When Tragedy Occurs
(Why do bad things happen to good people?) By R. Neal Gracey - assisted by commentaries and expositors
12 years ago a singer named Kurt Cobain took his own life. Before Kurt killed himself with a shotgun, he was filled with bitterness and anger. Why? He had everything…a great career, dedicated fans, plenty of money, a supportive wife, a beautiful daughter. So why kill yourself?
The answer to that question is easier than many may think.
Kurt Cobain simply lived out his beliefs to their logical conclusion. Kurt believed that their was NO God and there was No meaning or purpose to life. He was the center of his own universe, and he was bitter,…so why stick around?
Kurt opposed everything. He was asked one time why he was mopping around and Cobain replied,”Because I’m awake.” This man was in a spiritual battle with No Armor, No weapons, and No way out. He had passion for nothing and a void in his heart that nothing he pursued could fill. Except death!
In Asia, a killer Tsunami claimed over 155,000 lives. Trees were uprooted, telephone poles were snapped off, homes were destroyed, and people were drowned. One moment you’re enjoying your life and your walk with God couldn’t seem better. The next minute…Calamity. All hell breaks loose! What Just Happened???
Suffering wears many masks…Lost Jobs, Dissolved marriages, rebellious children, disease, pain, death. Everything we thought we knew about life, God, and Faith, seems irrelevant when it comes. The dust settles and questions start to flood in; the doubts start to surface. Why God? Why me? What did I do so wrong to deserve this? And to make matters worse…No Answers! Where is God, anyways? So, we make up our own answers. We come to our own conclusions. And they’re usually wrong. In reality only God knows exactly why things happen as they do.
There are 5 major themes in Job
1. Suffering. 2. Satan’s attacks. 3. God’s goodness. 4. Pride. 5. Trust.
Through no fault of his own Job lost his wealth, his children, and his health. Job’s friends were convinced that he brought this suffering on himself. So, what was Job’s greatest trial? It was: (not being able to understand why God allowed him to suffer). For no reason.
So, here’s my lesson text: JOB 1:1-19 Read the verses first.
First, let me begin by telling you that many believe that this Never happened. They believe that this is just a story. One reason is because the traumatic events came too close together. “This could never have happened this way” some say. Anyone disagree?
Let’s look in the Bible and behind the scenes…
God and Satan – Satan attempted to drive a wedge between Job and God, just like he tries to drive a wedge between all of us and God. Satan will attack us when we least expect it and he will attack that which we love the most. Sometimes it’s by trickery and sometimes by destruction. First understand that God is still, and always will be...God, so Satan needed permission to tempt Job. Remember, Satan is limited to what God allows. 1. The child of God has NO Reason to fear Satan’s attacks. Here’s the trick…We can not control how Satan attacks but we can choose how we will respond when it happens. The question isn’t, “Will I face hurt?” but “How will I face hurt?” It’s not our actions as much as our re-actions.
Job 1:1-5 Let’s start with a THANKFUL HEART. Vs 6.
One thing the enemy of our soul desires is to make us believe that he doesn’t exist. If he can do that, the rest is easy. Life can go on and we just think all that we have is because we are so smart, or so good, or so in the right place at the right time! How ‘bout this,…Lucky!
Satan has NO control over a Christian life! SEE: LUKE 22:31-35 (read)
1. Satan has asked
2. Was he given permission? Yes
3. Does Peter pass or fail? He failed the test but kept the faith.
4. How do we know Peter failed the test? (Jesus said, “When you turn back”)
5. Strengthen your brothers? The experience!
Q. What if God mentioned your name in Heaven? “Have you considered my friend, Neal?”
Q. Would you want your name mentioned in Heaven?
VS 20-22. Job worshiped instead of asking “the BIG 3”
1. Why is this happening to me?
2. Where is God when I need Him?
3. When will this suffering end?
Is it wrong to ask questions? SEE Matthew 27:46
Why, Where, When, HOW. How will you help me? How will this strengthen me and my relationship with you? How will you work this out for my good and your Glory? (These are unselfish questions that we need to ask God)
Illustration: The royal palace in Tehran in Iran has one of the most beautiful entrances in the entire world. When the palace was planned the architects sent an order to Paris for Mirrors to cover the entrance walls. The mirrors finally arrived in their crates. When they took the crates apart all the broken pieces fell out. Every mirror was smashed during transport. They were going to throw the mirrors away when one of the men had an idea. “Let’s use them the way they are. Let’s fix them together.” The result was an enormous distortion in reflections and it sparkles with diamond like rainbow colors. Broken to be made beautiful! This is the hard part. God uses broken pieces of our lives to make us better. More beautiful in His eyes.
How can losing a family member bring Glory to God, or a rape victim, or disease? I don’t know, I’m not God, but He is, and I’m glad.
Jesus took all those things (sin) upon himself. Jonnie Erickson Tada lost her ability to walk when she was a teenager. She dove into a pond and broke her neck. She was asked, “What are you going to say to God when you see him?” She said, “I’m going to fold up my wheelchair, hand it to Jesus and say, ‘Thanks, I needed that’.”
When bad things happen to us that we can’t explain we must be careful not to cross the line from sorrow to sin when we allow our grief to quench our faith in God or quench our spirit. Sometimes we follow the bad advice of the world, like Job’s wife said to him because of his pain, “Curse God so you can die.” Kurt Cobain cursed God,…and died.”
Q. Why do bad things happen to good people? Who told you that you were good?
God alone knew the reasons behind the suffering. We my never know the reasons why we suffer… In spite of the pain, the loss, the suffering, Job never once gave up on God. Job’s Hope wasn’t in his children, his wealth, his health, or in his wife. Jobs hope was in God, all the way. Job endured to the end and received Victory.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we become a child of the King. God the Father promises his “Adopted children” the same rights that he promised His only begotten Son. Jesus went to the cross to pay a debt that I and we all owe. The sin debt that we could never pay ourselves was paid in full by the perfect sacrifice for sin…Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. He won the Victory over death and the grave, granting all who live and believe in Him eternal life through His death and resurrection and is now Ascended to the Right Hand of Glory forever making intercession for us until we stand before Him, face to face, and hear those beautiful words,” Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter in to the Glory of the Lord.”
Something to think about --- If unbelievers are right, I have nothing to lose by living for God. But, if I’m correct in my beliefs in Jesus, they will lose everything, and will be eternally separated from God, forever and ever. Is it worth that chance? I say, NO!
Thank you Lord for the Victory! Thank you for saving me! Thank you for Eternal life!
R. Neal Gracey, Deacon, FBC SAltillo, PA