Why do bad things happen to good people

and good things happen to bad people?

This is a question we’ve probably all asked ourselves at some point in our lives! It seems reasonable to us that a reckless driver might have a serious accident, or that a terrorist might be killed with his own bomb, but what about all the innocent bystanders?

There are no easy answers. Even the great Christian writer, John Stott, admitted: “The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith”. So what are we supposed to do about this challenge?

One thing it is important to realise is that God can use adverse circumstances to mould and shape us into the kind of person He wants us to be, and to direct us back to Him. Suffering forces us to rethink the direction of our lives, our priorities and goals, our relationships with people and with God.

And when we are facing difficult situations, being able to share our burdens with fellow believers, who can care for us and pray with us, means we can all be drawn together in strength and unity.

Sometimes we struggle to make sense of the inequities we see around us. We are not alone in thinking like this. In Psalm 73, Asaph relates his struggle on seeing how easy life appeared to be for the wicked. He writes: “When I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache…until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I saw the full picture”. Ps 73 v16 (Msg)

It is only through spending time in God’s presence that we can begin to see things from His perspective. Yes we will still have questions, but we will also have the reassurance that He is with us, and He is in control.

Jeanette Phillips