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Why do ____ Things Happen to ____ People?

18 September, 2010

The classic question after a tragic thing happens to a Christian is “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  I have been blown away by this question over the past few days of contemplating in my hospital bed.  Absolutely blown away.

I think that its a pretty good question.  I also know that it is answered in the Bible.

First of all, we need to address the question, and the circumstances surrounding it for me.

What is a “bad” thing?  Who is a “good” person?

In my case, this question should be switched.  We should be asking, “Why do good things happen to bad people?”

The Lord and I know that there are hundreds of things in my history that deserved that disk to fly straight through my skull, and that blood would have been justice served.  Most other people don’t know about those things, but Jesus said, “Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments…will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.”  There are thousands and thousands of times I have done that.  So the “good” person isn’t really so “good”.  More like “bad”.

As far as the accident goes, it was rough.  There’s no hiding that.  But the joy, peace, and amazement at the work of the Lord in and through all of it has strengthened my faith, and others’ faith, more than I could ever imagine.  The fact that I still have two functioning eyes, a nose bone, no brain damage, and can talk and eat is absolutely nothing but a miracle.  If the pieces of the disk had hit almost anywhere else on my face… within millimeters, there would be much more serious long-term consequences. So the “bad” really wasn’t all that “bad”.  It was mostly “good”.

So all of that brings us to the question: Why do things happen to people?

And I think the only answer that suffices is that God loves people.  And we all know that is a mystery.

Good things happen to ‘good’ people because God is righteous, and rejoices in righteousness.  But we have to be careful with that, because, “All our righteousness is as filthy rags”.  So there is no real “good” people.  Only people that God does good things through.  People who don’t allow their sin nature (or their self-righteous nature) to act, but allow the will of God to work through them.

Good things happen to bad people because God is a righteous, but gracious God. “For you have been saved by grace, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Also, “the Lord makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust”

Bad things happen to good people because God is righteous.  Therefore there are no “good” people.  All of our goodness come from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17)

Bad things happen to bad people because God is righteous, and He is just.  He is not a liar.  He told us He would punish people for their sins, and that is what He does.

So what makes the difference.  Why did this “good” thing happen to me, a “bad” person.  Or if you insist, how could this “bad” thing happen to a “good” person? It is really the same question.

“To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides Him.  Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might discipline you.  And on Earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.” Deuteronomy 4.35-6

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the Earth.  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” Psalm 67.1-5

Things happen to people because God receives glory! When my blood was spilled out the other day, it would have been a just sentence for my sin.  But I was thinking that.  I was thinking of this image:  The resurrected Christ, receiving His glory through the suffering of a saint.  He knew.  He knew that disc was going to shatter.  He also knew it would be His Bride’s resources that would go to fix me up.  But He knew that it was all worth it because of the glory He would receive from it.  I no longer have to look at the bloodied cross of my saviour, when I am near to death.  I look to the resurrected Christ sitting at the right hand of God.  His blood has paid for my sin.  And He was resurrected to give me life.  That is what I look forward to.  And I also look forward to meeting others who have given Christ glory because of what happened to me.  He is worthy.  So worthy.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah G. permalink
    19 September, 2010 20:32

    Thanks for sharing, Alan! That is a very encouraging perspective. Continuing to pray for you and for God’s glory in all this!

  2. Rachel permalink
    19 September, 2010 21:24

    Alan, You are too cool. Everyone keeps telling you they are praying for you – but I doubt you are tired of hearing it. I’ve been praying for you too since I heard what happened. You are an incredible example of Christ 🙂 and it makes me really happy. But make no mistake…I know it is Christ working through you. I am just very thankful that you are obedient and alright. God IS good 🙂

  3. LIZ PATE permalink
    19 September, 2010 23:00

    ALAN, YOU HAVE BEEN ON MY HEART AND IN MY PRAYERS FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, EVEN BEFORE THIS INCIDENT OCCURRED. YOUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S BIDDING HAS BEEN A BLESSING TO MY SOUL. OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON TODAY WAS IN EPH. CHAPTER 2 CONCERNING GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY WHICH WAS EXTENDED TO US, AND SO OFTEN CHRISTIANS ARE NUMB TO THIS WONDER AND SIMPLY IGNORE WHAT A GREAT GOD WE SERVE. I PRAY THAT WE WILL ALL GET THE PICTURE OF WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE ON OUR BEHALF , AND GIVE HIM PRAISE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES ON PLANET EARTH. KNOW THAT HE IS AVAILABLE FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN CHRIST JESUS….WE ARE BUT CLAY IN THE POTTERS HANDS, AND WE NEED TO GIVE HIM GLORY IN ALL THINGS…AND THAT IS JUST WHAT YOU ARE DOING. CONTINUE IN HIS LOVE AND GRACE, KNOWING THAT HE HAS PROMISED NEVER TO LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US.

    IN HIM,
    LIZ PATE

  4. Keston Trammell permalink
    20 September, 2010 07:14

    Brother this is such a great word… Its so hard to teach in the world we live in.. Where everything is here to make us comfortable. Praise God for His goodness!! You are such an encouragement to us all!!

  5. 20 September, 2010 16:24

    Alan, you don’t know me but we have lots of friends in common from Auburn. Been getting your updates via Adam Sleeper – praying for complete healing for you brother! LOVED this blog – sharing it on my facebook so others can read. Such AWESOME perspective here! Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you!

  6. Jim Thorington permalink
    20 September, 2010 19:22

    Alan: you are truly blessed with the Spirit to be able to look at these things and see God at work in your life. Your church family back home loves you and is praying for your healing and protection as you continue to pursue what you know He is calling you to do. Precious Lord, Jesus. Awesome God!

  7. Susan Duckett permalink
    20 September, 2010 19:39

    Alan, I am sharing this with the folks in my office. The wisdom is too profound not to share! God is doing miraculous things: not just in healing but in touching hearts and souls!

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