This question has plagued humanity from the beginning of time. The mere existence of this question provokes the idea of a sort of measuring system for life all humans inherently understand and use.
As humans, we believe ‘people get what they deserve.’ We are people of fairness and judgment and karma; continually making assessments on people’s status, behavior and blessings, then determining if we agree with their circumstances or we believe them to be an injustice.
If we hear of a murderer killed, it touches us in a different way than if a church-going, loving husband, father of 3 was killed, even if the murderer was also a husband and father of 3.
We inherently believe in judgment and fairness.
What we can’t grasp is how to reconcile ‘good people dying;’ things that seem unfair or unjust.
So, we project this question onto God and assume a good God wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to good people. And we begin to doubt God’s goodness; the most commonly whispered lie of the Enemy. The lie that God is not good.
We trust what we believe to be good. So, if God isn’t good, He, of all beings with the most power and authority, cannot and should not be trusted.
But this is where the Enemy has convinced us to make wrong assumptions about God and encouraged us to believe that the most trustworthy, faithful Being in the Universe, cannot be trusted.
What we don’t understand is that good actions do not make us good people. We all deserve death. None of us are exempt, no matter how good we are.
Romans chapter 3 verse 23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And Romans chapter 6, verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death…” So, all of us, everyone one, we all deserve judgment and death, apart from anything good or bad we have done.
Sin came into the world in the Garden of Eden, after the creation of Adam and Eve. Sin was an act of rebellion against God; a mistrust of God’s character and nature. What we also struggle to grasp is the idea of grace; getting what we don’t deserve.
Grace for everyone who wants it. Grace cannot be based on behavior and actions; or it would fail to be grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward humanity. Not only does God extend grace, but mercy; not getting what we deserve, death.
The rest of Romans chapter 6, verse 23 says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God offers abundant, eternal life with Him to all who would accept it.
This is the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel. People don’t need to be told they are Sinners, they know they have not lived up to the standard they should have. What people need to be told is that there’s grace. There’s abundant life that comes through a relationship with Jesus, receiving forgiveness from the plague of sin.
It’s the goodness of God that saves us, not condemns us. God is good apart from any circumstance. The sacrifice of Jesus is proof of God’s goodness. If we come to a place of accepting our circumstances and believing in God’s goodness, it doesn’t mean that everything we go through is good and God views it as good.
It means that we trust in God’s goodness in the midst of our circumstances and trust in the promise of Romans, Chapter 8 verse 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”
When my family lost my brother and great-grandmother almost 20 years ago in a house fire; it was extremely difficult to handle. Everyone in my family was questioning God’s goodness.
I didn’t experience God’s goodness for myself until I realized that God was with me, with us. It’s not about what happened to me that was good or bad, but because God was with me, I could be at peace with what had happened.
For many years, I believed God had an attitude toward my family where He expected us to ‘suck up our pain and move on.’ Whenever I thought about Jesus, I saw Him with His arms crossed in the corner with a stale look on his face.
Then God changed my perspective. I was going through healing prayer and God took me to the room my family grieved in after the fire. I saw Jesus in the room with us and instead of a stale expression with arms crossed, I saw Jesus weeping. He was crying with my family. He chose to let His heart break with ours. I saw God’s compassion.
Although I would never voluntarily choose to walk into the circumstance of the fire, I would never trade my experience. The intimacy I gained with Jesus through the pain and suffering has transformed me forever.
It was through my pain and suffering I could clearly see the goodness of God. So, when confronted with hardship, pain and suffering, who will you trust? Will you blame God and walk away or will you embrace Him and let Him cry with you through the hurt?
-Laurinda Rapp (Pathfinders DTS school leader)
Written for Christian Today