WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN
“It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
One of the children at church asked: “Why does God let bad things happen?” It may be a child’s question, but it is far from a childish question. The Bible says “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). It also says that we can “cast all our worries upon Him because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7), and that He is “God Almighty” for whom “nothing is impossible” (Lk. 1:37). So when bad things do happen, does that mean the Bible isn’t true? Do the bad things we see in the world show us that God isn’t loving, or that He really doesn’t care about people, or that He is unable to stop bad things?
The short answer is, “NO WAY!” Let me give you a longer answer.
Let’s think about “good” and “bad.” There are some things that look “bad” at first that may not really be bad in God’s eyes. Rom. 8:28 says: “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.” Doesn’t “all things” have to include things that we would call “bad?” Praise the Lord that man’s badness can’t stop God from His good work. Consider an example from the Bible: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and spent most of his life in Egypt. He was even thrown into prison. In the end, though, even Joseph recognized that what his brothers meant for evil, God used for good. God used Joseph to save the whole nation of Israel. Jesus is another example. He was rejected and whipped and nailed to a cross and killed. Was that a bad thing or a good thing? The men who did it meant to do harm, but God used their actions to provide a way for people to receive eternal life through faith in Jesus. It’s hard to judge what is good and what is bad because we can’t see the end results. God can.
Some people ask, “Why doesn’t God just stop everybody from doing bad things?” God could do that. The results, however, wouldn’t be what we might think. First of all, when we think of “bad things” we think of murder and acts of terror. We forget that the Bible says, “All have sinned. . .” We all do bad things, and think bad things, and say bad things. God could take away everybody’s ability to think, and speak, and act. Then nobody would be able to sin. Of course, nobody would be able to act in obedience either. There would be no more acts of hate, but there could be no more acts of love.
God is doing something far more amazing. He is taking the badness of this world and turning it into good for His people. That’s something that only God can do!
Pastor Keith Andrews