New Hope Notes
When Bad Things Happen To Good People
When Jesus Seems Abent
Pastor Brandon Ahu
Why do bad things happen to good people? It makes sense for bad things to happen to people who do bad, but it just doesn’t make sense when bad things happen to good people. It can seem unfair. Today’s topic is loaded and a difficult subject to make sense of. No matter what walk of life you are on, if you are a believer or not, it is a question that all people may struggle with. The first step to tackle the question is to change our perspective, not from our point of view, but look at it from God’s point of view.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Is. 55:9)
God can see and understand things at a higher level than we can. An example of this perspective is the relationship between a parent and child. A parent understands things beyond a child’s limited knowledge. Like, bed time, curfews, homework, etc…
We commonly believe that what is good is something that brings us joy and pleasure; while something bad brings us pain and sorrow. Only God knows what is good and bad for us. What may seem good for us during the present may bring future sorrow, while what is bad during the present time may bring future blessings. Hindsight is 20/20. Ultimately time is the revealer of all that is good and bad. To answer why do bad things happen to good people, we must:
1. Redefine GOOD AND BAD
a. Good - what's GOOD for us in the long run.
There are situations where time itself, is not an answer to the why’s of our hurt and sorrow. Time may pass by, but our wounds still hurt. And the question is why God would you allow such a bad thing to happen? David Hume questioned,” If God is willing to defeat evil and he is unable, he is powerless. If God is able to defeat evil and he is unwilling, he is cruel. “ So why would a loving and powerful God allow evil to happen in our world? It a tough question that is not easy to address, but a simple answer. To answer this question we must acknowledge that God gives us choice.
2. Choice allows for GOOD AND EVIL
Choices that we make, will lead to a fork in the road where we either choose good or evil. Some choices are benign; they are neither good nor evil. There are choices that we make in our emotions, like when we get upset, we can chose how we can react by letting it go or acting out negatively in anger. Then there is the choice to resist our temptations or fall for it. There is also the choice to forgive or to hold anger. God allows evil in the world because he give us choice. And with that choice, we either chose to love him or not. Without choice there is no love, because:
a. Love is founded in CHOICE.
Love is not something forced. We choose who we love. The choice to love and to be loved freely out of a person’s own will is much more satisfying and real. We have the ability to choose to love. God does not force us to love him; we have the choice to love God out of our own will. No choice hurts the relationship, because there will be no relationship if there is no choice.
When hardships in our life, hurt us deeply, we must acknowledge that is happening. As a believer, looking at God’s promises gives us hope.
"And we know, that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
In all things God works for the good. There are choices that people make that affect other people. Some of those choices may be out of greed, pride, selfishness, that creates evil and hardship in other people’s lives. In the book of Genesis, Joseph was his father’s favorite son out of his 12 brothers. His brothers were jealous and conspired against him and sold him as a slave. He was later imprisoned, but through a series of events, he became second in command in Egypt. There was a worldwide famine, and his brother traveled to Egypt to ask for food. Joseph recognized his brothers and instead of getting revenge on them, he helped them. Joseph says,
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Gen. 50:20)
Joseph recognizes his struggles, but he also acknowledges that it was God using the situation, not to make him a better person, but to accomplish his purpose. God will take our troubles and transform our troubles in to something eternal if we allow him. God will never waste a hurt or a tear; he will change them if we allow him to.
As we approach things that are hard,
"Consider it joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance..." (James 1:2-3)
But this may sometimes feel like an impossible task. How can we have Joy in our hardest struggles? In Jesus there is hope and joy in the midst of any struggle. We should keep in mind that Heaven is our home. Our perspective should focus on a relationship of trust with Jesus. Remember in the midst of everything God is in control, and he will wipe every tear, heal our hurts, and bring justice to every injustice. The hope that Christians have is that God will one day make everything right.
We find another example in bad things happening to a good person, is through Jesus Christ. He never sinned in his life, yet he endured all the world’s sins on his shoulders, persecution, and death on the cross. Jesus was the epitome of a good person.
3. Your RESPONSE determines your OUTCOME.
"They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' He took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' He said to them. 'Stay here and keep watch.'" (Mark 14:32-34)
Jesus recognized that God had the power to take him out of the bad situation, but he acknowledged its God’s will be done. Your response determines you eternal outcome. Its your response not only your outcome your current situations, but also the eternal outcome. Christianity is God of creation, came to down to this earth that is filled with pain, evil and suffering. God came to the earth and took the suffering upon himself through Jesus Christ, and he died for the sins of all in the world. Jesus knows and can empathize with our hurts. We can either continue to ask the question why? Why? Why? or answer the questions logically or emotionally. But it all boils down to our setting our eyes upon Jesus, he that gives us hope and promise of all things good and eternal during those troubling times.
1. Have there been times when you God, Why is this bad thing happening?
2. Have there been situations in hindsight, where things were bad, but the outcome showed that God was in control?
3. During hard time what does Hope in Jesus mean to you?