I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase in my short life.
“Bad things always happen to good people.”
Christians and non-Christians alike seem to use this phrase frequently the second the storms of life come raging in. Whether it’s the loss of a child, the end of a battle to cancer, the job that was abruptly lost, the accident that killed the parents but left the children…whatever it is, this phrase is so easily spewed out.
It’s used nonchalantly because as humans we can’t help but wonder at this in doubt. Humanly we see with a very limited perspective. We tend to believe in fairness and consequences. We subconsciously believe that if we do good we get good, and if we do bad we get the bad. We understand life in terms of following rules. If you are a good person you will have a good easy life. Some people call this karma. This is why when horrible things happen to “bad people” it’s easy for us to say they deserved it or they finally got what was coming for them. However, the tables are turned when something tragic happens to someone upstanding, someone who is a good moral person, someone everyone loves. It’s a lot harder to accept that tragedy when the roles are reversed, because to our perspective it doesn’t make sense.
After I miscarried my first child, I constantly had people coming up to me sharing their sympathy with me, saying how sorry they were to hear my news. So many people would say “I can’t believe this would happen to you” or “you didn’t deserve this.” Well, as thankful as I am for the love that I’d received, I also couldn’t help but think to myself ‘why would I not deserve this?’ What about me is so special and different that I should be untouched by bad things?
Exactly…nothing! I am not exempt.
I am just as much deserving of tragedy as the next person. A lot of people believe that when you become a Christian you are excused from the pains of this world. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that this simply is not the case. If it were that easy no one would question whether or not they wanted a relationship with Jesus. The answer would be obvious. But it’s not. Christianity doesn’t work that way, and I think that’s what a lot of people fail to realize. It doesn’t at all keep you from the pains of this world, in fact you often have more due to the fact that the world is against you and what you believe in.
In John 16:33 Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble.” He doesn’t say you may have trouble, or you will have trouble if you don’t follow me. No! He says you WILL have trouble. That’s a promise. He guarantees that this life will be hard, and that difficulties will come and go. However if you read on in that verse, Jesus says “But take heart, for I have overcome the world.” This is His second promise, the one that we need to hold on to in the storms. He has overcome all the evil, all the sin, all the heartache, and has made a way for us to have eternal hope and peace through Him. We no longer have to fear the valley, because He promises to be there for us and to comfort us in empathy because He too has been there.
So do you still feel like this life is unfair and that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people? Do you feel like God is cruel for allowing this? Well think about this. Jesus, who was perfect and without sin had to endure awful, unspeakably horrible things. He suffered the most horrific death we could imagine. He died alone. His own Father was the one that sent Him to die. He was beaten, scorn, mocked, spat at, and wrongfully accused of evil he did not commit. He however was perfect in his humanity, never to sin, only to bring deliverance to those in bondage, those who were miserably sick and even the dead. He did nothing but bring good news and save people both physically and spiritually speaking. He was the ultimate picture of goodness, and perfection. AND YET, he too was given the short end of the stick so to speak. He was treated awful by his peers, and ultimately his life ended as he hung on a cross alone for the world to laugh at and mock.
In my opinion, He has suffered more than any of us. More importantly than that however is that He deserved it least of all. If you’re playing the game of fairness here, Jesus’s life and death was nothing even close to fair. It was the complete opposite.
Jesus suffered great tragedy, great loss, and great pain and sorrow all to give us life. He died in our place, and took what should have been our cross. So when we are going through tough times and are tempted to ask “why is this happening to me?” we need to remember what Jesus has done for us. Though life is hard and sometimes hard to understand, it’s important that we remember God is still fair, He is still just, He is still loving and He is still good. Even more than that, God uses our pain and grief and trials in order to draw us to Himself and to use us to bring hope to others through His word. For this, He deserves the highest praise. In the mountains and in the valleys, He is still good.
Daniel 3:18 “And if not, He is still good…”