Life is complex and full of complicated questions. The one question that seems to pop in my head every day is: why do bad things happen to good people?
Bur God is good and protects us, right?
How can the paradox exist?
How can bad things happen and yet God’s word be true?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but through searching the scripture and knowing who God is The Lord has revealed Himself to me and shown me some things that help me know His word is true.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
These verses promise that if we make The Lord our refuge then no harm will overtake us.
How can we reconcile these verses with bad things happening all around us?
When bad things happen, it’s hard to understand where God is and what He is doing. As a Christian, it’s important to have a solid faith base and understanding of God. So that when bad things happen, we can be comforted by God and His word.
My thoughts are based on my faith in Christ. I believe that He is good, that He is sovereign, that He loves me and that His words (the bible) are true.
Since I believe these things when I read Psalm 91 I know that these verses are a promise to me. So, if they are true, why do bad things happen to me and to the people I love?
One of the things that have really helped is an analogy by Max Lucado in his book Come Thirsty.
“Have bad things really happened to you? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad. Parents and children do. Look up the word bad in a middle schooler’s dictionary, and you’ll read definitions such as “pimple on nose,” “Friday night all alone,” or “pop quiz in geometry.” “Dad, this is really bad!” the youngster says. Dad, having been around the block a time or two, thinks differently. Pimples pass. And it won’t be long before you’ll treasure a quiet evening at home. Inconvenience? Yes. Misfortune? Sure. But bad? Save that adjective for emergency rooms and cemeteries.”
What’s bad to a child isn’t always bad to a dad
The same holds for God. Things that seem bad to us are not always bad to God. He has a plan and is working it out. We don’t know how the events from our life or the world around us affect God’s grand plan. We can’t see the effect, we have not read the ending. But God knows. He wrote the book. It’s finished! He is now working it out.
Something else that helps me during this time is the following example from my life. It helps me understand what God is doing when I feel like my world is being torn apart.
I can’t help but remember a few years back. Meredith was 4 months old and my family and I were watching the Olympics. It was the gold medal hockey game and Canada was playing. When they scored, are family went nuts! We were ecstatic and very loud. Our noise made Meredith cry out of fear. She had no clue that the noise we were making was because we were happy and that there was nothing to be scared of. But, how do you explain that to a 4-month-old? You can’t.
They don’t have the capacity to understand.
It’s the same with God. I feel like we are living in a world where we sometimes hear screams and we are scared, unsure and helpless. We have no way of knowing what those screams mean. If God tried to explain what was going on, we would not understand.
So where does that leave us?
Where is God when we are scared, or confused?
When my daughter was screaming, I did not leave her alone. My love for her compelled me to pick her up and comfort her. My soothing voice and smiling features soon called her down.
God does the same.He is our father and loves us deeply. He does not leave us to cry, but He picks us up and comforts us. He holds us while we cry and tells us that it is going to be ok. We calm down because we know His voice and trust His goodness. We still might be afraid, and bad things may still be happening around us, but we are no longer crying because we are in the father’s arms.
What about those people who don’t have a relationship with God? The same events happen: They cry, God is there willing to comfort them, but they don’t except. There is nobody to hold them and to give them peace and tell them that everything will be alright. They are like orphans crying out with nobody to hold them.
I can’t explain why God chooses to let people die, or why tornadoes hit, or a building comes crashing down. All I know is that I am a baby and I don’t understand what is happening around me. But, I know my father. I know He loves me. I know He is with me and holding me when bad things happen.
So, during these times, I picture myself with my head in His chest, being held and comforted.
How do you feel God’s comfort in times of difficulty?