Why Do Good People Suffer PDF Print E-mail
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Q: Why do good people suffer?

Why all the suffering in the world? Three big questions here. One is - Why me? What have I done to deserve this?

Our pastor is a wonderful, kind, faithful man, who has spent his whole life serving God. Recently his lovely wife got Alzheimer's, and died a slow, lingering death before his eyes. Where's the justice in that? What was God thinking of? She was a good woman!

When terrible things happen, your Christian friends are not always helpful.

"Oh well, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" doesn't help much, does it? Or "Ah, the Lord sent this to teach you something". Or "Well, it's probably your lack of faith". In the Bible, Job didn't find these helpful either.

A Jewish Rabbi wrote a book called "When bad things happen to good people". It's beautifully written and moving, but his final answer seems to be that you can't expect God to do EVERYTHING - He's so busy.
Doesn't help much either.

Let's approach the question from two angles - first commonsense, and then the Bible.

First, a question. Are you FREE to pay your income tax? Do you have free will?

Imagine a "just" world. Only unbelievers get sick, 'cos believers just go to church and pray for healing and they're fine. Only evil people die in car crashes - the good pray, and God spares them. Only materialists' children are born deformed - God sends his worshippers perfect babies. That's fair, right?


But would anyone in that world have free will - freedom to believe and follow God, or to refuse? ... It would be like income tax, wouldn't it - you CAN refuse, but you sure will be in trouble! So that "just" world would be populated by slaves: do what your Master says, or be punished.

Maybe that's not what God wanted to create? Maybe free will MUST allow injustice? The Bible adds an extra truth - a very unfashionable one but still true.
The world is not only fallen and evil - the evil in the world is organized! It has purpose, intelligence, deviousness. It works against us, trying to bring us down and separate us from God. The Bible calls it a person, the "Enemy" or "Opponent" ('Satan' in Greek/Hebrew). Peter says at one point "Your enemy the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour".

You may not like to think of the Devil as a man (he certainly isn't), and we don't really think about spiritual Beings much these days. But
the Bible is quite clear. There is not just "residual chaos" in the world. There is active Evil, dogging us and tripping us up. We are in a war zone!

So yes, the Devil certainly attacks good people - perhaps more than anyone else. Discrediting the churches is an important part of his work. Ever notice how intensely the media report ANY sins by evangelists or priests?
Remember all those hymns about "Soldiers of Christ" and "Fight the good fight"? Our fathers knew all about this. It's not the Lord that taketh away - we're in a war zone! We are soldiers in a battle against evil, and yes there will be casualties. God loves us, and hates the suffering like we do. But He doesn't GIVE your son alcoholism, or SEND your grandson to be born deaf or blind. The Prince of this world does that.

But be of good cheer - the battle will be won! Peter says "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." And the Bible tells us one more thing. Paul says "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him". You suffer a bit now, but this is not to be compared with the amazing good things to come. And God will actually use the bad things now to make
good results for you in the future.

This is not just "pie in the sky". Look back at your own life, and you can actually see God working out things for good. Remember how upset you got at disasters in the past, when your desperate prayers just weren't answered like you wanted? And see what's happened since?

So Christianity does have an explanation for the injustice in the world. What if there's no God, no Creator, the world is a cosmic accident? Well, then there's no explanation at all. It's all random - why shouldn't bad things happen to good people? Which fits the facts better?

The GodOrNot Team.

(Click Next to see one reader's problem.)



0 # Guest 2010-01-29 05:33
I found the above paragraph - Imagine a "just" world - particular ly clear and helpful. The whole article makes sense.
0 # Guest 2010-06-06 16:51
I have a friend that lost her father when she was twelve due to heart failure during surgery to remove a non-cancer ous brain tumor.  she goes to church and everything but says she is on the edge of atheism because she doesnt understand why God didnt answer her prayers and heal her father. i try to talk to her but she says she doesnt want to talk about it because she is afraid it will ruin our friendship and she says that she would rather have me than God. and she doesnt want to talk about her fathers death. Please give me advice because she is very important to me and i want her to know that God hasnt forsaken her. Can you please give me advice?     J
+2 # Guest 2010-06-21 14:54
She has anger/grie f/unresolv ed issues and it might be that her anger towards God is easier and that anger is a familiar emotion that at least makes sense to feel rather than facing the pain of death and great lost that she cannot talk about and which does not make sense on 1 level from our limited perspectiv e. It may be misplaced anger, a shield from the pain.
when shes ready a trusted friend should hold her hand as she screams her anger out in pain and tears and prayer. if the pain is not let out on purpose, it will come out in other ways, not just anger towards God, overeating , trust issues that mess up her marriage etc, I pray she finds release from her great lost. My peace find you with a gentle kiss
+1 # Guest 2011-08-27 08:45
This is an old post, but a common question. I always wonder... when we tell someone about God, or "why bad things happen"... who are we really trying to convince?
+2 # National Discovery 2013-10-19 23:35
People suffer due to the spiritual law of nature. You can visit this blog more information.
-1 # guy laurent 2014-01-05 10:31
yes i have been reading when bad things
happen to good people but to me god is
when you do the right things and evil is
when you know you doing the wrong things
i study with the jehovah witness and true
all the things they teach i don't agree with god is there to help you live not
to heal you praise god he's the ultimate. :-)
-3 # Joe 2014-01-21 11:21
There is no god. :-|
0 # DLD 2014-01-25 17:11
Quoting Joe:
There is no god. :-|

Joe, do you have any evidence for this?

If you believe it for certain, without evidence, that's called "faith". Who gave you this faith?
-1 # Chris Kramer 2014-02-22 12:55
For me this isn't the reason at all of why good people suffer. Free will could then be looked at as a curse. It's as if God gave us a choice.... Free will with cancer and other diseases. Or slavery. Neither are great choices in my opinion. Tragedy and suffering is what Jesus went thru. He went thru this for the greater good. For the people. I believe when we face this suffering, when we see our loved ones suffer we are supposed to use this towards the greater good.
-1 # priscilla 2014-02-23 13:24
I was praying the night it happened. My son's girlfriend left him, took his two children, and told him he would never see them again. He had other problems but this was his biggest.

He loved the Lord and prayed on more than one occasion to be saved. He was 26 years old. He had threatened to take his life. I prayed for God's help and that His will be done.

My son shot himself in the chest and died. I'm just trying to understand why.
0 # Dave 2014-02-23 16:30
priscilla, so sad for your lost, making sense of your son taking his own life will never make sense, time will help you to "cope" we try to understand as understand ing can bring healing to some degree, did you son suffer with depression ? and was unable to cope with the breakup. His response to kill himself is not a good choice and makes me wonder if there were other issues at play. if depressed, mental illness, he was UNABLE to make a wise choice in handling the breakup. we are free will creatures even with the power to choose death over life and sometimes external forces, depression , make us make the wrong choice. Peace to you at this most difficult time.
+1 # nk 2014-02-23 16:31
To live a life in Christ, is to die a life with Christ...

If you should lose everything tommorrow, where will your heart be?

Does your heart thrive for the gifted substances of life; so much more than the gifter?

Is it not written that love is long-suffering?

It is read, that the things seen with the eyes are perishable , but the things that are unseen are forever.....

Only than in my suffering, have I realized what it meant to take up my cross and follow Him......
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-1 # Mehboob Alam 2014-08-08 19:45
Actually people do not suffer but suffering is a part of life. God abodes in the heart of man and as long as He does not knock man just ignores Him. When He knocks they call it "suffering ". Actually it is joy the fills the person.

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