Why Bad Things Happen to Good People
The problem with this statement is there are no good people. Therefore, goodness doesn’t protect us as this phrase implies. I think this is the lesson in the book of Job: not that bad things happen to good people, but that no one is good in the eyes of a holy God so we shouldn’t rely on our perceived goodness. Mark 10:18
In the last chapter, I think the verses Job 42:5-6 reveal what the book is about “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” Why is Job repenting if he is blameless? Why does he abhor himself if he is one of the most upright men to live?
I believe he finally realized that his goodness and righteousness were nothing compared to a holy God. Instead, we are completely dependent on God’s mercy in every facet of our lives. It isn’t about our goodness because we have none. It is about God’s mercy that covers us. Psalm 33:13-22
The fact that we can never earn our goodness or be truly good is why Christ came. We need someone to stand in our place and do what we never could – fulfill the holy requirements of God. When we accept Christ we accept His life in place of ours. Then God sees us with the righteousness of Christ. It is an incredible sacrifice and amazing gift that affects every area of our lives now and for eternity.
People aren’t divided between good and bad since we all fall short whether feet, inches or centimeters. When we think of “bad” stuff happening, the division lies between those who are God’s people and those who aren’t.
For those without God in this world (Ephesians 2:12) they are susceptible to the whims of this world, a world governed by evil and death. (1 John 5:19) They suffer by the work of their own hands and by the ways of this world that breed death. Only God is life. Any life apart from Him manifests death despite people trying to convince themselves otherwise.
For those with God, all that happens to them serves the purpose of drawing them closer to Him. Trials, afflictions or sufferings have the ultimate goal of moving us into a more intimate union with God built upon truth and love. God is constantly calling us deeper and deeper into Him. This is why we can sincerely praise God in our troubles, because they aren’t just fostering pain and suffering, they are bringing about newness of life that is united to Him if we are seeking God in them.
God doesn’t want us to remain in these troubled states that is why He promises deliverance from troubles, trials, and afflictions. Yet, difficult times, suffering, and afflictions, have a way of making us call out to God, to trust, to seek Him with passion and fervor in a manner we otherwise wouldn’t do. “Bad” stuff gets our attention, makes us seek, ask, and go deeper into Him and His truth where we find true freedom and deliverance. But for us the bad isn’t bad, it is good if we seek His truth in all things. (Romans 8:28) Even if we are experiencing the consequences of sin, those situations serve the purpose of motivating us to turn from our ways and to His. Only His ways bring life. Everything in our lives is a lesson and an opportunity to draw closer to God if we will seek Him and His truth.
Since God has been the center of my life, my Lord, everything that has happened has brought me closer to Him, which wasn’t the case before. Before I created paths of destruction piling up pain upon pain, now all that happens moves me further into abundant life inside out. Though difficult, hard times have a completely different meaning and purpose. Through them I learn that what I thought was life wasn’t. It was bondage. Then God brings me into true life.
This life isn’t about how good we are; it is about depending and trusting on God’s mercy alone and nothing of ourselves. When we do we will draw near to Him in truth as He desires and our lives will continue to move out from under death and destruction and into life and true abundance.