Click above to order our new book, “Seven Reasons Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.”
Living in this side of history—after the Fall—is hard. But we have hope. Hope in Christ. Hope in Scripture. Hope in an eternal home, Heaven. So, we should “leave it all on the field” in this life. Play it all out, using our time, talent, and treasure for His Kingdom. God is good. You can trust Him.
In this work, Dave outlines seven reasons why “bad things happen to good people”:
Fallen World. Realize that things will get messy in this life, but He is still ultimately in control and knows what will happen to you: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Mark 10:29). Because this world is broken, life will get complex sometimes. Embrace the complexity, knowing that God is watching.
Free Will. Yes, we have free will. But God is still in control. Don’t even try to understand how complex these two truths are! Jeremiah 17:10 states, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” God is watching. Live life to please him. When we sin, we ultimately have a faith problem, more so than a temptation problem. Would you sin if you really knew Jesus as a real being was right there next to you watching? Therefore, live for an audience of One.
Spiritual Warfare. There are two categories of Christians: those who know and believe that the spirit world is real and live like it, and those who don’t. If we could peel back the dimensions and see into the unseen realm, we would be shocked at the reality of what would be uncovered. We need to live under the direction of Ephesians 6:12–13: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Bad Choices/Decisions. We all make bad decisions. Experienced Christians start to realize that they don’t want to tangle their time, talent, and treasure with worldly pursuits that end in temporary outcomes. They also learn they don’t want to waste time by repeating mistakes. “There’s only one life, this soon will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Therefore, live by Hebrews 12:1–2: “We also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Also, please remember: there is a different between guilt and shame. Don’t shame yourself for making bad choices! As long as you’re wrapped in a physical body, you will make bad choices! Forgive yourself.
Test and Grow Our Faith. Philippians 1:6 states, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God is sovereign. He gets to choose how to build our faith. In His wisdom, He allows pain and suffering to be part (but not all) of this process. Remember these two key verses: “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3–5). James 1:2–4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Discipline/Punishment. When it comes to pain and suffering, one of the most challenging Scripture passages is Hebrews 12:6–11:
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God’s Purpose. God allowed Job to be tested beyond anyone in history. Satan took away everything from Job—his health, family, wealth, business, and everything else. Where is a good starting place to comprehend this? Perhaps it’s to first realize that it’s all His to begin with. Giving these back to Him is a wise response. Starting here brings gratefulness to our souls!