Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Lately God has been giving me a lot of insight on the subject of “why do bad things happen to good people” lately. I don’t claim to be an expert or to have it all figured out but I can’t help but share it with you all here.
I have discovered that a common misconception in America is “If I am a Christian and I am living right, bad things should not happen to me” and “If a bad thing happens to me I either did something wrong or God’s love has failed me”. This is sort of an expansion of the previous blog “Seeing Christ in the Fire”.
Rom 5:3 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
Rom 5:4 – and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Perseverance is the ability to endure until the end regardless of opposition or even failure. You keep faithing it out until the thing is done, quitting mid-race ruins the game and is a display of your limited faith in God. As you persevere through hard times you mature in character and faith, this is God’s goal in our lives. When you look back at the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 or look at more recent believers who changed the world – you find people who persevered through intense trials, who trusted God despite all facts and odds were against them. For more on enduring till the end check out Side Stepping Maturity.
“Christianity Saves You from Everything!”
As I said earlier “being saved does not equal a trouble free life”. In fact when you become a Christian your name is automatically added to Satan’s hit list! When you became a friend of God you became an enemy of the Devil. So why do we expect to have an easy ride in this world that is so subject to the Satans will? Now, some people are set free from prior addictions, habits or even demonic attachments upon Salvation. But salvation and obedience to God does not guarantee smooth sailing! After all “They gave our Master a crown of thorns – Why do we hope for a crown of roses?” – Martin Luther.
Act 14:22 – strengthening the souls of the disciples… and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Mat 10:22 – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Mat 24:9 – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
God’s Purpose in Hard Times
So why does God allow it? How can we call God all loving when we encounter unfair situations? And how can we call Him all powerful when He does not use His power to stop something heading our way? Unfortunate circumstances such as death, failure, divorce, being fired, theft, heart break, or family problems do not lessen God’s love or power just because He does not intervene when we would like. It simply means He does not work how we want Him to work, He does not fit in to the box we want Him to fit in. So we must conclude that God is still loving even though He allows Satan to afflict is through various means. And we must also believe that He remains all powerful no matter how tough life becomes.
God’s purpose behind trials and tribulations is growth, because opposition provides opportunity and necessity to grow. Take it to the extreme: if God removed ALL hardship, pain, and unforeseen circumstances from our lives (as some would like) we would remain spiritual babies, never growing up, never increasing in faith and realizing our overwhelming need for God. In fact I think that without junk happening to us we would not see the need for God at all, and what good would that do the Christian? This is evidenced in 3rd world countries where the pressure against Christians is greatly increased. They HAVE TO rely on God or else. This extreme pressure produces spiritual diamonds! They see miracles regularly because of their refined faith in God. I’m glad God has not removed all tribulation in my life, because in my weakness I see God’ strength come through.
Psa 66:10 – For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
I believe God allows a constant flow of hardships in our lives so that we have constant opportunities to trust in Him and see Him come through. Don’t see the next catastrophe as a failure of God’s, see it as an opportunity to see God succeed through your life! Get mad at the devil and not God, run to Him and no away from Him. Trust in Him and see what He will do because we are able to see our desperate need for God the most when He’s all we have left!
“God, Why Did You Let This Happen?”
It’s a tragedy to me when people blame God for man’s mistakes or Satans mischief. How would you like to be sentenced and judged based on someone else’s actions! Not the skeptic would say “God would have stopped the evil of man or Satan, so because He did not He is not good or not real”. What they have missed is to see God’s redemptive power in catastrophe, mistakes, and trials. Not to mention it seems those very skeptics are the ones that are not praying, perhaps if they prayed more less craziness would happen. But never the less craziness happens. But why?
I don’t believe that God is the one orchestrating global catastrophes, personal injuries, death, or personal problems. How often we forget that Satan is the temporary ruler of this world so it makes sense that bad stuff should happen on Earth due to it’s (temporary) leadership – Satan. Yes, God could stop Satan, but it’s clear He does not every chance He gets. Aside from Satan, the rest of our problems can be traced back to our own wrong doing or someone elses wrong doing. We are all sinful and capable of great evil as well as blind mistakes, this causes many problems that God is often blamed for. When the drunk driver kills a mothers son, God is blamed when it was really the drivers fault, this scenario fits many tragedies we experience. But let’s just get the cause of our tribulations straight – they are rarely God. He only wishes good and that no man would perish or fall in to sin.
But here’s the cool part – after something bad is set in to motion; God steps in as the great redeemer and offers a way out. Even if He does not stop the tragedy or the death or the mistake, He offers His hand through the fire and can turn it in to something beautiful. Life, freedom, maturity, and faith are grown in the darkest of situations.
If God can redeem a sinner separated from Himself, he can surely redeem a bad situation and make something good out of it.
So we see that even through the devastation that God is still in charge, and loving towards us as is evident in His response when we choose to trust in Him. He has not forgotten us but instead Has us on His mind and desires that we grow closer to Him. When we encounter an attack of the enemy the best way through it is to hold on tighter to God, so that is what He is helping us to do. This is what I mean when I said “opposition provides opportunity and necessity to grow.”
Hbr 3:8 – Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
The mindset that causes people to blame God for hard times is one of selfishness and immaturity. But after all does any child see the value or discipline, self control, or a spanking at the moment? Personal growth and and an intimate relationship with God is what we need, what we truly need! And God sees this when we don’t, He even uses the work of the enemy to accomplish His master plan (probably just to tick Satan off!). What the devil intends for harm God redeems and turns it into something fruitful and good.
Rom 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
So let look at our problems with a different lens, God’s lens and allow ourselves to take full advantage of our trials so that we can grow up in God.
Jam 1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jam 1:3 – knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Jam 1:4 – But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
This is why we can rejoice in our trials, because we know that we are actually in a place where we can grow closer to God! It’s easier to trust in God to fix your situation when you know you can’t do anything on your own.
I have developed faith because of the things I have encountered. Sure, God could have prevented me from running out of money, my car from breaking, or me from getting injured, but then I would not have learned such great lessons about God’s character and my need for Him. My reliance on God would be greatly lacking from what it is now if I had not persevered through the trials I have encountered.