Below is the sermon from today. One thing that I did not touch on: sometimes, actually I would say most all of the time, God is working in our struggles to develop us. God is building us up and conforming us into His image.
Today is once again, question and answer Sunday. We are going to focus on the question “Why do bad things happen to good people”? To help minister to this need think about the hymn: It is Well with My Soul.
Show video of the story behind that hymn
It is interesting that some of our dearest hymns have been written by people who have undergone great trials.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
My theme and application:
God is in control, even when life is falling apart, we can trust Him even when we don’t have answers.
- Let’s start by talking about why bad things happen.
- We can’t answer this entirely. We can try to reason, but we can’t answer why that car accident happened to you, or that terrible crime, or whatever it may be.
- I cannot answer why one person suffers from Alzheimer’s and another does not. I can’t answer why to these things.
- I can answer why bad things happen, we’ll come back to that.
- First look at this passage.
- Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong to the Lordour God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
- When a parent decides to move their family from one place to another that is very difficult on the children, though they cannot understand why.
- I have seen other examples of how children just don’t understand. I recently heard a story about a child who was injured and getting a shot to numb the pain of the stitches. The child was told what was going on and how it would hurt for a minute, but then it would feel better. The child still reacted negatively. The child later was mad at the doctor, and even at his father, for allowing him to go through the pain, but it had to happen.
- Recently Abigail endured Hand Foot and Mouth disease. She had blisters throughout her mouth and throat. She would wake up screaming in pain. We could not get her to eat popsicles though they would help the pain. She just knew it hurt, she would not understand what would help.
- Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- On an individual scale we must understand that God knows and we just can’t answer why something bad happened to me and not another.
- On an objective scale of why there is evil and tragedy, we can answer that.
- I want to try to answer this question as objectively as possible. Please understand, I don’t mean to be stoic and insensitive. I cannot understand how people go through what they do. I don’t understand how people endure the loss of a child or children and then write a hymn about it. I don’t understand how someone can watch their child die of cancer. I don’t understand how someone watches their spouse or relative go through Alzheimer’s. My heart breaks for these terrible situations. However, I am also very logical and my thinking is framed by a Biblical worldview and the Bible does answer the question of why bad things happen overall.
- In difficult times, focus on the other side of the hill. Many times while I am running I have to run up some steep hills. Many times I am thirsty while running up the hill, but I resolve not to take a drink until I get over the hill. Most always when I reach the top of the hill I get to run downhill, though you don’t know that by just looking at the hill. It is easy to focus on the hill, but it is better to focus on the other side of the hill. The other side of the hill brings relief as you have a beautify scene and can run downhill. It is similar with life, eternity is on the other side of our life.
- So, think about humanity freewill brings sin
- One person writes: What kind of world God would have made depends on what God values. According to Christianity, what God values above all is relationship. But for relationship to be meaningful, it must be freely chosen; for relationship to be freely chosen, there must be the possibility of it being rejected; and wherever there is the possibility of rejecting relationship, there is also the possibility of pain and suffering.
- The Bible affirms this truth from its very first pages. We find a story of people who are in intimate relationship with God, and who know what He has asked of them. But then they hear this voice in their ears, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). And they begin to doubt God. They begin to doubt that He knows what’s best for them. They begin to doubt that He isfor Ultimately, they begin to doubt what He has actually said—his word. And then they sin.
- When sin entered the world God pursued them. God made them clothes. If you read more of those first few chapters of the Bible we see that the plan of salvation is already set in place.
- However, we also read that sin brought death.
- All of the world’s history can be summed up like this:
- We are currently living in a fallen world. We are redeemed but we are waiting on God to make things totally right.
- Romans 8:19 and following talk about all of creation waiting for restoration.
- God created a world pure and good and God said that they could eat of every tree in the garden but NOT the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:17)
- We focus on why they could not eat of the fruit of that tree, but think about this: they could eat of every tree in the garden they wanted to, except that tree.
- That tree was our freewill.
- Our ancestors ate of the fruit of that tree and that brought the fall.
- Now, we freely choose good and evil.
- We all die because of sin.
- We all hurt people because of sin.
- We are all effected by this indirectly and directly. But now, we all are effected by at least 6000 years of human/world history falling apart. The earth is falling apart, crime is increasing and it all goes back to the fall.
- But this is also the goodness of God.
- I know that seems weird, how is God good in bad things and evil?
- He is good because those bad things still represent God giving us freewill. Without sin there is NO freewill. God did not create us as robots.
- But also even in bad things God is good because He will restore everything. He will make everything right. He will redeem the world.
- We need to know that God suffers with us:
- One writes: A sixth response to the objection from suffering I take, somewhat ironically, from Friedrich Nietzsche. He wrote:
- “The gods justified human life by living it themselves—the only satisfactory [response to the problem of suffering] ever invented.” Nietzsche is actually writing of the ancient Greeks here, and in his bias he doesn’t make the connection to Christianity. But as a Christian, I am very pleased to agree with him and then point emphatically to the cross where Jesus died. The night before his death, as Jesus wrestled with what He knew the next day would bring, Jesus said to his friends, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow, to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Think about it. The God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, saying He is overwhelmed with sorrow, even to death….If you’ve ever experienced deep depression or thought about dying, Jesus is right there with you. There is no depth of agony and helplessness we can experience in this life that He doesn’t understand. At the Cross, we see the absolute uniqueness of the Christian response to suffering. In Islam, the idea of God suffering is nonsense—it is thought to make God weak. In Buddhism, to reach divinity is precisely to move beyond the possibility of suffering. Only in Christ do we have a God who is loving enough to suffer with us. The loving parent is not the one who never allows suffering in a child’s life. The loving parent is the one who is willing to suffer alongside their children. And in Christianity this is exactly what we find.
- I am married to a woman with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.). I see her suffering. She was diagnosed at 21 years old and it was a relief and made sense. But each day is a struggle. Each day Meagan does not know if she will have weakness and/or pain. A few years ago Meagan went for some three months with vision issues to the point of not being able to drive. When Meagan was diagnosed with M.S. I thought, “Okay, maybe she will have trouble walking.” I know, easy for me to say. But it is not just that. There is intense pain as well. But, for me, I could easily question why her, but I cannot question why there is M.S. M.S. exists because of the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden and so does M.D. and Alzheimer’s and cancer and autism and rape and tornadoes and everything else that is bad.
- BUT some day God will restore all things. Revelation 21:1-4: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
- In the book, “The Case for Faith” Lee Strobel interviews one scholar who notes that the people who believe there cannot be a God because of all the troubles are not the ones going through trials. The people going through the trials have the stronger faith. It is the Americans who generally are not facing the trial who struggle.
- I could name a few, I already have with the hymn writer of It is Well With My Soul. But what about Jon Erikson Tada? She has been a quadriplegic since 1967 and she has composed and sung songs, she has painted and written books. She has a large ministry distributing wheel chairs all over the world.
- A. Carson shared about a man who has had all kinds of illnesses and when I asked how he is doing he says, “Nothing a good resurrection can’t take care of.”
Think about the hymn, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.
How does one write that?
How is it that people with the most trials write the best hymns?
|Peace in a storm
A pastor had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened.”
As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us.”
And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.
The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, “As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.
And then, he suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world.
When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.” The pastor could hardly believe his eyes.
It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, the pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. The sweet child replied,
“Sir, my Dad is the pilot, and he is taking me home.”
There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. We have all known such times, but let us
remember: Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home. Don’t worry.
Have a wonderful day. Chaplain Jim Melick
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)