We’ve all seen it. Someone who is sweet, kind and just an all-around good person is in the fight of their life in one way or another. Maybe it’s cancer, or the loss of a child or spouse. Perhaps they lost their job, have a financial crisis, or live in constant pain. The lists are long with the names of good people who have any number of really bad things happen to them. What gives?
Either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you’re inclined to look at it, from Genesis to Revelation we see evidence that this phenomenon has been around since creation and will continue right up till the time the Lord returns. Like it or not, we were never promised an easy life here on earth–not even if we are good. Of course, the bible in fact tells us that while most everyone thinks they are good (Proverbs 20:6) there are none who are truly righteous (Romans 3:10). So if I thought that somehow only good things should happen to me because I was good…I’d be wrong.
Fortunately God doesn’t only show love, mercy, and kindness to those who deserve it though (Romans 5:8). He loves us like a Father loves a child. And let’s not go down that path so prevalent in some Christian circles that basically says if something bad happens to someone then it must be a result of their sin—or else some sort of generational curse. This is biblical misinterpretation at its worst. Bad things certainly can (and often do) happen as a result of personal sin, but the mere evidence of a problem is not in itself proof of it being a result of some particular sin that person (or let alone their parent) has committed. Witness Job, Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-7) and Jesus himself as exhibits A, B, and C.
There are plenty of liars, cheaters, thieves, druggies, swindlers, abusers, etc. who have multiple children, good jobs, plenty of money, zero health issues, and so on and so forth. When bad things happen to those types of people we understand. It’s when a lot of good stuff happens to them while these really nice Christian people have all sorts of trouble that we begin to scratch our heads and wonder why.
David addresses this in Psalm 31 when he tells us not to worry or fret when the wicked prosper. It will be short-lived. Even if the wicked prosper their entire lives here on earth, it’s only a blimp on the radar screen of eternity. He also encourages us that our rescue and time of redemption will come—in fact, it is close at hand even now.
No matter how bad it gets, you are a foreigner in a foreign land (1 Peter 2:11), traveling a sometimes treacherous path that leads here and there but never truly reaches the promise land till our journey here is done and life in this earthly tent ends (2 Corinthians 5:1). Till then our Pilgrim’s Progress will certainly have its ups and downs. But if you find yourself more down than up, it doesn’t mean God loves you any less. Some of the greatest saints in the history of the world had it harder than anyone, including those who Paul chronicles towards the end of the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It’s that last part that most teachings and preachings stop short of though because it’s not nearly as exciting and “positive” on the surface as the first part of that chapter…but you have to keep reading (Hebrews 11:35-40).
If you are currently living in want and in need, you can learn to live fully and be at peace even in those circumstances. Believe it or not it’s what prompted Paul to say that he could do all things through Christ which strengthened him (Philippians 4:11-13)! If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, God promises that He will comfort you (Matthew 5:4)! If you are sick or physically challenged, God has promised to bring you healing (Isaiah 53:4-5) but it may in fact be the perfect healing that only comes in the life eternal! Even in death we are more than victors for to die is certainly to gain for the Christian (Philippians 1:21) which should prompt us to say “O death where is your victory, O death where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). If you are broken-hearted there is a healing on the horizon (Psalm 147:3)! If you are weak then praise God because that is precisely where and when God will show Himself strong on your behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)! If you are so distraught that you long for death itself, you will soon find yourself comforted by the great Comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-10)!
Yes, bad things do happen to good people. But even then He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The biggest challenge at times is to stop defining “good” and “bad” by worldly standards (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) and realize the very best day on earth still finds itself lacking in the light of eternity. And our light and momentary troubles are just that, light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17) for in the twinkling of an eye we will be lifted up to meet our Father in Heaven where there will be no more sickness, no more sorrow, and no more tears (Revelation 21:4). Take courage my friend.