Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's on Your Mind '09? - Bad Things/Good People Edition

Shane at Heart Reflections began the What's on Your Mind '09? blog carnival to challenge writers and encourge conversation, and I am happy to participate again. Keep in mind, you do not need to have a blog to participate. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

This week, Shane asks the question, Why do bad things happen to good people?
Now, I do not pretend to be a trained theologian, nor do I claim to have profund insights into this question which has been asked so often. But I have wondered about it quite a bit, and I believe God has given me as much understanding as this little brain of mine can handle. And that which He has given me, I share with you - in the hopes it will encourage you when you face "bad things."

I imagine the possible answers to the question Why do bad things happen to good people? are many, and most of the options are not very satisfying. Because we want justice and we want things to seem "fair," we don't like it when "bad" things happen to "good" people. It just doesn't seem right.
But one day as I was contemplating this question, it was as if God prompted me to consider the fact that maybe the "bad thing" is only a small part of a much bigger picture. Maybe the "bad thing" is part of a road which paves the way to a "very good thing."
I thought about the stories I had heard from some of these good people who have had bad things happen to them. And it seems each one of those people - though they didn't like the bad thing - saw that ultimately the end result was good. Very good.
*Perhaps someone has seen their character change for the better as they have faced challenging times.
*Maybe a person's faith in God grew as a result of their struggle.
*Perhaps a relationship was strengthened because of the trial which was endured together.
*Or maybe someone discovered a deeper, more personal walk with God because in their hard time they sensed His presence in a way they never had before.

And that was when I felt I had received one possible answer to this troubling query. Could it be God allows bad things to come into the lives of good people because He knows the very good lasting thing which will come as a result of the temporary pain?
I hope that in posing this possibility I do not come across as seeming unconcerned about the very real pain that good people have suffered. I know the pain is real, and I do not mean to trivialize any situation a person has endured.
But I know God is bigger than even our most intense pain, and He is convincing me that He longs to comfort us and pour His love out on His people whom He cherishes so intimately.

I thought about this truth Sunday night as I lay in bed, soaking my pillow with tears. I kept repeating, "God, I am so broken. I need You!" and I hated the way I was feeling. Part of me wondered why I need to struggle as I do. Why couldn't God just take away these hard times? I'm trying to follow Him, to be obedient, to be as "good" as I can be. Why must I still struggle???
But as I lay there, I could not deny His presence. I knew He was holding me. God, Himself, was assuring me of His love. And I was more aware of Him and His love for me in the midst of my tears, than I had been at any other point in my day.

I think sometimes God allows bad things to happen to good people so He can work very good things in their lives, and so He can draw them close to pour His love out on them.
This post reminded me of a picture of two of my children and I, which I just love. Joshua and Elizabeth were both sick and all they wanted to do was cuddle in my arms. I was not happy for their suffering, but I cherished having them so close to me.
I wonder if God feels the same way about us going through hard times?
For more What's on Your Mind thoughts, visit Shane!

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My ADHD Me said...

Your timing is incredible.
Thank you.

I've often said that even though I hate for my kids to be sick, I used to love the way they would cuddle up in my lap and lay there while i would stroke their heads....at least until the Motrin would kick in.

Jerralea said...

You know, it's true that I cling closer to God when I am going through a trial, than when everything is rosy. I want to cling to Him in the good times!

Stacey said...

Oh, how I am sharing in your tears, Karen! I'm at a loss for words, so I will agree by saying "Amen!" God is so very good and He loves us enough to remind us (sometimes through terrible circumstances) that it's all about Him. He can be trusted, He can carry us through. He loves us and wants us to know Him.

Okay, guess I'm not at a loss for words, afterall :) That's such a precious picture! Praying for you, Karen!

Anonymous said...

These words of your Karen are God inspired!

I love this:

"But I know God is bigger than even our most intense pain, and He is convincing me that He longs to comfort us and pour His love out on His people whom He cherishes so intimately."

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

luvmy4sons said...

What a precious picture. I just love your heart sweet sister. I have always felt, thanks to a Pastor years ago, that we assume a fact when we ask that question. We assume the things happening are "bad" and we assume people are "good". A better question would be, "Why do good things happen to bad people?" Satan is the god of this world. Anything good that happens is because of God. AND we are finite. We cannot see the beginning from the end. Somtimes what would initially appear to be bad is good. I think we heard several stories like that on 9-11...people with mishaps that seemed bad but THAT is what kepth them from being in those Towers. Only God can judge what is good and what is bad....we must rest in His ability to work all things together for good for us! Blessings to you sister!

Melanie Dorsey said...

I'm enjoying your blog!

Dakota's Mom said...

Timely as always! Just yesterday I was doing the "Why does this have to be so hard?" thing. How great it is when we can hear (and/or feel) God answer our tears. Lately He keeps reminding me everything else He's gotten me through to this point, reassuring me He will get me through this day too. Love and prayers, friend.

Proverbs 27:19 said...

I agree with you Karen about the hard times bringing you closer to God, bringing two people closer and so forth.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I think you did justice to the question. I know that in my times of struggle (and I say that tenderly knowing that there are countless others who understand the depths of that word more profoundly than me), I've been more in touch with God. More held. More real. More exposed. More intimate. And while I don't often wish for the "rough" I always want for the intimacy that it produces with my God. It could go either way, and does so for believers and non-believers alike. I am currently dealing with a situation where a family is having a very difficult time in coming to terms with the "road" their having to walk. God is taking the brunt of their frustration and anger; I am convinced he can handle it. Still and yet, I wonder how to give words and truth to a situation I've never walked nor ever hope to.

Love the picture. Love your thoughts. Have a great week!


KarenW said...

Oh, you are so right! All three of my kids are sick today. I can really relate to that analogy.

Precious picture!

Anonymous said...

Karen my comment to this post is under the Psalm post. :)

I really have been enjoying your blog and also your supporting comments! Thank you!