends in pain or the kindest people we know having financial or health troubles. It haunts our hearts when senseless violence or destruction flashes across the newsfeed.

Doubt creeps in because we can’t stand unanswered questions: Why is there suffering? Why do innocent people suffer harm but guilty people go free? Where is God when something terrible happens?

You can’t help but wonder if God is confused about who’s good and who’s bad.

Where Does Evil Come From?

When tragedy strikes we think, “If God let this happen, He must not be good” or “He must be unable to help.” But God’s character is not defined by any misfortune we face in this world.

Evil is caused by people going against God’s ways. Destruction and suffering are natural results of doing things our own ways, without God. In that regard, the world isn’t full of good people and bad people; it’s all bad people who desperately need God to make us good.

When God created the world, it was perfect. But when the first humans disobeyed God, sin entered into the world and changed everything (Genesis 1-3). Human beings and their relationship with God, each other, and creation were all damaged. When sin entered the world, so did death (Romans 5:12). We’ve been living with the consequences of human disobedience ever since.

God’s Character and Our Circumstances

God’s character is revealed most clearly, not through our circumstances, but in the cross.

The crucifixion of Jesus is the prime example of something bad happening to a completely good, undeserving person (1 Peter 3:18). God proves He is not seeking our harm or is unable to help us. Jesus’ suffering and death shows that God loves you so much that He sent his Son to rescue you from sin and give you a better life (Romans 5:8).

If It's Not Good, God's Not Done

Jesus’ death shows us God can use bad things for a greater purpose. Not all things are good, but God promises all things will eventually work together for the good of people who follow Him (Romans 8:28). Even when facing the darkest of outlooks, we can still say that God is good. [Just watch Zac Smith’s story.]

God does not leave us alone in our pain, but meets us in the midst of it. He may not answer all our questions, but we see more of His character when we endure pain or see Him address and redeem evil (Job 38 through Job 42:6). Without need, we wouldn’t understand God’s provision. Without hurt, we wouldn’t understand God’s healing.

God does not leave us alone in our pain, but meets us in the midst of it.

Challenges are inevitable, but Jesus’ power is unstoppable (John 16:33).

Whatever we face now cannot be compared to the better things God has in store (Romans 8:18). Because Jesus is with us, the best is yet to come.

If you want to talk with someone about this, come to the Care Room at your campus or contact us here.

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