Why do bad things happen to good people?


Why do bad things happen to good people? This is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology.

God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc. So why do human beings (not eternal, not infinite, not omniscient, not omnipresent, and not omnipotent) want to fully understand God’s ways?

This question is addressed in the book of Job. God allowed the devil to inflict whatever he wanted on Job, just not to kill him. What was Job’s reaction? “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15). “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Job did not understand why God allowed what was happening, but he knew that God was good and, therefore, continued to trust Him. Ideally, our response should be the same. God is good, just, loving, and merciful. And though things often happen to us that are simply incomprehensible to our understanding, we should nevertheless trust Him instead of doubting God’s goodness. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Perhaps a better question is, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” God is holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8) and people are sinful (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Do you want to know how God judges mankind? “There is no righteous person, not even one; There is no one who understands, There is no one who seeks out God; They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The venom of asps is under their lips; Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And they have not known the way of peace.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18). In light of these words, every human being deserves to be sent to hell right now. Every second of our lives passes only because of God’s grace. Even the worst suffering we can endure on this planet is mercy compared to what we deserve – eternal hell in the lake of fire.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Despite the wicked and sinful nature of people in this world, God continues to love us. He loves us so much that He died to bear the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). We, in order to receive forgiveness and the promise of an abode in Heaven (Romans 8:1), need only believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 10:9). So, all we deserve is hell. And what do we get? Eternal life in Heaven, if only we believe.

So, the next time we wonder, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” it may be more appropriate to ask, “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?”

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