Why do bad things happen to good people?

In this blog post, I am going to try to answer the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Life is complex and full of complicated questions. The one question that seems to pop into my head every day is: why do bad things happen to good people?

Bur God is good and protects us, right?

a person walking on the beach. Their back in facing away from the camera and they are wearing a grey hoodie. Above the picture are the word: Why do bad things happen to good people? www.onedeterminedlife.com

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.

The following verses promise that if we make The Lord our refuge then no harm will overtake us.

Psalm 91 (NIV) 

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.”

How can these verses be true?

When bad things happen, it’s hard to understand where God is and what He is doing. I often ask: Why do bad things happen to good people?

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?

Have bad things happened to you?

“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

When asking the question: Why do bad things happen to good people, it’s always good to remember God’s perspective.

What is bad for a child is not always bad for 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 helped 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.

Related Posts

No capacity to understand.

One of the things I remember when I ask: Why do bad things happen to good people is that I really have to capacity to understand the whole picture.

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.

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? Why do bad things happen to good people?

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. God 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.

Unanswered Questions

What about those people who don’t have a relationship with God? The same events happen: They cry, and God is there willing to comfort them, but they don’t accept.

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 bad things happen to good people or 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.

Need more?

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In the comments below, share your thoughts on why bad things happen to good people. Also please share how God comforts you in times of difficulty.

Please share this post with friends and family. Thank you.

20 responses to “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

  1. Katie @ Katie's Kronicles Avatar

    Love this Psalm! You explained and described that subject beautifully! I love the analogy of your baby crying and just like us, God comes in to comfort us. =) Your blog is very beautiful and easy to read! This exact Psalm has brought me so much comfort when I have needed it. For a few months I was going without sleep and it made me really scared I’d never sleep well again. I re-read that psalsm over and over and over again so many times, I should have it memorized by now. -Katie


    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I am so glad you were encouraged and reminded of God’s love. Hard times are hard, but knowing that God loves us and hold us is something that give me such peace.

  2. Mamaguru Avatar

    This was really beautiful. Thank you!! ♥

  3. Jen Monks Avatar
    Jen Monks

    Such comforting words “I picture myself with my head in His chest, being held and comforted.” I will remember this in times of trouble and distress. Thank you for that.

  4. Grace Houle Avatar

    Good points! I appreciated showing the various views of what is indeed a bad thing happen, and to trust God’s bigger view of the situation. Thanks for posting.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It certainly is a perspective thing. One that I am still trying to learn every time I wrestle with this issue.

  5. Heidi @ Grow Family Love Avatar

    This is a beautiful post! Psalm 91 is so comforting. So thankful to know that He has it all worked out, even when it looks scary to me. God is good, all the time! I know that He is my peaceful comforter that is always there when life gets rough. I can do all things through Christ. God Bless You!


    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Amen! We are so fortunate to know The love of God and have peace that He is in control

  6. Grace Avatar

    I love your thoughts and insights into this! As a counselor in a chaplains office I get this question alot! But I personally know the power of God’s comfort in hard places!

  7. Nazrin Miah Avatar

    As a woman of faith I believe that all obstcles I am faced with are sent from me as a test from God to help stregthen my faith in him. Every obstacle I overcome is another test for me to see whether I forget my God or whether I thank him for my blessings.

    Great write, thank you for posting!


    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      So true! But I find when your in the storm it’s so hard to have perspective. It’s great to have a solid foundation to stand on.

  8. Nadalie Avatar

    One of those big questions we all ask at someone. Thanks for tackling it.

  9. Amanda M Rodriguez Avatar

    This made some really great points- thank you for sharing!!

  10. andrea Avatar

    Our Pastor just did a sermon on this topic a few weeks ago. Your points are wonderful and so very true. God reveals so much to us in hard times even if it is hard for us to see. He is always in control we just need to trust Him.

  11. Shaheen Avatar

    I am glad I read this. I am a Muslim and I have strong faith that Our Creator will never lead us astray nor let us suffer. What we perceive as suffering is only a test until a time when all shall be set right. He loves us to an extent that is beyond our human understanding. Thank you for this post:)

  12. Reeni Avatar

    Thank you for sharing! It is such a difficult subject for many!

  13. JoJo Tabares Avatar

    Reminds me of a meme I see on FB from time to time. It’s of Jesus with a BIG teddy bear trying to give it to a little girl who doesn’t want to give up her tiny one. I’ve asked this question many times as has all of us with chronic illness/issues. Sometimes God wants us to be a beacon of hope to those in our similar situation. So I choose to believe that He doesn’t heal me because I’m to bring hope to those who struggle with it and need some. I’m actually writing a book about this. It’s about how we can do well even when we feel we are failing. When things are bad and don’t get better, we can still have joy and hope. If not in this life (though there is a way to do that too), but in the next.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s not an easy thing to try and understand. I would love more information about your book.

  14. Natalie Avatar

    One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 91, and I will often read it aloud when I am going through a hard time, or a friend is. I love the promise that we will rest in His shadow. Thank you for the great post!

  15. Sabrina Avatar

    Great points!! Thanks for sharing!

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