Note: I apologize that this post runs together like it does. I don’t know why the spaces between the paragraphs won’t show up when published.
Over the summer I have been blessed with the job of watching two young kids ages 10 and 6. Both are smart kids and full of questions and curiosity. We talk about dinosaurs, and the birds outside, and play hide and go seek, and watch television, and all the other things young kids normally do. But unlike most kids, they care about what they are taught and they way they think. They had grown up in a secular home and went to a public school. Yet the older one, the boy, asked me this, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”
I was shocked that such a question would come from such a young child. So I gave him the best response that he could understand.
I told him that yes, God is good and yes, bad things do happen. However, that is not God’s fault but ours. You see, all too often, we place the blame on God as if it is His fault that sin is in the world. But the contrary is true. It is because we decided that we wanted to be like God, we wanted knowledge of good and evil, we took the advice of the father of lies, and we sinned. That is why there is evil in the world. That was the result of actions then; and because of that act of rebellion, sin entered the world. You may ask, “Then why do we still get punished?” Well, do we not still sin? When was the last time you took something that wasn’t yours? When did you bend the truth? When did you gossip or bear false witness, or slander someone? When did you lust after a person? When were you disobedient to your parents and disrespect them? When did you misuse the Name of God? If you’ve done any of those things, at any time, you have sinned. That makes you thief, a liar, a slander, and adulterer, a disobedient child, and a blasphemer. I say you as I am talking to all of you, but I am in that list as well. We covet, we lie, we cheat, and we steal. Worst of all, we act out of hate and fear instead of love. Why do bad things happen? Because they are the cost of our sin. They are the consequence of our actions.
If you were in a court of law, the same would be true. You take something, you go to court, you pay back what you stole, and often more! Because that is the cost of breaking of the law. There are consequences for our actions. If not, the world would be a much more awful place. In fact, the unrest that you see int he world is the result of lawlessness.
Yet some have said, “Well look at all the good I have done! Does that not cover my sin.” First, none are good. We all have evil in our hearts. But that doesn’t usually cut it for an answer. We do wrong and expect and little bit of good to cover all that up, and that is not how the world works.
Lets say you were in a court of law again. Your best friend, or father, or sibling, or somebody was just murdered in cold blood. The evidence is weighed before the judge and the man is clearly guilty. But before the judgment is made the man says, “Look judge, I know I killed this person, but look at all that I did before! I paid my taxes, sometimes I gave to charity, I was faithful to my wife, every now and then I mowed a friends lawn…” and the list goes on of the “good” things a man has done. Then the judge writes him off scott free of any crime he has committed, as if the evidence against him was not right there. Would that be a good judge? No recompense, no payment, no healing, no buying off the debt that has been made. No punishment or cost to the wrongdoing. Nothing is paid back.
The same is with God. Why do bad things happen? because we are bad people. We are evil, hateful, living in fear and sin human beings.
Yet Christ did not leave us to live like that.
We weren’t meant or made to live in sin and death. We were made to live in harmony and perfect peace with God.
We are now the ones at the front of the courtroom. Our sin is marked on the lines of the back of Christ. He is the wronged while we are the wrong-doer. The judge has charged us guilty, the evidence marring our lives is before Him. But what does Christ do? He’s the one who (metaphorically) opens His wallet and says, “Do not fear, I’ll pay they cost. I love them. I forgive them. I don’t want them to live in an eternal prison. I will redeem them.” To redeem means to buy back. Christ, by His death and resurrection, buys back our life. The Judge deemed us guilty, and someone had to pay for the wrong we did. In any matter of wrongdoing, there is a cost. Yet instead of us paying the price, the innocent and wronged pays for us instead. The One we wronged.
I want to make it understood that this is not the same as the bad judge who wrote the first man off scott free. No one paid that debt, nothing was made right by any actions. That debt would have been left red in the book. In the case of Christ, the only red is of His blood. Our debt was brought in the black, paid in full. And by the One whom we were in debt to.
People ask why bad things happen to good people. I ask this instead: Why did Christ die for us sinful, evil people? Why do good things happen to bad people?
We didn’t deserve it, and we never will. It is a gift of life that we are given every day, free of charge; yet we push it away all so often.
Today I finally got around to cleaning my very messy room. It’s amazing how fast it (and life) can fall apart when it is not tended to and treated properly. But on my floor I found a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss from my last trip to the dentist. Don’t worry, I have another 🙂 But it made me think of a scenario.
Whenever we go to the dentist, it is the same story. We aren’t taking care of our teeth and mouth. It has fallen into disarray. The dentist comes in and takes care of it all and before he leaves tells us, “Now here is a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Use it everyday day and more than once. Take care of your teeth and life will be easier for you and pain will be minimal.” He doesn’t promise it will be easy, or that you won’t chip a tooth now and then, but if you take his advice you will have a happy mouth. He leaves you with the tools to take care of yourself, and if you have any problems, to call him. And no sooner do we get home do we forget everything and not take good care as we should. And then we go back crying months later about a cavity.
The same is with God. He gives us the tools we need, the Bible, to take care of our lives. He doesn’t promise an easy life, but a rewarding one. Not without earthly pain, but with eternal blessings and peace. If we cry out to Him, He will answer us. He says that if you follow His commands, you will be blessed. And no sooner do we go on with our day and lives that we forget. Our lives fall apart and sin burrows a hole into our souls. And what do we do? complain to God about why our lives hurt so much, as if He didn’t already promise and freely give His help.
God did not promise us a life without sin or pain. We brought that upon ourselves. But He also did not leave us without a way out. Because of His Son’s sacrifice, we can live a life without fear of death, and we can live a life blessing the good things and not cursing the bad things.
The thought that we can live anyway we please without consequences is foolish. It doesn’t go well in this earthly world, and God doesn’t let it slip by without punishment either. But thanks be to Christ who saved us from this body of death and redeemed us, bought us back, from the punishment for sin!
Why do bad things happen? Because we are bad people, and the wages of sin is death. That is getting what we deserve. Why do good things happen? Because God is good, and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Undeserved, freely given, and with love and forgiveness unquenchable.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel,“My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.~ Isaiah 40:27 – 31 ~His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? ~ Job 9:4 ~Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12 ~Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ~ John 14:27 ~I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33 ~Therefore, there is not no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because though Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:1-2 ~