Bad Things Do Happen To Good People
Isaiah 55:9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (NIV).
Sometimes I just don't get it. I have been a Christ follower for over 30 years, write Christian books and speak for women's conferences and events across the world. I am the Women's Ministry Director at the church where my husband is the lead teaching pastor and serve with Sharon Jaynes and Gwen Smith as part of a ministry to women, Girlfriends in God. Over the years, God has brought me out of more pits than I can count, and I have been attending church from the day I was born. My faith in God should be unwavering and I should never doubt or question Him or His plan. But sometimes I do.
I remember the day I received a phone call telling me that a young mother (whom we will call Sally) in our church was admitted to the hospital to have her baby after nine months of a very normal pregnancy with no complications. Sally and her husband should be celebrating the birth of their little girl but instead, they are planning her memorial service. The baby died in the birth process and the mother is in ICU after having lost so much blood due to a torn uterus.
Sally is an extraordinary young woman. She and her husband are life group leaders and are constantly ministering to others. She is the director of our church ministry for moms of preschoolers, MOPS, and has one of the sweetest and most gentle spirits I have ever known. Sally and her husband are faithful followers of Jesus Christ and both are a vital part of our church leadership.
I don't get it! Why would God let this happen to them?
You may be offended at my next statement, but if I am brutally honest, my faulty human mind and sin-tainted heart can almost - almost come to grips with such a horrific circumstance happening to someone who is evil and has turned their back on God. Bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people. Sounds logical and fair to me. Right? You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God's sovereignty.
We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper. And it's been that way for a long time. Take Job for example. Job was a faithful follower of God. In fact, God said of Job, "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
Job 1:6-12 "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Be sure to notice the important fact that God not only allowed Satan to test Job but dictated how Satan could test him. Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job's wife urged her husband to turn away from and curse God and to forsake the very faith that had blessed her and Job for so long - but Job stood firm.
Job 1:20-21 "Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain and despair was even more powerful. Did Job doubt and question God? Absolutely! Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain? Yes, but he remained faithful to God - even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering - even when his heart and body was broken. God monitored every step Job took and was with him. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness. Job 42:11 "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."
Sally's faith reminds me of Job and his faith. After visiting Sally and her husband in the hospital, one of her friends reported, "There is such a spiritual presence surrounding both of them, and I am confident that it is because of the many, many prayers that have been offered on their behalf." God was already using this tragedy for good.
I'm sure that there were nurses and doctors who didn’t understand the strength they saw in this young couple. Seekers will be impacted by the love and prayer support that Sally and her family will receive from the members of our church in the months and even years ahead.
I had no doubt that this young couple would grow stronger in the Lord and that their faith would be a powerful testimony of God's grace, mercy and love. We may not understand God's process, but we can trust His heart. One day, all of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points ... and we will get it. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight.