Published March 4, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"Bad Things, Good People" – Responses

Many thanks to all of you who have responded to my four-week series seeking to shed some light on the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" A key theme, as you know, was that God allows things to happen so that we learn to trust Him more. Here are edited highlights of just a few of the many thoughtful responses I received, mostly citing examples of just how God used their individual "trials" to "grow" their faith.

"Paul, I have really enjoyed this series... I lost my wife of 62+ years and best friend on January 19 of this year. I needed those words and lessons. I retired at the end of 1996 and since that time I have been to very few places that she was not with me. I miss her terribly but we shall meet again. It is written that He would not put on us more than we are able to bear and I believe this... We must go on in the path that God has chosen for us and wait for our time or the return of the Lord to Earth. I am looking forward with new anticipation for either of those occurrences." – C. R.

"I agree Christians are not exempt from bad things happening to us. It's how we as Christians handle the situation to show the non-Christian that our faith in God will make us a stronger Christian. We should praise God in the good and bad times." – (Anon.)

"Personally, I seem to learn [such lessons] the hard way. Throughout my life, going through rough times, and then sometime later in my life I was able to help someone else going through something I had experienced previously. Being a psychiatric physician assistant and psychotherapist, you can imagine how handy my bad experiences helped in my practice. My veterans were amazed when I described to them the symptoms they were having and put the diagnosis of PTSD to it. They were able to communicate with me easier and learn to trust me sooner because of experiencing what they were feeling..." – B. N.

"...This series touches me the most... When my siblings and I were young...we were abused in every way imaginable... I was constantly picked on at school and had no real friends. I have been married for 27 years and we have had problems – some significant. Last year my job was cut back to parttime and I have trouble finding a fulltime position because I am 61 competing in my field against pharmacists who are much younger. Now there are rumors we may be cut even more. It just seems all of my life something bad always seems to happen. I have observed that for the most part, those who do things that appear to be contrary to what God would want us to do thrive... I do realize that God causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on everyone and that we should pray for those who do not believe. But, still I struggle with the fact that bad things always seem to happen, no matter what..." – O. M.

Note:  The prophet Jeremiah wondered about the same thing. He wrote, "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?" (Jeremiah 12:2b). But regarding what happened to him personally, he said, "You, O Lord, know me; You have seen me, and You have tested my heart toward You..." (12:3a). "Tested" is a key word here.

"I just hate to see Paul's essays on this subject ending! I have had such understanding of things in a different light, thanks to his words. Sometimes you (me) think you know everything, but someone else will come forward, like Paul, and give you so much to think about that your heart is full of great things while you do think about this. I am sure Paul wanted us to be thinkers and has inspired that in me and I am sure many others with this series..." – D. S.

"As I read the first installment of ‘Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people,' it occurred to ask the question different – ‘Why should good people suffer any less than those who make bad choices?' We are no better than anyone else; instead we are all sinners – but many of us have decided to accept God's gracious gift of salvation and a walk with Him. In fact, as a result, we are more equipped to deal with the hardship and difficult times because...we have a Savior! One Who walks and talks with us. One we can lean on and off-load our burdens to. One who gets the big picture. If we as good people do not experience the trials and tribulations of those who are not good, how then can we relate to them with any chance of understanding, compassion or empathy? Christ Himself humbled Himself and came to us in human form to show how we are to live and treat others. What a model!..." – R. C.

"As I have learned from many experiences, people (all of them/us) have problems, as you mentioned in the beginning of your series. The perfect world, the perfect life for mankind created by God in His image was over at the garden of Eden. But options are given, praise the Lord! We (I) must endure for family, children, church, neighbors, co-workers, friends, nurses and doctors, the LOST! Because they are all watching especially during our trials and difficulties. Not because they are cold and thoughtless, but because they want to know how to handle it themselves! Jesus endured all things, even one with Satan himself, to show fallen man that we also can do it. He also displayed his dependency on His Father (our Father). And, further, sent "The Helper," our concierge, so to speak...." – K. M.

This last writer makes a very significant point. People around you are watching. They want to know if your "Christian talk" really does match your "Christian walk." If your Christian faith-talk is genuine, it will affect your Christian faith-walk. May our everyday actions never bring shame to Christ in how we individually react to those "bad" or difficult things that will inevitably come our way.

- Paul

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