The rain splashes against the window like tears. The past creeps in like flickering shadows and I am thinking of it again. I no longer ask why bad things happen. In retrospect, I can see how God turned what others meant for evil to good and my sin into something else. If things had happened the way I wanted them to, I wouldn’t have grown and become who I am today. I would not have been a Christian.
There’s no simple, crowd-pleasing answer to why bad things happen. Just ask Randy Alcorn who wrote, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. He said…
“Human freedom is a good that justifies the reality of a temporary evil; to argue that God should not permit evil or suffering is to argue against not only human choice, but love. In other words, a world without the choice to hate would be a world without the choice to love.”
It’s 494 pages, and I’m still trudging through it to gain a better understanding of why bad things happen. Ask Job about sorrow. Job could tell you all about sorrow, anger, forgiveness, and grief. He kept his faith through some quite troubling situations. There’s a passage in the Bible where the apostles asked Jesus why the man on the street was blind. Was it his sin or his parent’s sin that caused the blindness? Jesus said it was for God’s glory. The blind man was made to see again. Many of us are still blind, groping in the darkness, oftentimes clinging to the shadows like it’s a security blanket.
It’s like we’re afraid to let it go and move forward into the light where things will be better. Darkness is something we know and for those of us who have endured a traumatic situation, letting go is terrifying especially if you’re still in it. A harmful situation is only comforting because it’s something familiar. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, in Boundaries, explained it that way too. It’s the way I felt in my situation. If I kept hitting my head against the door, maybe it will open on its own. Maybe if I loved the anger away I could gain acceptance?
Bad things happen. Rain comes on the righteous and the unrighteous, the atheist and the believer. We can’t appreciate candle light without the darkness. Many people will talk about the sin that came into the world, and that’s true, but to someone who suffered it’s a cliché. What they really need to know is, does God love them? Is He still out there?
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV
When a stranger asked me, “If God is good, why did that happen to my brother?” I remembered what I learned from Alcorn, but I knew this stranger wouldn’t welcome that information. He wanted someone to blame. Always in grief we seek someone else to blame. It’s easier to accuse God, than to face ourselves in the proverbial mirror, or to see the situation for what it truly is—something that will further God’s kingdom and grow us as Christians like the blind man in the New Testament. He not only had his sight given, but he probably gained some empathy, too. On top of which, Jesus gave Him the sight and everyone knew it. Forgiveness comes, but healing takes the longest.
Each rain drop that hits the window slides down the glass. They say rain is dreary. Rain waters the earth and when the sun comes out we can appreciate the crispness of a new day, how the light falls over the green fields, blinding us until we adjust to see the light because our eyes have gotten used to the gray.
What’s your answer to why bad things happen?