You’ll notice that the title isn’t “Why do bad things happen to good people?.” I chose to exclude the common ending for a really big reason: no person is good, has ever been good, nor will ever be good. Jesus was good – but Jesus was more than a person – which is, frankly, a topic for a different article! You are not good. I am not good. No one is good. Paul made this perfectly clear in when he said that all his good works – all he had gained – was worthless. Less than worthless – useless, filthy refuse. even says that our “righteous deeds are like a polluted garment!” I don’t think I should even mention what that refers to…
No – bad things don’t happen to good people. Bad things – and good things – happen to bad people. Matthew shares this wisdom in 5:45 “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Our worldly lives just aren’t fair, and they never will be!
So – why does God allow bad things to happen at all? Why must we suffer throughout our lives? What benefit could this possibly have for us? It’s all about sanctification. God works on us through the events that happen in our lives to draw us closer to Him, and to strengthen our reliance on Him. When we experience events and occurrences in our lives that feel like we’re being tested – we often are.
What happens when you haven’t been to the gym in a while, and you decide that you’re going to start again? You push yourself through that first workout, you feel the pain of working stagnant muscles, and you feel it even worse the next morning. But then, you go at it again, the next day, and the next. The pain gets less intense, and your muscles grow stronger. If you continue to press through it, you begin to form a regimen, and your strength grows even more.
Relationships are like muscles, and your relationship with God is no different. Sometimes, you have to work on it yourself – talking with God, reading the Word, and spending time alone with Him, and in community. Other times, He does the work on you – and He knows exactly which muscles you need the most work on to reach your peak level.
And that is good.
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (ESV)
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (ESV)