Evil things happen in the world all around us every day. I often hear the comment “If God is so good, why did He let _______ happen?” Sometimes, it goes a step further, and people accuse God of causing the evil. In my case, I could say “Why did God let me get MS?” I could go further, and say, “Why did God give me MS?” This all stems back to the age-old question, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”
Asking this question assumes that good people shouldn’t have anything bad happen to them. In other words, it is possible for people to be good enough for God’s graces. As such, bad things shouldn’t happen because we were good enough to have God smile down on us.
There are several problems with that argument:
- “as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE” (Rom. 3:10 NASB). Due to the fall of man, righteousness is not inherent in us. When we are saved, the righteousness of Jesus is imputed on us. We are not “good” in ourselves; it is only the righteousness of Christ in us that is “good”.
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NASB). This scripture talks about salvation. However, in light of the first point, the only righteous people are those who are saved. Salvation cannot be earned. You must accept Christ’s grace through faith. Then, He will place His righteousness in you. The evidence of this experience is the way you live after allowing Jesus to work in you. Do you intentionally sin? Do you intentionally avoid sin? What choices you make shows where your allegiances lie.
- “And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” (John 9:2-3 NASB). Wow. This scripture makes it sound like God caused this man to be born blind so that the glory of the Lord could be put on display in his adulthood. This is not the case. Due to the fall of man, evil exists in the world. Since we are in the world, the effects of that evil are apparent in our lives. This particular man that Jesus healed endured blindness for his whole life not because God had afflicted him, but because he was born into an evil world where some people are blind. However, God used his blindness to show His glory.
- “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NASB). Jesus is telling us that we will face hardships, troubles, trials, and tribulation. Awesome! Why do I need to get saved in order to have troubles? I had plenty of trouble before I was saved. Two things. First, Christ says that in the midst of our troubles, we can be at peace in Him. Second, we need to understand that our troubles are a product of the world we live in. However, He reminds us that He has overcome the world!
Every time someone has “bad things” happen to them, they need to realize that Christ is well aware of their troubles. He is going to use your circumstance to put His power on display. It is important to realize that this will happen in His timing, and in His way.
In Genesis, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. Then Potiphar had him thrown in prison. Then Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer forgets about Joseph, and he is left in the prison for several more years. All of this took place over the course of many years. Finally, he gives an interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, and is promoted in the land. When he gets the opportunity to meet his brothers again, they are afraid because they think he will take revenge on them. However, Joseph tells them: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20 NASB).
That is a huge example of how God can use negative circumstances for His glory. But, it is not every day that you get sold in to slavery by your brothers, then spend years in prison, interpret a dream for the nation’s leader and get promoted to a high national position. However, stuff happens to us all the time and we need to see God at work in our lives. Perhaps there is supernatural deliverance or healing. But what if that doesn’t happen and we live in our circumstances the rest of our lives?
In 2002, I was diagnosed with MS. For the past 13 years, I have dealt with the ups and downs of this disease. How has God redeemed my circumstance? I can’t tell you the number of times that I hear people say that they can’t believe how well I handle it. I never blame God for giving me this disease, or complain that He hasn’t healed me. In fact, I sometimes make jokes about it. God has helped me to have the proper attitude. I have a testimony of God’s grace though this trial, not in deliverance from it. My life would be very different today if I did not have this disease. First of Gall, I would still be able to play sports! Second of all, I would not have met all the wonderful people that I have added to my life in the past several years. God is really good.
Please share your stories of how God has taken your “bad” situations and made something “good”.