• Ashish Roy

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Updated: Feb 11

This is one of those questions which was always had been in my mind and every time it bewilders my mind when it comes to answering this question. The problem was, that I did not know the correct answer or maybe I know the answer but it's just I don’t want to accept it, but as I study the Bible more and prayed to God to open up my mind to His mysteries, I came to two aspects to answer this question. Now at first, it was really difficult for me to articulate it to others but here I am still trying my best to express what I think could be the right answer according to the Bible.

As we all know we live in a world where there is pain and suffering and every single one of us at some point in our lives has to face the harsh realities of life. And the question, “why do bad things happen to good people?” is the most asked in theology and everywhere. As we also know God is sovereign, so all that happened must have been allowed by Him, if not directly caused by Him. But we must acknowledge that human beings, who are not eternal or omniscient, cannot expect to fully understand God’s purpose and ways.

Why do bad things happen to good people? As hard as it is to acknowledge, we must remember that there are no “good” people, in the absolute sense of the word. As it is written in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” Man in his senses cannot seek God and cannot become righteous in the eyes of GOD without Jesus in this perishing world. Also, the question “how sinful man can become right in the eyes of the holy God” was one of the questions of the Reformation period but that’s the topic for another day. Now in Romans 3:23, it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us are tainted and infected by sin. And our Lord Jesus says, in Luke 18:19, “No one is good—except God alone.” We live in a fallen world and we experience the effects of the fall. One of those effects is injustice and endless suffering.

In the Bible, the book of Job deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Job was a righteous man, yet he suffered in ways one could not even imagine. God allowed Satan to do anything he wanted to Job except kill him. And now the one thing that is inspiring and shows the faith and devotion of Job towards God is Job's response to his situation. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew one thing that God was good and therefore Job continued to trust in Him. And that should be our reaction as well.

Whenever you are wondering why an all-loving God would allow bad things to happen to good people, it is also good to consider a few points about the bad things that happen to us:

1. Bad things may happen and will happen to good people in this world but this world is not the end. As we believe in Christ we have this hope that this world will pass away and we will be with God in new heaven where all this suffering, pain, and tears will be gone. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)”. We will have a glorious reward someday.

2. Bad things happen to good people, but God uses those bad things for ultimate, lasting good, and to show His glory. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 NIV). And also when we read the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, when Joseph, innocent of wrongdoing, finally came through his horrific sufferings, he was able to see God’s good plan in it all (Genesis 50).

In Isaiah 53:3, it says, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” This verse is talking about Jesus. Jesus is no stranger to our pain (also see 1 Peter 2:20-23).

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Despite the sinful nature of the people of this world, God still loves us. Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. If we receive Jesus Christ as savior, we will be forgiven and promised an eternal home in heaven.

God allows things to happen for a reason. Whether we understand it or not, we must remember that God is good, loving, and merciful. Often, bad things happen to us that we simply cannot comprehend. Instead of doubting His goodness, we should trust in God’s unfailing promises. Because we walk by faith, not by sight.

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