Why do bad things happen to good people? Perspective Number One is: We deserve separation from God. Due to our sin, each of us has forged a gap in our connection with God (see Isaiah 59:2). The Apostle Paul taught: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). From that perspective, none of us deserve anything eternally good. However, God’s gift of abundant life in Christ allows us to experience eternal intimacy with Him, regardless of our circumstances: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). In this verse, Paul juxtaposed three sets of words: wages and gift, sin and God, death and life. We have earned death from our sin, but God offers us the gift of life in Christ. When we surrender our lives to Him, we receive His atonement of our sin, and He bridges our gap.
God does not promise a life free of trouble; however, He does promise to walk through that trouble with us. No one has suffered any greater pain than Jesus Christ, so He understands what we are going through (see Hebrews 4:15). “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and from that love He creates. God has decided that everyone should have the opportunity to come to repentance, which is why He continues to create people in this world (see 2 Peter 3:9). His kindness is what leads us to that relationship with Him (see Romans 2:4). Jesus Christ came to earth proclaiming one basic message: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God is His divine reign, rule, and order on this earth now and in the future. Jesus Christ demonstrated with ultimate clarity that His kingdom can enter the human heart amidst any circumstance. We are called to view life through this grid.
The Apostle Paul discovered the secret to enduring trials and tribulations: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13). Paul understood that Christ had walked through every circumstance with him, providing the daily restoration of his soul.
Do not blame God for bad things that come your way; rather, trust in Him. Realize He walks through every moment of suffering with you, and He works it out for good, shaping you to become more like Christ (see Romans 8:28-29), deepening your intimacy with Him. This week, memorize Philippians 4:12-13 and recite it each day, thanking Jesus for bridging your gap with the cross.