Bad things and good things:
My Bible Study group is studying the “Real God”. We are looking at the “Attributes of God“.
This past week we looked at “The Justice of God,” which took us to a section that asked: which bothered us more, “When bad things happen to good people, or when good things happened to bad people?”
How would you answer that question?
Then answer this one….”What are “bad” things that happen to good people?”
Sure, I can sit down with you over a cup of coffee and we can develop a list of things that have happened to you, and/or me for that matter, and label them “bad things.” Then I will ask you, “Who determines what things are ‘bad’, and then, “Who determines what things are ‘good’?”
Who determines what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is bad? The moral lawgiver, God, determines the moral laws, and they are written in his Word (Exod. 20) and on our hearts (Rom. 2:12–15). Therefore, we are all obligated to obey such moral laws. He determines whether an act or consequence that happens to us is a result of something that we have done, or just happens for no apparent reason. What about the good or bad things I mentioned?
When something happens to us as Christians (or as “good people”), that we don’t understand or hurts us, God has either willed it to happen or has allowed it to happen. We don’t consider it as being the result of something we did, but generally look at it in the light of social standards and jump to the conclusion that it is God punishing us or rewarding us based on the circumstances we are facing.
David shared a personal story last week that spoke to this happening. As we talked about this in my group, we shared experiences that were similar. Illnesses, deaths, cancer, paralysis, car accidents. All things that initially were looked at as “bad things happening to good people”. As we considered them we were able to see God’s hand in most of them and how He used them to reach out to others through those experiences to further His Kingdom.
The other side of the coin we talked about was “good things happening to bad people”. Have you ever stood back, and watched as someone whom you consider a “bad” person or someone who has hurt you or treated you wrong, gets blessed? Sure, we all have. And what is our thinking? Yeah…. “How come they’re getting blessed, Lord, after what they have done to me?”
A psalmist by the name of Asaph who penned the 73rd Psalm struggled with this same question. He saw people that were not following God getting ahead and not having the issues that he was experiencing. As he wrote in the beginning of the Psalm, he questioned the way he was living and what he was doing with his life and considered changing his ways to the ways of the world, but as he penned in verses 17 -19, he saw what God had in store for them in the afterlife.
Psalm 73: 17-19:
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
He realized that what seemed like blessings were, in reality, doom.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of the things that happen in your life for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." - Deuteronomy 31:7-8 Paraphrased
God is always in control of the things that happen in our lives, He wants the best for us, and will only give us what He knows we can handle when we depend on him. As we encounter those things that are unpleasant or seem to be harmful, it is important to remember that God’s ways are not always obvious to us.