Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do innocent people suffer?
You lost your spouse in an accident or sickness but many other wicked people still have their spouses and apparently, they don’t have any issues, family problems like your wife or husband went plotted against you and pulled your children on their side, police pulled you and gave you a ticket but not others and your child suffers but other children are ok and fine. Someone falsely reported against you and you were in a prison with no mistakes of your own and the list goes on and on. Now you think about whether God is truly in charge. Unfairness can eat away or destroy our faith. Many people left their churches because of some type of unfairness. You ask, why did this happen to me if God is with me? Why am I faced with the unfairness of life?[bctt tweet=”Why do bad things happen to good people? ” username=”sam2017insights”]
Unfairness has the potential to ruin your faith life.
As I said above, many people’s faith life was ruined because of some bad things happened in their life. The biggest challenge is unfairness has the potential to break your faith. When I survey the Bible, I can see few valuable examples of faith warriors who were faced with severe unfairness in their life. The list includes Job, Joseph, and Jesus Christ.
You see when we look back we can understand life is quite often unfair. Is there anyone who did not face unfairness? How many unfair things happened to you just in the last one year, one month, or even last one week? Someone cheated you, you lost your job when your colleagues still have their job, you were falsely accused, someone else took what belonged to you. Unfairness permeates our life. Why did God let it happen in my life? Therefore, it is important to have a Biblical understanding of this topic.
Some Examples of severe unfairness
In fact, Jesus faced more severe unfairness than any other Bible characters listed in the Bible. Next comes Joseph, Job, Jeremiah, etc.
Joseph was treated unfairly. His own brothers plotted against him to kill him by putting him in a pit (Genesis 37:18). Then they sat down to eat a meal (vs25). You see their own brother abandoned him in a pit that had bugs and creeping creatures. They did not care. They are enjoying their meal as if something good accomplished.
Bible says in Genesis 37 that Joseph’s brothers had severe jealousy of him and they hated him because their father Jacob favored Joseph out of all his twelve children. His father made a multi-colored beautiful cloth for him when his brothers did not get any special clothes. In addition, they hated Joseph because of his two dreams which he explained to all his brothers and father.
You see, his own brothers left Joseph to die in the pit. But a little bit later Judah said to other brothers it is not good to kill him. Let us sell him to Egyptian traders. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver. It is said that usually the price of a slave is thirty pieces of silver but their brothers sold Joseph with a deep discount. How cruel and evil were his brothers toward him? He ends up in Egypt as a slave. His legs were fastened and were placed in the slave market for sale. One of the officers of Pharoah, Potiphar, bought Joseph as his slave. A boy of seventeen years old, in his teenage time, is away from his loving father, family, and familiar circumstances. He ended up in a foreign land and became a slave to those who do not even speak his own language or have his culture. Was this not unfair? Yes, it was severe, hardcore unfairness for sure!
On top of that in Potiphar’s house, his wife had an eye on young Joseph and wanted him to lie with her. But Joseph refused her requests again and again. He said to her, “Look, My master has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). This young Joseph knew that sexual sins is a sin against God and that is why he refused and did not give himself to the daily temptations of her. Genesis 39:11-20 gives an account of the next unfairness that happened to him. One day while he was doing his work and none was inside the room, she caught him by his garment and said, “lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside the room. She got angry and called other men of the household and reported false accusations against Joseph. She said Joseph came to lie down with her and when she screamed he left his clothes and fled away. She said to her husband, Potiphar, and he placed Joseph in a prison. He ended up in jail for something he never did. How far can unfairness continue happening right?
But the Bible says in Genesis 39:21 this important statement, “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the sight of the jailer. The jailer put Joseph in charge of other prisoners.
