Remember when you were a kid and you asked the question, “Why does God let bad things happen?”
That’s no easy question to answer.
The older I get the better perspective I have on issues like this. Thank God for the word, though, right? Man, without scripture we’d all be at a loss for how to respond to His working in us.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” In this we see that in his providence, God orchestrates every event in our lives—even suffering, temptation, and sin—to accomplish both our temporal and eternal benefit. In Deuteronomy 8:16 God is giving his reason for the Israelites’ tough journey out of Egypt: “…that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.”
His ultimate purpose was to do them good even though they couldn’t quite see it at the time. Our circumstances and the struggles we go through today are crucibles to help shape and mold us into the people we will be tomorrow. And the people we will be tomorrow will respond differently than who we are today because of those circumstances.
Not only do we gain patience and perseverance through trials (James 1:3-4) but we also gain perspective. That perspective will help us out down the road when we again tread through rough waters. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him,” 1:12.
All creation eagerly awaits the future glory which God will bestow upon us at the time of His coming (Romans 8:18-25). And we also believe that “Every good gift and perfect gift is from above…of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” James 1:17-18.
Saying all that, we now have a better understanding of suffering. We are tested and put through trials so that we might persevere and continue on in the work He has for us.
God must take away everything in our lives that we depend on until we come to lean on Him as our source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). Our barriers must all be stripped away so we can realize that nothing else can satisfy our needs.
“Why does God let bad things happen?” Well that all depends on our definition of “bad”. We have the choice to see our circumstances as good or bad. Remember Romans 8:28 in your response to that question.
What speaks loudest about our faith is our response to God’s hand in our lives. Heavy as it may be, it is all ultimately for our good.