Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen To Good People

I don’t know if there is an answer to this question but I sure have been asked a lot recently. The beauty in being asked this question is folks think you have an answer, as if you’re so close to God that He has revealed super secrets to an elite few and you are in that number. Either that or they are trying to make you answer a question you can’t and then they’ll belittle you for supposedly knowing God but don’t know anything about him.

The other morning, I sat on some steps outside my room at a retreat I attended and read this Psalm. In it, I found a nugget that helps me understand a little more about God allowing us to feel pain or experience hurt as if we are being punished for something.

Psalm 66:8-12

Praise our God, all peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

A few things I took away from this.

1. It’s Him who keeps us from falling, allows us to be tested then returns us to greater life.

God, in His power, possesses the ability to let us walk on water, then at the appropriate time, allow us to begin to sink, yet when He rescues us from that detrimental moment, he gives us a greater life that is better than before simply because we realize we are in need of a savior and He is that savior that won’t let us slip into the abyss when it feels like there is no rescue in sight. This allows us to live a life with assurance that if we fall we know He is there to save. A better life doesn’t mean a safer, financially fit life with no worries. It means no matter that circumstance, I am in good hands.

2. God allows us to understand hurt so that through Him, we can understand true love. 

I’ve often said that without pain, we’d have no idea of what joy is. If everything is awesome then nothing is awesome. God allows pain in our lives so that we’ll understand what and where good comes from. He’s not the one who is causing the pain, he just allows it so that we’d know that without Him, it could be worse and with Him, we have joy (not to be confused with an emotional happiness). Pain refines us, it brings the impurities to the top and purifies who we have the potential to be. Pain is not a bad thing, however when we think it comes from someone we thought loves us, then it tends to crush us and we begin to question that love. God is love and defines what love is. If He allows pain, He has something far better in store when we come out on the other side.

3. Not running from God through our pain means He’ll bring us into a place of abundance.

Admit it, we don’t like pain and when we see it we run from it. We run to alcohol, porn, video games, friends, etc. We want advice, explanations, control, or simply the absence of it. We don’t understand that crisis creates character. We want the benefits of miracles without the moment needing a miracle. Pain actually helps us become a greater person. It actually gives us a life of abundance.Running from pain is running from a better you! When we stay and fight through the pain, we come out on the other end, sure with a few scars, but those scars make us stronger and they have a story that helps others when they are experiencing similar pain. Through it all, God is the one who sees us hurt and brings us through to a place of abundance.

4. God is in control, we aren’t.

Ultimately, God is sovereign. God knows all (omniscient) and has the power to control everything. Therefore, when we experience pain, it’s only though Him that we can survive it. He has the power to control weather, overcome death, stop time, create the seen and unseen, heal the broken and hurt, raise the dead to life and practically make the world go ’round. We don’t! He is in control and when we come to this realization, then when we experience pain, we can know that He has something better in store when we come out on the other side.


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

One Response to Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen To Good People

  1. Number 3 made me thibk of Romans 5:3-5.

    Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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