While Joseph was in prison, something happened in Pharaoh’s palace. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker offended him somehow and he placed both of them in jail where Joseph was. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them. (Genesis 40). Joseph took care of them. Both the cupbearer and the baker had dreams on the same night. Their faces were so sad. Joseph asked them why their faces were down. They said we both had some type of dream and there is no one to interpret our dreams. Joseph said, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.” (Genesis 40:8). Joseph said the meaning of the dreams with the help of the living LORD in heaven and the dreams were fulfilled exactly as he interpreted. But when he interpreted the dreams, he also said to them, when all goes good with you, please remember me and get me out of this place because I have not done any wrong. The chief baker was hanged to death by Pharaoh and the chief cupbearer was restored to his office. Yet when all things went well for the chief cupbearer, he forgot about Joseph and did not remember him (Genesis 40:23). Another unfairness occurred to Joseph. Though he did good to the chief cupbearer, he did not remember him and forgot about him.
Finally, Pharaoh had a dream and there was no one to interpret his dream. At that time, the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and recommended his name to Pharaoh. Pharaoh invited Joseph into his palace and asked if he could interpret his dream. Joseph said, “it is not in me; “God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Joseph interpreted the meaning of the dream regarding a soon-approaching seven-year worldwide famine and also gave advice on how to prepare for the severe famine in advance. Pharaoh pursued divine spirit in Joseph and liked his interpretation and advice and consequently, he was elevated to the highest position in Egypt – only next to Pharaoh- as the top official in Egypt. When the famine occurred the people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe in all the earth. (41:57). His own aged father, Jacob, and his eleven brothers were brought to Egypt during this severe famine time and Joseph protected them from death so that the promise of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could continue to fulfill and a worldwide blessing could come from all these.
From the age of seventeen to the age of Thirty, Joseph had only unfairness one after another.
How did Joseph navigate through all these sequences of unfairness?
My question to you is this? What can we learn from Joseph’s life? In sequences of severe unfairness, how did he navigate through all this and came out victoriously on the other side? Joseph did not have Bible, the laws of Moses, he did not have Jesus’s teachings. When he faced the heartbreaking, stormy, fearful situations, again and again, how come all these unfair incidents did not break his faith in God? The only thing he had was seventeen years of life with Jacob his father in his home where his father loved him dearly. He heard the oral traditions from his father about God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and he knew God made a covenant with Abraham and reiterated the same promise and covenant with his father Jacob and his grandfather, Issac. I think he knew that there was a promise of a nation, land, and worldwide blessings God promised. (Genesis 12:1-3). This is all pretty much he knew. But that was enough for him to keep his faith and trust in God. But remember we have much more knowledge about this God today. We have the completed and full counsel of God in the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us as believers in Christ, we have a church, prayer groups praying for our problems and issues.
But Is this not the secret of Joseph’s success in the midst of unfairness?
Genesis 50:20 gives us the secret of facing unfair circumstances of our life. Joseph said to his brother, ” As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” let us discuss few points here.
1. God had a plan. Say this again and again to your own minds and hearts. God has a plan.
2. They meant evil for sure. When they did these heartbreaking things, they meant to destroy Joseph for sure. That was their intention. They hated and won’t speak to him any kind words.
3. Joseph had his share of mistakes as well. Apparently, he spied on his brothers by reporting bad things about them to his father, Jacob. Jacob used him as a spy agent to get reports about his brothers. (Genesis 37:2 (d) and 13-14). Plus he said to his brothers and father his dream by which he was saying they will one day bow down and worship him. How cool to say such things to brothers?
4. This is the important phrase, “But God”. But God used their evil plan to accomplish His beautiful plan. God in his sovereign power, overruled their evil and turned it into something good. God turned Joseph’s mistakes also into something good.
5. Do you know God was in charge of Joseph’s life? The same is true with you and me. God is in charge of our lives no matter what and He has a plan. God is a sovereign God and He accomplishes His plan in and through you no matter what people plot evil schemes against you. No matter what others do to destroy you, God can overrule all those evil things against you to fulfill His plan. hallelujah and Praise to God!
