Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

How many times do we tell ourselves that things are going to get better? But day after day, we end up with the same set of disappointing circumstances. You think to yourself, “Hey, I may not be perfect, but I’m a pretty nice person. I treat others with kindness and try not to hurt anyone. When is my time coming? When am I going to catch a break?” I think we would be absolutely amazed to know how many people are feeling the same way. You do your best to run the race that is before you, but you’re feeling like your tank is running a little low. When it’s filled, you don’t want regular, you want high-test. You want the premium stuff. Life is short, and it’s about time for you to experience a little bit of high-octane living.

One of the most quintessential questions asked by anyone inquisitive about the way in which the universe works is “Do bad things happen to good people?” The answer to this question is a resounding “YES!” Indeed, bad things do happen to good people. But how does this square with what we’ve been taught about the moral compass of religious discipline? How does it line up with John 10:10, where Jesus Christ tells us that he came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly? If we are to access what he came to earth to provide, why is it that we can’t access it by being the good people he wants us to be?

It is baked into most people’s psyche that good people are supposed to win. There are many cases, some very public, where the appearance of this belief doesn’t seem to pan out. I don’t know about you, but I can think of many instances where folks that are compassionate, caring, supportive, and sensitive are stepped on. Their kindness is taken for weakness, and they seem to always get the raw end of the deal. It may seem this way sometimes, but God is the One with the final say, and He tells us that if we patiently endure, we will reap the reward.

In order that you and I can have a springboard from which to jumpstart a true understanding of why we’re here and more than that, how to live authentically through Christ, we must make new room in our brain cells for a reality of existence that exceeds the realm of what we call ‘good’. To be frank, according to the truth spoken by Christ in Matthew 19:17(NLT), “There is only One who is good.” And this ‘One’ is God the Father. Our good works and His goodness are nowhere in the same vicinity. As students of Christ, we are learning on earth to become more like him with each passing day, and whether our level of goodness will pass the heavenly sniff test remains to be seen. Our motives are not always pure. But despite our flaws and weaknesses, the reality is that even with our shortcomings, we are sons and daughters of God, and brothers and sisters of Christ. How we come to grips with this awesome privilege and honor, as well as the level of our gratitude for it, will measure the degree to which we live completely, fully, and wholly in the bliss of his glory.

The reality is that just being what we call ‘good’ and sincere is to not going to provide access to the kind of life we want. Something more than being a good person is required of us. After Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, he was led in the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, and there he fasted 40 days and nights. Afterwards, he was very hungry, and it’s not too much of a stretch to say that his strength was not at full capacity. It was in this very vulnerable state that our Lord and Savior was tempted by the devil. 

No greater kindness, compassion, love, and humility exists than that of Jesus Christ. If there was anyone who deserved to be exempt from the darkness of evil and bad things, it was him. Yet, we find him facing this extreme evil at a very challenging time. The devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, but Jesus would not acquiesce to the devil’s level. How did he face it? Matthew 4:4(NLT) tells us exactly how he handled the temptation. He said, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

God tells us in Galatians 6:9-10 that we should never get tired of performing good deeds, and we should do them as often as we have opportunity. He tells us to do good to everyone, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we should be clear that our goodness and sincerity doesn’t exempt us from challenges in life. The issue isn’t what we face, but HOW we face it! We are to lean upon the strength of God. Isaiah 40:29(NLT) tells us, He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Just like our Master Jesus, we must know that true goodness is every word that comes from the mouth of God. His Word is life to us, and if we place our trust in it, He tells us that in due season we will reap a harvest of blessings.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for Copyright ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

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