Why do BAD things happen to GOOD people?
The Preacher and the Atheist
Author Unknown

A preacher and an atheist barber were once walking through the city slums. Said the barber to the preacher: “This is why I cannot believe in a God of love. If God was as kind as you say, He would not permit all this poverty, disease, and squalor. He would not allow these poor bums to be addicted to dope and other character-destroying habits. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things.”

The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkempt and filthy. His hair was hanging down his neck and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face. Said the minister: “You must not be a very good barber because you wouldn’t permit a man like that to continue living in this neighborhood without a haircut and shave.” Indignantly the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it that he is like that. He has never come in my shop; I could fix him up and make him look like a gentleman!”

Giving the barber a penetrating look, the minister said: “Then don’t blame God for allowing the people to continue in their evil ways, when He is constantly inviting them to come and be saved.”

Why do BAD things happen to “GOOD” people?  

It is the most commonly asked question among those who don’t know Christ? And I get that…I mean, how do you reconcile all the devastation that has occurred in the past couple of months across the country? Perhaps you’ve even experienced personal loss and wondered how such a powerful, mighty and loving God would ever allow such horrible things to happen. To be honest with you, I don’t have a clear answer. However, I do know that there is a God and I am not him…and I do know that there is a reason and a purpose behind everything that happens.
Here I am!
Consider the story of Adam and Eve

God creates a perfect place for Adam and Eve…you might say that he’s literally given them everything under the sun. He then gives them very specific instructions – he specifically tells them they can eat of every single tree that is in this garden – with the exception of one tree: the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” 

In hindsight, God made it incredibly easy for Adam – in my profession, I often tell my clients to create opportunities in which your people can be successful. I really feel like God created an opportunity for Adam and Eve to be successful. And this success would have had incredible implications for us as a human race moving forward. He tells them that all they have to do is stay away from this one tree. He tells them that they can literally eat from every other tree that is in this garden. And while we don’t know how many other trees they could have chosen from, I’d like to believe that they had a lot of other options. All they had to do was to obey God’s one direct command as it relates to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

Interestingly enough, in this perfect place, God also allows Satan to tempt Adam and Eve into disobeying his command. God essentially sits back and watches to see how the story will unfold. Of course, most of us know the story. Adam and Eve did not obey. In fact, they completely blew it…not only for themselves, but for every person following them.  

God’s original plan for us was that we NOT have the “knowledge” of evil by engaging in it! Once we’ve engaged or entered into a specific sin –we then  have the “knowledge” of it…and thus the pain and suffering that are consequence of it. God gives us that choice.

Does that make sense? What if we consider ourselves as parents (not that I have children…but I think we can all imagine being parents)? Have you ever allowed your children to experience pain? Sometimes we have to allow some level of “pain” to occur to teach a specific lesson or so that our children will learn the consequences of their actions…much like Adam and Eve. 

I don’t believe that God intentionally puts us in harm’s way to prove a point (although I may be wrong). However, I do believe that we’re given free will. Much like Adam and Eve, we (collective we, not necessarily any one human being) don’t always obey God’s will for us and there are consequences. However, in Jeremiah 31:1 he says, I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and because he loves us…much like a parent, he can’t simply remove all of our pain and suffering. But, much like the homeless man on the street…if we accept him into our lives, he can do great things in us and through us.

C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  With that said, is God whispering, speaking or shouting into your ears right now? Furthermore…how are you responding?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-18.  
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Disclosure: the above message was adapted from my church’s sermon last weekend. To listen to the original message, click HERE (Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People).