Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?


Yes, bad things do happen even to people who believe in Jesus, who try to live for Him. These are the most trying times for believers … and the reason most often given for why people don’t believe in God. Track with me here for a while.

The apostle Paul proclaimed to a pagan, idol-worshiping world, “I see you have an altar to an un-named, unknown God. But He does exist, and He is our Father.” So that is a good place for us to start examining this God. What do we know of a good father?

A good father does whatever he can to protect loved ones from threats or enemies. However, he may also choose not to keep them from ALL bad things. A father might let his bike-riding child fall over trying to jump a curb, not because he delights in painful scrapes or bruised pride, but because good lessons are learned from “suffering” the results of our actions. Lessons about obedience (“didn’t I tell you not to …?”), lessons about pride (not letting actions outrun our level of ability), simple life lessons (we fall but we survive, we try again, and life goes on). So we can see that God, a good Father, might sometimes let us get hurt, not to enjoy our hurt, but to teach us life lessons that further our growth.

A good father sees that his children don’t go hungry. This, however, does not mean the child will never experience any hunger. Not giving a child a cookie just before dinner teaches a child that a small amount of unsatisfied hunger is okay just before a really satisfying (and far healthier) meal. So we can learn that God might know it is in our best interest NOT to give us certain things, however badly we want them.

A good father delights to give gifts to his children. Yet he is also wise enough to NOT give a child everything it wants. A child given everything is rarely a happy child, but rather a spoiled child. So we can reason that God, our good Father, wisely does not give us everything we ask for, everything we desire.  Mostly because His wisdom far exceeds our own!

A good father sees things his child cannot. Preventing a child from running to a playground would seem the action of a bully… unless that taller, older, wiser father can see the car, unseen by the child, that would have run the child over.  So we can come to trust that Father, who sees so much farther than we can, and has good reason to place Himself between us and the thing we might desire, the getting of which would have sooner or later destroyed us.

As we learn to trust our Father through smaller life lessons, we also learn to trust Him in life’s larger disappointments. We learn to trust that there is a reason we are denied things we might want (THAT spouse, THAT job). We might even learn to trust that a dearly loved one may be taken from us -- even a spouse, even a child -- all under the Hand of a loving Heavenly Father who is both all-powerful and all-good.

He loves us so much more than any earthly father. He is so much wiser and stronger, and He sees so much farther than our merely mortal eyes can. It is good to have a loving human father and to trust his love. It is great to know a Heavenly Father who is completely trustworthy, who never makes a mistake, who never loves too little, who is never too weak to help us. When we cannot (yet) see His reasons, we may still trust His heart, which is always tender toward us.  May such love dispel our doubts and draw us to a place of absolute trust in the best Father ever known.

Helpful Additional Resources:


Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? This oft-repeated question says nothing about God, but everything about human beings. An article published by Christianity Today

Making a Difference: Tragedy and Theodicy When we hear of earthquakes, school shootings, wars and other tragedies the question is always asked, "Where was God?" People wonder why a loving and caring God would allow this to happen. Dr. Rex M. Rogers gives biblical insight to this age old question. A video by Manna Media

Why do bad things happen to good people? “Why does God allow suffering? How can a good God allow evil?" Dr. Theodore Cabal answers in Honest Answers. A video by Southern Seminary

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? An article published by Tabletalk

When bad things happen to good people, an article by Wycliff College

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? An article by Got Questions

Ravi Zacharias Vs. John Piper On Why God Allows Evil To Exist!   A video