We live in a difficult world. There are bad things that happen which none of us can truly explain, but they affect us all. One of the most common reactions to tragic events is questioning why. We are a curious people who desire to learn the reason for such things to take place. Although it is not possible to explain every bad thing that happens to us, here are a few things the Bible reveals about why some bad things happen.
There are some occasions throughout history where God has allowed bad things to happen as a direct result of sinful decisions. Ezekiel was a prophet to Israel in the midst of war and captivity. The people of his day needed to know that this bad thing that was occurring was a response to their rebellion against God’s law. “The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 14:12-14). Peter recognized that it was better for Christians to suffer because of their faith rather than as a consequence of immoral actions. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:15-16).
TIME AND CHANCE
Sometimes bad things happen just because we live in a world where time and chance exist; or in other words, the wrong place-wrong time. “I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12). One of the things about life is that we are all faced with the same temptations and trials. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” We can take some comfort in knowing that all of the things that we go through, other people have gone through them before. Ecclesiastes 1:8-9, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.”
Believe it or not, sometimes bad things may happen to help us. The Psalmist penned the following: “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (Psalm 66:10-12). The Apostle Peter reflected that same sentiment in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
We may not be able to fully understand why bad things happen to us, but it is a comfort to know that God is in control and cares for us as His children. May we never lose heart in our walk with Him.