Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Job, from the Bible, lived in the land of Uz with his dog Toto and girlfriend Dorothy.

Okay, he was married and I’m not really sure what his wife’s name was. He could have had a dog called Toto, I see no proof against it!

Seriously, we read in Job 1 & 2 that Job was a faithful follower of God. He sacrificed burnt offerings (Old Testament before Jesus) for his kids after a week of feasting just in case they sinned against God.

Subsequently, when Satan visits God with a number of other angels, God points out how proud he is of Job. Satan taunts God with, “You’ve protected him and hedged him in, no wonder he worships you”.

God, knowing full-well what he’s doing says, “Fine, you have control over everything he has, just keep your hands off of him.”

Satan goes out from God and kills Job’s kids, animals, and servants all in one day. Job tears his clothing in grief, but does not curse God – he does not sin after all that has happened.

Later on, the angels come to visit God, satan tags along, and taunts God again. “Sure he didn’t sin, but strike his flesh, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

“Fine,” says God, “Do what you want, but spare his life.”

Satan goes out from God and inflicts Job with a terrible skin disease. Job cries out, but still does not sin against God. He is mighty upset, often wishing for death or worse, to not even be born, but he does not sin against God even after his wife tells him to “curse God and die”.

Eventually, God heals Job and blesses the latter half of his life more than the first. He has twice the number of children, animals, and slaves, and the most beautiful daughters in the land. He is rich beyond compare, and is allowed to see his great great grandchildren (to the fourth generation).

Nice story. Lots of bad things happened, but how does it affect us?

Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

  • Ever wonder why Satan did not kill Job’s wife the first time through? Do you suppose he knew how she felt about God?
  • Who was responsible for all of the death and destruction? Yes God allowed it, but who actually carried it out? Before we blame God, maybe we should look at his adversary instead?
  • If Job wasn’t being punished for sins, why did all the bad stuff happen to him anyway? Maybe to train us. Maybe to train his friends. Maybe to train Job himself. Or perhaps all three.
  • Notice that God still had control: “You may do [blank]…but you have [x] limit!”
  • Notice that Satan has control over weather (fire from heaven), human minds (Sabbeans), and human bodies (illness). These are all realms where Satan can, and does, attack his victims regularly – even to this day.
  • Job remained faithful to God, what were the results?

I had a two kittens while going to university. Upon my return home from school most days, I would find the livingroom in disarray – oh, they were troublemakers to be sure.

In the evenings during the winter, I had a wood stove in the livingroom to keep warm while I watched television and studied. The cats constnantly wanted to jump on the stove.

I would stop them, because I knew they would be burned, until one evening I had had enough. “Fine,” I mumbled to myself, “You want to jump up on the stove? Go right ahead, but you’re going to get burned.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved my cats, but they insisted on learning the hard way. Sure enough, one of them climbed up onto my lap, clawed there way up my chest, onto the back of the chair, and perched behind my head staring intently at the stove.

A couple of seconds later; LEAP. LAND. SCRATCH, SCRATCH, SCRATCH. TUMBLE. SPLAT!

The kitten ended down on the floor shaking his head and paws, looking back at the stove as if to say, “Woah! I’m never doing that again!”

To be honest, really, was it not the kitten that ultimately made the choice to jump on the hot stove? Who really was responsible for the pain?

Regardless, I allowed him to experience pain, knowing I could rescue him if needed, so that he would not experience greater pain later on.

Suppose God has ever let something bad like that happen to you or someone you know during your lifetime?

Forest Gump is a wonderful movie on so many levels. One of my favorite parts (spoiler alert!) is when crotchety Lt. Dan takes Forest up on the offer of becoming a shrimp boat captain.

Competition is fierce. The only thing they catch at the beginning of their venture are old boots and other garbage. One day, a hurricane-type storm blows in, tossing the ship to and fro. We are shown Lt. Dan shaking his fist at God, taunting Him with, “Is this all you got? Come on, bring it on!”. The winds blow, the rain pelts, but the two fishermen do not give up.

After the storm subsides, Forest and Lt. Dan return to shore to find their competition utterly destroyed. Boats are strewn everywhere. The only remaining shrimp boat is operated by Forest Gump and Lt. Dan.

Now every time they let their nets down and haul them back up, ten tons of shrimp are dumped on to the deck (that might be an exaggeration. I’m an author, not a fisherman). God certainly did make them fishers of…well…shrimp.

Regardless, a couple thoughts popped into my mind in relation to the topic of discussion:

First, God can handle our temper tantrums, even when they are directed at him.

Second, God specifically brought a storm into the lives of Lt. Dan and Forest Gump, not because they were being punished necessarily, but because he had something greater in store for them.

Being a father of two boys, I now understand many of the methods Dad used to teach me growing up.

I believe God uses examples from my childhood and parenthood to help me understand and explain his methods of child-rearing.

Two points I hope you take away from this article are:
1) God’s ways have reason that we can sometimes understand
2) God has a plan in mind when we go through tough times

There is a reason for your pain, which you may never know about.

The important thing is that you trust God and have faith in Him.

pboone

I am a husband, father, grandfather, business owner, farmer, and deep thinker. I love helping people, having deep conversations, and being around great people.

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