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Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?


On the anniversary of 9/11, I thought it would be appropriate to bring this blog post back.

When tragedy strikes, it's easy to wonder, "Why??" Why does God let bad things happen? Where is God when bad things happen? Why does he allow evil on this Earth?

The truth is, we won't get to understand the answer to all of our "why's" this side of heaven. But, we can take a look at what God has revealed in His word. 

In a world full of free choices and free will, God's will is rarely done! In heaven, God's will is done perfectly. That's why there is no sorrow, pain or evil there. But this is earth, a fallen, imperfect place. We must choose to do God's will every day. It isn't automatic. That is why Jesus told us to pray, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

So, as I mentioned, we won't always get to know the answers. But, today we will unpack 4 reasons why bad things happen in our world:

1. Because He gives us the FREEDOM to choose.  

Deut. 11:26 (God says) Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!

The Bible says we were created in God's image. That means God gave us a choice. That's what makes us different from animals. Animals don't have a choice. God gives us a choice to accept Him or reject Him, obey Him or deny Him, do good or bad. Why? He wants us to love Him because we choose to love Him not because we have to.

The good news is we have freedom to choose. That's called free will. We are free to live how we want and love God back if we want. The bad news is that there are negative consequences to that, because we often make bad decisions. Evil consequences in the world are simply the result of evil choices.  

God could take away all the injustices in a snap. How? By taking away our freedom to choose to do wrong, take away our freedom to do injustice, to make bad choices. But He's not going to do that. Because God is producing a race of tested individuals.

So the good news is we do have freedom, but the bad news is so does everyone else and that there is negative consequences as a result of it. Some of those are oppression, injustice, murder and evil.  

2. Because JUDGMENT is coming.

Eccl. 3:17 In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.

Today is not the end of the story. This Earth is not the end of our story. We need to never forget that one day God is going to balance the books. There's going to be a judgment day. 

Death is not okay. Abuse is not okay. Lonliness is not okay. But, because of Jesus, we have hope and God will wipe away every tear. He will make everything okay. He has a plan for justice. 

Isaiah 30:18 "God is a God of justice."  He demands justice. He's far more fair than you are or I am. Because He's a God of justice, one day He's going to settle the score, close the books, balance the accounts. If I didn't believe that I'd be in absolute despair. There are people getting away with all kinds of stuff.  But the judgment has not been meted out yet. God says, “Yes, you've been given free choice, and you can choose to do good or bad but one day you WILL give an account for your life.“

Why doesn't God judge us now? Why doesn't He bring justice now? Why doesn't He balance the books today?

3. He wants to show us we need a SAVIOR.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.

This means we're all in trouble. We've all been unkind, cruel, unfair.  We're all in the same boat. The reason why the world is unjust is because it's full of unjust people. Like me! Like you! We want to believe that we're good and that we're unselfish and that we always think of other people.  So God tests us. He lets the world go on to see what the natural consequences of our human nature are.  

Eccl. 3:18 (NIV) As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.

He wants us to see what human nature is really like. He's saying that injustice reveals human nature. When we see the evil, unjust, oppressive stuff going on in the world, we shouldn't be surprised about it; it just shows what mankind is really like on the inside.

The humanist says, “man is basically good and he basically does the right thing.” If that's true, how do you explain Aushwitz, Rwanda, Darfur, and the killing fields? How do you explain the rapes and murders and abuse that goes on in our society? How do you explain Columbine, VA Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and now Pulse? If man is basically good, how do we explain these evil acts? You see, mankind is NOT basically good, that’s why we need a savior!  

We all have the freedom to choose and there is going to be a judgment one day for our choices.  But He's delaying that judgment so we can recognize our need for a savior before that day comes.  

Rom 3:23-24 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

We are all in the same boat and none of us are perfect. We've all blown it.  If God gave us what we deserve right now where would we be? Jesus Christ did not deserve to die on the cross. He was perfect, sinless -- He was God. But the Bible says that He came and died, took the penalty for you and me, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God.  He took my rap, my penalty, my price. He did my jail sentence and He did yours too. We need him as our savior.

4. Pain can develop CHARACTER.

Romans 5:4 endurance develops strength of character

We always learn more from pain than we do from pleasure. We always learn more from failure than we do from success. It's in the tough times that we develop character, not the easy times. God is interested in molding and making us.

Life is like photography. Because of digital cameras and phones photography is a lost art. When you used to take a picture, what you’d get was a negative. You had to take it into a dark room, and turn a negative into a positive by shining light through it in an enlarger onto a photographic paper. When the light shines through the negative onto the photographic paper it becomes a positive.

God can turn the negatives in your life into positives if you let the light of His love shine through it. And He'll build positive things out of it.