Tuesday, August 17, 2010

why does God let bad things happen to good people?

this is one of the questions i have heard from believers and non-believers alike. i have spent months pondering this after the alzheimer’s diagnosis of my father, after the loss of baby hallee, after watching members of the church come down with fatal illnesses, after corruption plagues church leadership, after having good intentions and still messing up… how does this happen with the righteous right hand of God protecting us, His children, from danger?

the book of job seems to speak directly to this, but not in a fast and simple way. it takes a little bit of digging and a prayer for God’s word to speak directly into your heart. i have read through Job before, but suddenly, in this new light that the Spirit has shed on it, it is extraordinarily enlightening.

God does not stop bad things from happening for three reasons (that i have come up with and by no means is this list exhaustive or right):

1. you, as God’s child, underestimate your strength and/or abilities.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” – Romans 5:3-5
in the book of job, God hands job to satan while bragging that job is one of His most faithful servants and will remain strong despite the devil’s temptations. does job do so? yes! but not on his own. God provides friends to serve as encouragement during the most difficult of times. He is allowing for us to realize the insane muscle He has blessed us with, faith. realize that through your suffering you are growing into a better, stronger, more Hulk-like christian.

God also lays the stipulation out that satan can strip job of all he has but cannot kill him. He is holding job in His righteous right hand by ensuring that Job’s life is safe… God promised life and He is providing. He wants you to have hope in trials and tribulations so that He can come to the rescue, just as Christ rescued us from the throes of sin by hanging on the cross… maintain hope in the face of trouble because God does not disappoint.

2. He wants you to realize the condition of your heart.
“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. . So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:20, 22
friedrich nietzsche once said, “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” the same goes for the matters of the heart: what doesn’t kill our desires only makes them stronger. God calls us to serve His greater purpose and He provides us with talents in order to ensure our chance to participate in bringing glory to His righteous kingdom.

i have realized that all good things are worth working for; however, it’s not easy to run into tests and trials. are you truly dedicated to your convictions, your talents, His purpose? the flame will dwindle and, at times, you may fear it’s complete extinguish. but, just as nietzche says, if it doesn’t blow out that little fire will come back a full-blown, unstoppable blaze. there is a time of trial, but He will bring us into a time of rejoicing in His undeniable purpose in our lives.

3. He has faith in you, but He longs for you to grow your faith in Him.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
God has created you. He knows your greatest potential and has great faith in your ability to accomplish His goodness. but do you have enough faith in Him to endure the trials and tough times? i believe that in the face of persecution and trials you realize your (a) heart and (b) dedication. how much do you want to help others in His name? how badly do you desire to reflect Him in everything that you do?

putting yourself out there every day is difficult and being met with anything less than praise makes the task that much more daunting; however, He is rejoicing your perseverance up in heaven and will reward you (beyond anything you can fathom) for being faithful to Him. receiving criticism and negativity when you feel like you are doing what God has created you to do can breed doubt in your heart, but have faith. know that He designed you with a specific purpose for you life.

rather than think in the negative, consider tough times the ultimate compliment. God, the creator of all things, is up in Heaven wishing for you to pull close to Him and lean into the promise He has made to give a greater purpose to your life. He longs to do things in your life that are more than you would ever ask for… i’m in, how about you?
"My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.” –Psalm 71:7-8
remember that in everything you do people are watching. a person’s true character shows when they are staring adversity in the face, make sure you’re someone worth paying attention to (during good times and bad).

song of the day:
meant to live
by: switchfoot

"fumbling his confidence and wondering why the world has passed him by...
hoping that he's meant for more than arguments and failed attempts to fly...
we were meant to live for so much more, have we lost ourselves?"

i've lost myself several times, but leave it up to God to bring me right back to where i need to be. it's a confusing world, but He can serve as the ultimate GPS. just ask and believe.