When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Teenager Girl closed her eyes, praying in a field during beautiful sunset. Hands folded in prayer concept for faith, spirituality and religion. Peace, hope, dreams concept

Hundreds of innocent people die in a plane crash. A man is struck down by cancer in the prime of his life. Tragedies such as these cause us to ask, “Why would God allow such terrible things to happen?”

Bad Things

In his holy Word, God answers that perplexing question. The Bible identifies Satan, and not God, as the ultimate source of evil in the world.

That evil may enter our lives in a number of ways. Some bad things are a direct result of deliberate, sinful acts, such as a terrorist bombing. Other times, hardships enter our lives as a result of our often misguided behavior. We are all capable of bringing pain and sorrow into our lives through everything from clumsiness to stupidity to open rebellion against God.

Some bad things are not the result of specific sins, but rather a general symptom of sin’s presence in the world. God told our first parents that when sin entered the world, so did disease, pain, and death. Such universal sorrows are constant reminders that we no longer live in Paradise.

Wonderful Promise

And yet, in spite of all the bad things happening in the world today, God’s Word still offers believers a wonderful promise. Romans 8:28 says, “In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” That means God can use even the bad things in life to serve our eternal good. God can use a terminal disease to draw a person closer to himself. God can use financial hardships to lead people to readjust their priorities for the better. Even death itself, by God’s grace, becomes the entryway to heaven.

When we consider all the good And yet, in spite of all the bad things that God has done for us, especially his gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we are able to view our present sufferings from the perspective of the apostle Paul: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Discovering the answer to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people” is not a matter of understanding God’s unfathomable ways. It’s a matter of trusting God’s unconditional love. That love is best expressed in the familiar words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Be assured. God’s goodwill for you in Christ will far outweigh any bad you may face in life. You can believe it.


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