Summary: One question I’ve wanted to ask God is, "why do bad things happen to good people?"
There is no question that evil exists and that it is rampant.
And yet Christians would say that God is good, and all-powerful. So why doesn’t God do something about it? Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a question many people ask God. Why do bad things happen to good people?
We can come at this question from a number of different angles. And the first is this …
1. This question is only a problem for people who believe in God.
If we don’t believe in God, then there’s no problem understanding why bad things happen to good people. Because without God, life is based entirely on the whim of chance and blind fate!
Also, there is no problem unless we believe in a God who is good. You see, some people believe in a god who is spiteful and mean. It’s almost like they believe this god just wreaks havoc for the fun of it.
But if we believe in God – and if we believe that he is good – then this question causes us a problem. Because why would a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?
If God is good why is there so much pain in the world?
Surely he isn’t doing himself any favors by allowing pain and suffering to inflict people. Surely if he wants people to believe in him he will take away their pain and suffering?
And surely this is the very reason why so many people don’t follow him?
But this is far from the truth. You might think that pain and suffering would turn people away from God – but more often than not it causes people to grow in their faith. In fact it would probably be no exaggeration to say that it is suffering most of all that has caused many people to believe in God. People often turn to God in faith looking for answers.
2. No pain, no gain.
God allows suffering and pain because there is value in it for you.
Turn this question around and try to imagine what this world would be like without pain and suffering. We would all be pretty shallow people.
Think of the positive character qualities that would be lost if there were no pain in the world. There would be no patience, no endurance, no resilience, no courage and no self-sacrifice.
The fullest development of Christian character wouldn’t be possible.
You see, it’s God’s goal for you that you become a whole person like Christ – a pure, righteous and complete person. And God often brings this growth into your life through trouble. The Bible puts it like this …
My friends, be glad even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything (James 1:2-4 CEV)
God will use pain to grow you. He will use emotional pain, intellectual pain, physical pain and spiritual pain in order to produce growth in your life. God is far more interested in seeing you overcome your sin than he is in freeing you from your pain. He is interested more in your character than your comfort.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Because when there is no pain, there is no gain.
3. Pain and suffering is a result of wrong living.
The world as we know it today is not as God first intended it to be. Much of the world’s suffering is caused by sin.
C. S. Lewis is the author who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. He said that, “80% of suffering comes from the moral evil of mankind.”
You see, bad things happen to good people because we all have a little bad in us – even though we may think we’re good. You and I are responsible for much of the evil in the world today – CS Lewis say as much as 80% of it!
Does God take pleasure in seeing people seeking their own self-fulfillment at the expense of others? Does God take pleasure in our continual lust to own more and more though millions die of starvation around the world? Does God take pleasure in the lying and the cruelty that causes so much pain and suffering?
Who is really responsible for the pain and suffering in this world? Well the Bible answers that question like this ….
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want (James 4:1-2a).
Suffering is a direct result of our own sin and the sin of other people around us. That is one of the major reasons why bad things happen to good people.