When exploring the answer to “Is God Judging Us?” last week, you may have wondered, “Why do bad things happen to me or any good person, for that matter?” And rightly so. I wish I could tell you that there’s a “one size fits all” explanation or a silver bullet that would take away the pain of whatever you’ve gone through or are going through. But I can’t. The truth is that humanity separated from God, which introduced death and pain, and now we must live in the aftermath.
On a positive note, our Creator has given us His Spirit to help navigate this life while we await the new world and perfection to come. But, while God and our Christ do often intercede on our behalf in this human-made mess, it’s essential to start our conversation by taking the bad-stuff focus off of them and putting it back where it belongs: us. First, a foundation for discovering why bad things happen:
1. God doesn’t tempt or mistreat us (James 1:12-14).
2. We make choices & often choose poorly.
3. No one is ‘good’ . . . “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18).
4. Things weren’t always like this (e.g., Romans 5:12 & 1Corinthians 15:21-22).
Remember ‘free will’? God obviously has it and, because we were created in His image, so do we. It gives us the freedom to do what we ought and provides us with the ability not to do what we shouldn’t. Choice also trips us up sometimes. We’ll learn over the next couple of weeks that choice brings freedom and consequences. Sometimes, they can be useful – such as the Spirit and eternal life that come when we choose right living and a relationship with God through Christ. Sometimes, the consequences may be undesirable – as with environments we’ve created, or the judgment and spiritual death many will suffer at the end of this age (Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 6:20-23, for instance). The truth is that we make our own bad choices or suffer consequences of our actions or from those of others. We can also keep God from interceding on our behalf (i.e., Psalm 66:18; 1Peter 3:7).
So, our misfortunes aren’t God’s fault. On whom or what should we blame them? Ourselves? Other people? Stuff that just happens? Technology? The devil? Please tune in next week for Part II of our discovery of Why Bad Things Happen to find the answer!
Blessings and peace,