Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why Bad Things Happen to "Good" People

This is a devotions I delivered before choir recently.

One facet of our human existence is the notion of reward and punishment - ie, if you do good, good things will happen to you, and if you do bad, then bad things’ll happen to you. So, when bad things happen to apparently “good” people, the question naturally comes - why did this happen? Now, it’s not my intention to get into the detailed implications this issue, but I will relate a couple of examples in scripture which can help us gain a better understanding of the question.

The first example is from Leviticus, and records how Ezekiel, who was one of God’s prophets, was told by God that He was going to take Ezekiel’s wife away at a stroke, and that when it happened, Ezekiel wasn’t to mourn or to weep. Scripture then records that what was going to happen to Ezekiel, and Ezekiel’s response, was to then be a sign to the people of Israel, in that all that Ezekiel experienced and did, they would also experience and do. So, God subjected a faithful servant to an incredibly difficult experience in order to convey to the people of God the seriousness of the situation they were in. In short, God used this to convey an extremely strong message to the children Israel.

The second example is from Luke 13, where Christ is asked about the Galileans whose blood was mixed with their sacrifices by Pilate, or about the 18 men that were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them - did these “bad deaths” mean that they had committed some special sin, or were worse than other sinners?

Christ’s answer was telling:
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
In this case, Christ is, in essence, telling the disciples “you’re asking the wrong question”, that the way these people died isn’t nearly as important a concern as whether they or not they were ready to meet their maker in a state of repentance. This instruction dove-tails with other times where Christ instructed the people to always be ready.

So what should you the listener take away from this devotion? Namely that ‘bad’ things can happen to ‘good’ people for any a number of reasons that have nothing to do with whether they’d done something special to deserve punishment. It could happen as a way that God is working through your life to instruct others, or as an illustration to always be ready for whatever God allows to come your way.

In all these things we need to walk in faith, trusting and relying on His leading to follow the path He would have us to go, regardless of where it leads.