There has been no objection raised more often to the Christian teachings and doctrine of God than the issue of suffering and evil. Everyone has wondered why bad things happen, why people must suffer, but very few have the correct understanding of what Scripture says on the topic. This isn’t a question unique to Christianity though, every worldview, every philosophy, every religion must provide an answer to this question, and I think you’ll find the true biblical answer is far different from what others will say.
Now I cannot guarantee you will like the biblical answer to the question, but my goal is not so much to say what you want to hear, but to speak the truth of the Word. The question is typically asked as, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why is it that good people have to suffer in this world? Why do innocent people starve to death all around the world each day? How could an all-loving God allow such things to happen? Now keep in mind, the question is always asked about innocent, good people, never has anyone (to my knowledge) asked: “Why did God let Hitler have such a rough ending to his life?” No one cares that Hitler suffered and ended up committing suicide. Everyone’s okay with that, because Hitler was a nasty individual who very few people see as being good. But Hitler aside, why do bad things happen to good people? How does the Bible answer that question? The answer goes something like this: bad things do not happen to good people. Pretty simple isn’t it? Here’s what the Bible says:
Romans 3:10: “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
When we look at the Biblical description of mankind, humans, it’s pretty clear that humans are wicked, that we are unrighteous, and that we are not good. THAT is the state of mankind, which means when you ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people”, you are assuming something that is contrary to what Scripture has told us. You are assuming people are good, which is biblically wrong. No one is good, we are all sinners and deserve to be judged by God and spend eternity separated from Him in hell, which means we are asking the wrong question.
The question should be “Why do good things happen to bad people?” After all, we are all sinners and deserve nothing good, yet God (despite our circumstance) has allowed us to experience love, beauty, peace, joy, etc. God has given us a free gift of salvation (which we don’t deserve) and a promise of eternity with Him. But the question is, why? The answer is also quite simple: the Bible says that God is love, that He loves us so much He came to die for our sins and provide a way for us to spend eternity with Him. But once again, this isn’t something we deserve, it’s a free gift that he has given us out of His love.
The Bible tells us that everything God made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no suffering or pain in God’s original plan until man decided to rebel against Him. We decided to sin, we decided to bring evil, suffering, and pain into this world by our actions. The Bible says that ALL have sinned (except Jesus Christ) and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all deserve bad things because of our sin and rebellion toward God. There is only one example of bad things happening to a good person – and He suffered them for you.
The only person who hasn’t sinned, who deserved no suffering (Jesus Christ) is the one who came and suffered on a cross so that we could be saved from the punishment we all deserve. If we repent and put our faith in Christ we also have the promise that suffering will not go on forever, that there will be an end to whatever pain we may find ourselves in. Revelation 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
But that’s still not the end, God went even further. God not only provides a way out of our suffering, but He uses the bad things that happen for good if we will trust Him! Romans 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.” It doesn’t mean everything is going to be good that happens; things happen in this life that hurt and cause us pain because we live in a world full of sin, but God has promised to use those things for good in the end. The question (“Why do bad things happen to good people?”) is raised to question the love of God, but when properly examined in the light of Scripture, it shows just how much God loves us.