Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

Do you ever have those days where nothing seems to go right? How about a bad year? How about a bad five years? What about the never-ending emotions like anxiety, stress, and depression?

It can get you wondering, “Is anyone in charge up there? Is there someone to blame for this?”

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

Worrying can be a lack of understanding and depending on our human nature to stress when scenarios make us uneasy.

God exists, and He is all powerful. Dr. Kyle Butt argues for the greatness of God and His ability to deal with the bad things that happen to us. Butt writes, “Are we to believe that God brings the world into existence from nothing, by merely speaking it into existence (Hebrews 11:3), and that He upholds the entire Universe ‘by the word of His power’ (Hebrews 1:3), but somehow He does not have the ability, power, or strength to cure the common cold? Such a premise is untenable.”

What are the implications of God and His character if He is all powerful yet allows everyday experiences like infections, traffic, and breakups to occur, along with the tragedies of infidelity, miscarriages, chronic illnesses, murder, and death? What kind of a God lets these things happen?

When considering such a sensitive and difficult part of life, it is important to look at the big picture. How did our world become this way, and what has God said and done about it?

Fallen world

The world was not always like this. God created a world He called, “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but He designed it with freedom of choice for those that were designed in His image. Humans could exercise free will and choose whether or not to follow God. God placed in the Garden of Eden the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9), and He gave man and woman a rule: If you eat from the tree, then you will die. According to Genesis 3, they ate from the tree, and creation fell from its glory. When sin was brought into the Garden of Eden, physical and spiritual death was made known to us.

We live in the wake of this original choice to turn away from God. Allen Webster writes about the consequence of mankind’s choice, “A part of that ‘death that passed upon all men’ is the constant threat of death. Random conditions exist that can destroy at any moment. None are guaranteed a full lifetime (Psalm 90:10; Luke 12:20).”

Effects of Sin

This original decision to turn from God affects mankind today. You decide things that harm yourself and others that contradict the nature of God. Tim Lewis explains that “people who hate God’s word and despise God’s counsel will suffer the consequences that inevitably accompany that life choice.” Many times, pain comes from the capacity to decide between good and evil. God allows us to choose love or hate, and the rewards or consequences are reflective of our choices in life.

God’s patience

God immediately gave mankind a way out. He promised a savior would come and break the curse of sin.

That savior is Jesus Christ. He came fully God and fully man to live a perfect life and save mankind from condemnation. It is through God’s patience that people believe in Jesus Christ and receives eternal life. If God eliminated evil the moment evil occurred, then the human race would not exist, and people throughout history could not experience reconciliation with God. Bad things still happen due to living in a cursed world, but a marvelous work of redemption is happening at the same time.

The solutions

It is through this work of God that bad things can be transformed into good. God in His sovereignty takes a tragedy and gives it purpose. We can experience His peace, fulfillment, and security and look forward to living with Him for eternity. Dr. Lee Strobel summarizes what God provides for us when we hurt. Strobel writes that God gives “peace to deal with our present and courage to deal with our future. How? Because he has conquered the world! Through his own suffering and death, he has deprived this world of its ultimate power over you. Suffering doesn’t have the last word anymore. God has the last world!” We have a firm hope of a better world.

God is patient with humanity to draw His children closer to him, and one day His patience will end, and it will be time for judgment. God will deal with evil, but He holds off. God will separate us, the good from the evil, from one another. (Matthew 25: 31-33)

If you struggle with hard times, then let these tools encourage you:

  • Engage the present. It is easy to focus on the past or future and totally miss out on the present. Anticipating what else could go wrong or obsessing over the past robs you of what is happening around you.
  • Study inspirational scriptures online. Look for truths from God’s word that can encourage you and give you hope.
  • Take Bible classes online. Register for Bible classes that can help you further grasp the origins of evil, God’s love, and judgment, and why God allows bad things to happen.

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