Why Do Bad Things Happen To People?
"God allows bad things so we can be different," says Matthew, age 9.
Matthew, aren't there better ways of being different?
"Some of the people are bad, and some are good," says Grant, 8.
Bad stuff happens to good and bad people, but an extraordinary amount of bad comes to those who reap the consequences of their own bad actions. I love the old cowboy movies because the bad guys always got what was coming to them. Wouldn't it be great if real life were that simple?
Is it OK to pray that bad guys who refuse to change will get it? King David did: "Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely" (Psalm 141:10).
"God knows we were born to sin," says Reece, 8. Yes, a lot of bad things happen because we live in a world where people sin. But we shouldn't think God overlooks our sin just because we inherit the tendency to sin from our original parents, Adam and Eve. Sometimes, "bad" things happen to Christians because God is correcting us and bringing us back to his way (Hebrews 12:5-6).
A lot of bad things happen when Christians believe lies about their true identity. If you believe you're a sinner, guess what you're going to do.
Actually, the Bible says all Christians are "saints" (literally, "holy ones") because God has made them holy by crediting his righteousness to their account and giving them a new nature when they trusted Jesus as their Savior. When Christians allow the Holy Spirit to control their lives, they overcome temptations to sin.
Sometimes, bad things happen to people because they're doing the right thing. It should be no surprise that when a person is on the right track, Satan wants to attack him. Someone has said, "If there is peace with God, there must be war with Satan."
Once we realize God is in control, bad things don't always continue to look bad. After being sold into slavery by his envious brothers and falsely accused, Joseph was thrown into an Egyptian jail and forgotten (Genesis 37 and 39).
Joseph used his God-given ability to interpret Pharaoh's dream. He foresaw a coming famine and recommended a grain-storage plan that saved many lives. In one day, Joseph went from jailbird to prime minister.
Speaking to his brothers about their selling him into slavery, Joseph said, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20). Looking back, Joseph saw God's ingenious career path that promoted him to a position that rescued a nation from starvation.
Like Joseph, Jesus suffered betrayal for 30 pieces of silver, false accusations and a fate that appeared to be disastrous. Though the cross has been turned into a beautiful symbol in our day, in Jesus' day it was equivalent to the electric chair -- the worst punishment for criminals.
To die on a cross between two criminals appeared to be total defeat. Yet, God took this humiliating death and turned it into victory over death. From this irony flows resurrection life. And this new life is available to you!
Think about this: Evil people will scheme, but only God can take something intended for evil, intercept it and accomplish his purpose. It's like a pass intended for one football player being intercepted by the opposing team and run back for a score.
Memorize this truth: Genesis 50:20 quoted above.
Ask this question: Can you think of a time in your life when God intercepted evil to accomplish his purpose?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see more articles like this one, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/ColumnArchive.aspx. The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Print free lessons from the "Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.
Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving