Why “Bad” Things Happen to Good People posted by Yuen Woh Voon on Oct 24, 2011
It would be nice if all our problems disappear when we come to Jesus. But it would not be very helpful. Let me share with you what I mean.
The Bible tells us that everything that happens to us is for our good1. And I mean everything! Even the bad things … well, especially the bad things. You see, after we come to Christ, we start on a journey of character change. God had originally intended that mankind take dominion in this world2, starting with himself3. To take dominion means to take control. God wants us to take control of ourselves, to rule over our selfish nature. But sin entered the human race and the selfish nature took over. But God sent His Son to save us by dying on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sin. In the very same instant God gave us a new nature. It’s like being born again!
Now this new nature has the capacity to consider others and not be selfish. But unfortunately, the old nature is still alive. It is not dead but dying. It however, wars against the new nature4. So this new nature has to fight in order to be dominant! The old nature will never die while we are still alive. However it can be defeated and subdued.
The journey a believer makes after he comes to Christ is to make the new nature more and more dominant in his life. This new nature is Christ’s nature. John the Baptist once said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” When this new nature gets more and more powerful, we become more and more like Christ in our character5. That’s because this new nature is Christ’s nature (I know I am repeating myself!)
Now I get back to tragedies and sufferings. This new nature needs the right environment to grow. When we start off early on our journey, the environment is a little bit easier but it will grow tougher progressively as our new nature gets stronger. God will moderate the environment according to our growth so we can have the capacity to win every fight6. Now and then we get knocked down but God picks us up to fight again7!
This new nature is one of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control8. Take for instance love. It’s easy to love nice people. But if there are only nice people around us, our capacity to love is immature. It’s easy to love nice people. But let’s say God sends along some nasty people. Now, the fun starts. These people are hard to love but God wants us to develop this new nature of love. This is painful – to love unlovely people. But when we obey God, we will be able to love them because God has given us a new capacity to love with this new nature. God sends these nasty people for our good. Are you getting the picture?
After a while, assuming you obey God and start loving these nasty people you will find that they are not so nasty anymore. You know why? Perhaps they’ve changed. But it’s more likely that your capacity to love has increased. In this area of love, your new nature is now more dominant over your old nature. And what does God do now? Well, He sends you some new people who are even more nasty than the first group. Maybe a new neighbour moves in, or a new colleague arrives at work. Then the whole cycle begins again. You might ask, “O God, why do all these bad things happen to me?” You are now suffering like never before! These are not nice things to have happen to anyone but they are most necessary because it helps you to grow. After a while, you might look into the mirror and find it difficult to spot your old self. Behold, you have become more like Christ!
Are things hard for you right now? Remember that God is still on the throne! And He’s working out everything, and I mean everything, for your good. He loves you in ways you don’t understand. He wants to make you like His Son.
1. Romans 8:28 2. Genesis 1:26 3. Romans 6:12 4. Romans 7:17-20 5. Romans 8:29 6. 1 Corinthians 10:13 7. Psalm 37:23-24 8. Galatians 5:22-23