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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

Updated: Jan 15

Written by Evi Idoghor

Hello people! Happy New Year! I know you haven’t heard from me in a while – my sincere apologies. Towards the end of the year, things got a little bit more hectic, and I did not want to put out subpar articles. On top of that, my phone got stolen at the beginning of December, and I haven’t replaced it yet. So that has also affected my posting on social media (for those who follow me on Instagram and get the reminders to read previous articles). Anyway, enough of the sub stories, thank you for sticking with me. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and are thankful that God has brought us into the new year (I know I am).

Today’s article isn’t about resolutions and self-improvement, as such, we are just going to jump right into the meat of today’s matter. I was listening to a podcast the other day, where the second host who had lost her parents at a young age aired her grievances with God. While her loss didn’t lead her to lose her faith in Christ, she shared that she was struggling, and wondered why God allowed such a bad thing to happen to people who served and loved him diligently.

She was also concerned with why God allowed his children to experience trials and tribulations on earth, “what is the point of all of that?” She queried, “if he already knows that I love him and not going anywhere?” As I pondered her questions, I realized that it points to this question people tend to throw out when something bad happens to a good person – why do bad things happen to good people?

So, why do bad things happen to good people? I’d attempt at trying to answer. Christianity has been presented to us in such a way that some Christians have now become entitled. They believe that they are doing God some type of favor by following him. They think that since they have given up certain things, then God is obligated to do certain things for them in a certain manner. So, because you have accepted Christ, then he becomes a genie who must grant your three wishes.

I used to think this way – “God I am no longer fornicating, hence bless me with a marriage.” Or God I am no longer messing around, so bless me with such and such jobs. This faulty view of God and Christianity formed the basis of the jealousy I had for my friend. I believed I was a better Christian, had a better understanding of scripture, and so when God wasn’t answering my prayers for a job that will enable me to remain in America lawfully, but rather offered it to my friend on a platter, I became extremely jealous.

God then took me on a journey of refining and discipline for me to become content with the life he had blessed me with. When we become entitled or believe that it is our own righteousness that has gotten us to where we are, that is when we begin to miss the point. Everything God has given to us (including the air that we breathe) is a blessing and a gift. It isn’t anything that we have earned on our own accord. Job 34: 14-15 (NLT) says, “If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust.”

I am reminded of the story of Job, who after he lost everything tried to paint a picture of how good he was, and as such was undeserving of the evil that happened to him. God answered Job from chapter 38 to 41. When God was done, Job said, ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

Romans 11:3-4 says, “Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.””

The truth is that we are unknowledgeable about many things, however, we can trust in God because he is a good God. We can even deduce from scripture that God relents, is long suffering and even more merciful than we deserve, if not, none of us would be here. The only instant when a bad thing happened to a good person, was when Jesus (the only sinless person born of a woman) was crucified on the cross for our sakes.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was a total act of love from God, as John 3:16 tells us, which even more fascinates me, as it was Jesus himself speaking.

So, what do we do when we are faced with difficulties? We continue to set our hope on the things that are eternal. The bible teaches us that this life isn’t all that there is. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t only live once. 2 Corinthians 4:17- 18 (NLT) says, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

God who is the Most High, isn’t getting a some type of high from when we go through trials. God sometimes allows us to experience certain things to refine us, grow us, and to teach us something as I have mentioned in previous articles, using this same example below found in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

The apostles didn’t go through this life altering experience because God just wanted a good laugh, or that he wanted to see them suffer. It says that it was to make them not to rely on themselves. Perhaps they began to believe that the assignment God had given them, they could accomplish by their own strength and authority, as such, God used that trial to redirect their focus. Scripture says that God is right there with us as we experience life’s difficulties. He is there to comfort us, to strengthen us and even to deliver us, just as he delivered the apostles.

So, while we may not be able to produce a thesis as to why God allows certain things to happen the way they do, because we are not all knowing, we should remember that we live in a sinful and evil world because of the fall. But God in his great mercy has chosen us (not because of our righteousness) but because of the righteousness of Christ, the one who willingly gave his life for us so we can have this access to him while we patiently await his return.

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Images used in this article are courtesy of Unsplash


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