Bad things happen to good people. Many question why this is so – both by the media and Christians. Many people complain about their circumstances – that they don’t deserve it. Have you been there?
“Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mat. 19: 17)
We tend to differentiate between bad and good, by blaming and judging others, i.e: ‘he must be a bad person because he did …’ or ‘How can a good God let bad things happen to good people?’ It’s like comparing your ‘goodness’ with others’ mis-steps.
“He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (lUKE 18: 9 – 11)
So, why do bad things happen to good people? Because we all do make mistakes, and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 8: 23) Good people:
“are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa. 64: 6)
An excellent explanation of why bad things happen to good people is found in the Book of Job. Here satan is accusing God for having a hedge of protection around Job so that he cannot tempt Job to curse God. Job was:
“perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1)
The word ‘perfect’ here means ‘one who is morally and ethically pure’ (Strong’s) He had reverential fear of the Lord, doing all he could to please Him, and offering sacrifices. When you think of good people, would you take Job as an example? He was blessed exceedingly. You know the story, don’t you?
God told satan that Job was already in his hands, but that he must not kill him. This story took place ages before the Law was given, it being the oldest book in the Bible. By handed- down tradition since Adam, Job endeavoured to do God’s Will as he knew it. Because he did, blessings followed him, and God had as it were a hedge of protection around him.
God does not cause bad things to happen to good people, nor is He the one that tells satan to harass them. Thanks to the cross and resurrection of Jesus, we have the glory of His grace protecting us. It’s all about His goodness; not ours. However, satan still:
“as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5: 8)
He keeps looking for gaps in the hedge of protection. In Job’s case, it was there all along, but he did not recognize it as everything Job did seemed done in reverence to God. However, where Job missed it was that he also offered burnt sacrifices every morning for each of his ten children for fear they had sinned and cursed God. (Job 1: 5) God calls each one of us personally to come to repentance, doesn’t He? We cannot repent for someone else. Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God; one was accepted; the other was not!
We make our own choices, and are responsible for our own actions which, in turn, result in consequences. We must come to God in repentance daily when we know we have missed it, and/or ask Him to show us where we may have missed it.
Having lost everyone he loved and everything he had, except his wife who wanted him to curse God, Job was struck with painful boils. Yet he refused throughout his terrible ordeals to curse God, and acknowledged:
“the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”(job 3: 25)
This is where satan found a ‘hole in the hedge.’ Job could have repented of that as soon as he realized it, but he could not. Although he knew of God, he did not know Him! He had been performing rituals.
Job’s so-called friends offered wrong advice, similar to what might hear today, i.e. ‘God is punishing you for your sins’, or ‘God is teaching you something.’ Although he would not curse God, Job was full of self-defence, relating the great number of good deeds he had done. He felt that God should answer him so that he could personally tell him how good he had been, and why he thought he did not deserve this! (Job 31: 35 – 37)
This was Job’s second major opening for satan to enter: self-righteousness! (Job. 32: 1) The first time I read the accounts of all that Job had done, and how surely he was a good man, I felt that I could never measure up to that degree of goodness!
Self-righteousness is pride in self, isn’t it? It is being proud of what you have done; not giving God the glory for what He has accomplished through you. God loves you unconditionally, as he did Job. Satan’s snare since the beginning is pride. Fear is the opposite of love. If you don’t know God’s immense Love for you, you cannot trust Him, and that is an open door to fear.
We see in this story that Job could not trust God unconditionally because he was not secure in His Love. However, thanks to one good friend who knew the truth, Job got to meet His creator face to face, and exclaim in total exultation:
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent.” (Job 42: 6)
How wonderful! When you see your soul in the light of God’s grandeur and Love, surely there is no ‘good’ in you. Job abhorred himself in His marvellous Light! God looks at the heart – the regenerated spirit – which is the real you, and He only sees Jesus! You are spirit, you have a soul, and live in a body. He loves you as He does Jesus:
“ And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. “(John 17: 22 – 23)
Job ended up praying for his friends, and was instantly healed. Furthermore, the Lord restored twice the riches and possessions he had, and also gave him another seven sons and three daughters. (Job 42. 10 -17)
You are so beloved by Him! He does not condemn you, because you have been bought with a price, and all your sins have been forgiven. Be ever so thankful for everything God has done, and is doing in your life. Dear one, whenever you sense the devil trying to get a foothold into your armour of grace. We have an advocate with the Father, and repentance brings us instantly back in right standing with Him. He is our strength, peace, love, provision… our everything, and with Him we can and will overcome!
Unlike Job, you do know God. Endeavour daily to meditate on His Word. The more you come to know just how much you are loved, the more you want to please Him in everything you do, and your soul will be transformed accordingly. Beloved, do everything as unto Him. Holy Spirit guides you in all Truth. In all things acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. (Prov. 3: 5 – 6)