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  • Writer's pictureJanette Johnson Melson

How Does a Loving God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

Bible with praying hands. Answers to how God allows bad things to happen to good people can be found in His Holy Word.

I haven’t posted to my blog in a year because I’ve been busy editing. But it’s been on my mind to restart posting. Several years ago, I began the blog post you’re about to read. It wasn’t for a blog at that time because I didn’t have one. It was just a topic I had been thinking about, and I decided to put my thoughts on paper (which, as an author, is a common habit.) The funny thing is that our preacher spoke on this subject recently. And later that day when I read through my future blog post ideas, this article caught my eye. Coincidence? If you know me at all, you already know the answer to that. No!!! I believe in Providence much more than I believe in coincidence. (Janice, a writer friend of mine, calls these God-incidences, and I love that.) So, here are my thoughts on an age-old question which nonbelievers ask believers.

How can a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people? First of all, we have to remember that in God’s eyes, not one of us is truly good. Yes, by human standards, some of us seem to be “more good” than others. But in God’s eyes, we all fall short of His glory. Does that make Him egotistical? No. God is ultimate truth, ultimate goodness, ultimate power, ultimate knowledge, ultimate humility. He just knows what He knows. And what He knows is, on our own, we will never measure up. However, He wants us to keep trying anyway. The amount of effort we put into trying to be who God wants us to be has a direct correlation to the kind of person we are.

Second, Earth may have initially been intended as a secondary Paradise. But since the fall of Adam and Eve, it has not been. In fact, the non-human elements of creation, including animals and the earth itself, were also changed by the fall of man and the ensuing curse. (For an interesting read on this topic, click here ( Being human and not God, I don’t fully understand how it works. But being a believer in the Holy Word, I can read it and know that this is true. So, since the fall of man, we are not only destined to die, but we are destined to spend eternity in hell—every last one of us, no matter how “good” we are. It is only through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, that we are provided a way out of that destiny and given the chance to spend eternity with God instead. (I love how Jeremiah Mensah explains it in this video: (

I feel the same reasoning can be used to explain how bad things happen to good people. When God created us, He gave us free choice. He didn’t want robots who would blindly follow Him. He wanted us to choose to follow Him. Unfortunately, that free choice led to our ultimate downfall when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But God provided a way out from that, too, by giving us the chance to choose Jesus. So, do bad things happen to good people? Yes. The bad choices of those around us and even our own bad choices can harm us. But there are also times when God intervenes and saves us from those bad choices, preventing us from having to suffer the consequences. The problem for our human understanding is that, for whatever reason, He seems to intervene in some situations and not in others.

What we have to remember is that God sees the whole picture, while we see only our tiny corner of it. And He does what is best for all of humanity, not just what is best for us and our loved ones. It is not always easy to trust, but that is what it comes down to. And in our Christian world, that is known as faith. Google’s English dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” If I have faith that God is doing what is best in the good times, then I also have to have that same level of faith in the bad times. I’m not saying that’s easy. I’m just saying that’s the way it has to be. It is impossible for God to answer all of our prayers in the affirmative. For an easy explanation of why, watch Bruce Almighty. I am not always a Jim Carrey fan. As a Christian, though, I love that movie because I think it explains Biblical truths in a way that the common man can understand. The particular scene I am describing is where Bruce is going crazy because he can hear all the prayers of everyone in the world. So, he decides to answer yes to every prayer, which is impossible, and disaster ensues. The simplest example of this is two baseball teams, and each team is praying for a win for very good reasons. It is impossible for both sides to win the game.

When bad things happen to good people, especially to innocent children, it can try our faith. And I guess by not preventing them in the first place, that means that God allows it. But I don’t believe “everything happens for a reason.” I believe some things happen just because we live in a fallen world, but I believe God’s promise is that He can produce good results from horrible consequences. For example, do I believe that God can give someone a tumor? Yes. Do I believe that every tumor comes from God? No. Do I believe that He can cure every tumor? Yes. Then why doesn’t He? Because there’s a good reason why it shouldn’t be cured. And I have to accept that and have faith in God’s overall goodness. I would rather believe in a God who works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) than to believe any of the other options:

1. There is no God, and everything is random. There is no one out there who can answer our prayers or help us in any way.

2. There is a God, but He doesn’t care about us and chooses not to intervene or help us in any way.

3. There is a God, and He intentionally harms us and derives pleasure in doing so. (This isn’t even an actual option as far as I’m concerned because there are way too many good and beautiful things in this life.)

Have faith, my friends, and believe in God’s goodness and His love for you.

P.S. After I wrote the first draft of this, I started editing chapter fourteen of my novel, which I haven’t read in more than a year. And you won’t believe what topic the preacher’s sermon is on. Yes, the very one you just read. Here is the final quote of that sermon from the novel. “Keep the faith, and do your best, and God’s grace and mercy will handle the rest.” Love you!

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