Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


I was in seminary class tonight and our prof invited us to a lecture from a guy who wrote a book on the more popular question: “why do bad things happen to good people?”  Almost everyone has asked the question themselves many times over- if not vocally, then unconsciously many times over.  Most are sick of trite answers to it and the truth is, many have left faith in God all together due to their inability to find peace with this unanswered question in their lives.  I mean really, “If God is good, then what is the deal with this pain?”

No way in a blog post could we even come close to an answer in any conclusive manner, so let me just stir the pot some to get us chasing for it….

First, it’s worth noting that the classic “why do bad things happen to good people?” is an ancient question in which many Biblical Scholars believe the first book of the Bible to be written was not Genesis, but rather Job.  Which, in case you are unfamiliar, is a book almost exclusively dedicated to the wrestling match of why bad things are happening to a man named Job and his family.

Then tonight I listened to Brian Williams host a show on the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to homes and the lives of those in New Jersey, Staten Island and beyond.  No doubt the question is racing through some without the basic needs of food/water/shelter and literally cold and in the dark tonight.  We’d be fools to ignore the reality of the questions: “Why me?”  “What did I do to deserve this?”

In that same broadcast, I listened to a woman cry tears of sadness over the loss of everything she and her 65 year old husband worked for all their lives.  He just retired.  The house was paid off.  Now the house is gone and so is everything they ever owned or acquired.  I heard the man who owned the Jersey Shore’s roller coaster that is no more explain how his whole life was completely transformed in one 8-hour storm.

I had a conversation yesterday where I was telling someone the woes of my #cursedkitchen and the car engine that is leaking oil and yatta yatta when they said, “Well, at least you’re standing.”  True, I could be a lot worse.  I could have a fire or earthquake or whatever destroy it all. I could be diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I’m sure we could all dream up horrible scenarios that would cause me to ask on a much deeper level, “Why me?”

I was studying Hebrew for class 3 days ago in Starbucks and had to leave because I was too distracted to study. At the table next to me was a translator, a woman from the “make a wish foundation”, and a Hispanic man whose whose young daughter is terminally ill and wants to go to Disneyland before she dies.  They were working out the details and I was heart-broken for the man.  I wished I could fix it.

So in the constant ebb and flow of life we all find ourselves echoing the primal cry that unites us with a book about a man named Job who lived somewhere in the pre-Mosaic neighborhood of 4000 years ago.   “Why does all this stuff happen?”

But what about the reverse?   Have you ever wrestled with the other side of this coin?

Why do good things happen to bad people?

Have you ever sat with a young couple who cannot have kids in one afternoon and then tried to counsel a teen who got “accidentally” pregnant and wants to abort her baby the next day?  If you do, you’ll not only ask “Why can’t this great couple have a kid?”  But you’ll also ask, “Why did God bless the teen with a baby in the first place?”  It is equally hard to find rest in that question too.  

Why did so-and-so win the lottery?  Why did that guy get the job?  Why is she so angry and yet she has all the stuff I wanted to have?   Why did Sandy not destroy some mean people’s homes?  Surely some great people lost it all.  But equally as sure there were some jerks who care about no one but themselves and are standing in a dry house.

So for what it’s worth, let me ask this, “When was the last time you wrestled with the question of the blessing of God?  When was the last time you had an honest discussion with a friend, family member, or teen about the complicated and unpredictable world of blessing and destruction?”

It’s worth your time.  In seeking the answer and honestly wrestling with faith, that’s where you’ll find the real fruit of spiritual truth and the kind of community that truly can and does weather the storms of life together.

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