Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Good Things Happen to Bad People

As the flood waters begin to recede here in Colorado we're going to start to hear it as sure as we heard it during the wild fires over the past couple of years. But as Christians we'll all hear it over and over and over, sometimes in tearful frustration, and sometimes from smug atheists who think they have you in a theological paradox "If God is supposedly so loving how can He allow bad things to happen to good people?" Most of the time this is answered with kind of a theological attempt at "Well, this is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology. God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Why should human beings (not eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent) expect to be able to fully understand God’s ways?" (Source)

That's a good answer, but not the best one. There's several right answers but the most correct answer for this question was uttered by R. C. Sproul:
"Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once, and he volunteered for it."
The bible makes it abundantly clear, there are no good people,
10 as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one11 There is none who understandsThere is none who seeks for God12 All have turned aside, together they have become uselessThere is none who does goodThere is not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
Paul is quoting Psalms 14:1-3 and Psalms 53:1-3 which is saying here that all men are evil, and that not only to we fail to live up to God's standards, we don't even understand them, nor do we reach out to God. This ignorance is not from a lack of opportunity but as an act of rebellion against God. Instead we reach out to imaginary manifestations of our own idea of what God is through false religions thereby compounding the problem. We have turned away from God, ran from Him and His divine nature to persue our own selfish desires. The only time we turn to God is when something bad happens. No one is good, none, even Christ Jesus said it, and He said it in a way that included even Himself: 
19 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19)
That's little comfort to the grieving widow, or the father holding the lifeless child, or the family standing on the roof of their house as its being battered by floodwaters. This is why we as Christians must be familiar with the most positive answer and concentrate on God's love in a fallen world to help comfort them, as well as familiar with the right answer to answer the cult of atheism when they demand answers.

However in the end, the question "Why does a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?" is an incorrect question because there are no good people. The proper question is "Why does a holy, righteous God allow good things to happen to bad people?"

First of all God never intended for us to suffer, suffering began when sin entered into the world (Genesis 3:1-13) and the consequences of sin immediately followed (Genesis 3:16-19), we brought this on ourselves when we turned our back on God, so what compulsion does God have to treat us well? Only His love for us prevents Him to keep from crushing us all, right now, like so many bugs. And any relief He can give us from the pains of living in this fallen world are a blessing indeed, but we must keep in mind that the suffering we live with is His to use too.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
It's easy to comprehend that God uses all things to work together for good, but when you think about it, you then realize that "all things" include pain, suffering, and tragedy it's really hard to understand just what is going on. How can God use such negative things for good? C. S. Lewis watched his beloved wife die in agony from cancer had this to say:
"But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
God wants us to turn to Him for strength and succor, but sometimes we need a nudge and sometimes we need a swift boot in the rear to be reminded of our purpose to return to Him and lead the best possible life on earth. The pain from an injection accompanies the administration of an antibiotic is there to prevent a future full of suffering from a disease, so to the pain of a loss here on earth will prevent far far greater suffering later. Unfortunately we don't like taking our medicine, I personally dislike pain greatly because, to be frank, pain hurts. I would be much happier here on earth if God found a more delightful way to get his point across. C. S. Lewis addressed this too;
We want, in fact, not so much a Father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, "liked to see young people enjoying themselves" and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, "a good time was had by all."
I've heard people complain that God is playing with us and he really doesn't understand pain like we do. God watched as we turned our back on Him over and over and over throughout history, but still He loved us so much that He sacrificed His only son in the most brutal and painful way, and being with the son He felt everything Jesus did, just so that we may join with Him in heaven. I'm pretty sure God understands pain a whole lot more than we do.

Yes, good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to those that seem undeserving of them, and God allows these things to happen for His reasons, not ours. It may be hard to remember but God is good, loving, merciful, just, and above all He is Holy Holy Holy. Trust in your heart when bad things happen (Proverbs 3:5-6) and it may be really really hard to remember, but just as when good things happen, give thanks to Him when bad things happen too
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

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