6. If you are a child of God, if you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, God can turn your mistakes and other people’s evil plans into something good for His ultimate glory. This is what Bible says in 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.”
7. If you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, Bible says you are made righteous on behalf of Christ’s merit, because of the shed blood of Christ. Bible says, “He (God) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have the right to stand before the holy God because of our faith and trust in Christ. God is the one who orders your steps because you belong to Him and you are His child. (Psalm 37:23)
8. God is not the author of evil. Bible says God is good and He will not tempt us to do any sin or evil. Instead, God gives all good things to us. (James 1:13-17). But God has final sovereign ruling over bad and evil things as well. He can overrule evil things and turn it into good to accomplish His ultimate perfect purpose.
9. The brothers sold Joseph to Egyptians as a slave, but God used that occasion and their evil plans to accomplish His perfect good plan of preserving His promise and covenant He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – to preserve the line of Abraham from the approaching worldwide famine and preserve the genealogy of Jesus Christ through the line of Judah to fulfill the unconditional covenant blessings promised. (Genesis 12:1-3).
Jesus the best case study of why bad things happen to good people and why do the innocent suffer.
Acts 4:27-28, the Bible says this about what happened to Jesus. It says there, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.’ They gathered together and implemented all their evil and wicked plans against the holy servant Jesus, who God appointed and predestined to occur for our salvation- a propitiation for all of our sins. The prophet Isaiah says this about Jesus in his Prophetic vision about 800 years before the incarnation of Jesus on to this earth, “Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds, we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
It says they thought Jesus was punished by God, stricken by God, and afflicted. But the truth was this – Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that granted our peace fell upon him. It is by the cross and his wounds that a child of God has salvation and entrance into heaven. In short, we are healed from our sin issues because of their evil and wicked place on Jesus. God, the Father turned around the story of Jesus’ death and burial into a marvelous resurrection on the third day. The empty tomb of Jesus is still in the land of Palestine in Jerusalem.
Acts 2:23-24 says, Jesus was handed over to them by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and they, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Slowly read these verses again and think about what happened of bad things that happened to Jesus. What happened out of his sufferings and death?
Beloved, the good God can do such a miracle in your unfair life circumstances as well. He is sovereign to accomplish the same in your life. Instead of getting bitter, angry, and frustrated, trust in the sovereign God and His perfect plan and wait patiently for Him. Understand God has a plan behind what is happening right now in your life. Life is hard but do you know this truth? God is good. If you are old enough I know you will say the same testimony, “but God”. How many bad things happened in your life, ‘but God’? How many people tried to ruin and destroy you, ‘but God’? How many times have you thought you are fallen faith, ‘but God’? You have gone through bitter and painful experiences in your life, but you still pray and go and worship the Lord. In the midst of your bad and evil incidents that occurred, God was there so far. He will be there in the future to navigate you through it all. In addition, Bible says there is the weight of glory waiting for you in the near future when Christ appears (2 Corinthians 4:17). The eternal weight of glory that God promised outweighs all our current afflictions.
If you have not accepted Christ as your savior as of yet, may I invite you to accept Jesus Christ as your savior now? God is granting this opportunity to come to Him in and through the name of Jesus Christ. Christ came to this world, died, buried, and risen again for your sins. You can successfully navigate your life in the midst of storms and unfairness if Christ is in your life. God loves you and wants to forgive all your sins, save you and grant you eternal life. Would you come to Him with a small prayer with me?
Pray after me: God, I know you love me. I know you sent Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, to die in my place for my sins. I believe Jesus died, buried, and risen again to make me your child. I accept Christ as my savior today. Please forgive my sins. I turn away from my sins in obedience to you. Please save me.”
If you prayed this prayer, with the authority of the Bible, I welcome you to God’s family now. You became a child of God and you belong to Him and God granted you eternal life now.
Please visit www.teachbible.org and go to the contact/prayer tab and send me a note. Thank you for doing that.