Romans 3:12,23, Job 19:25-27
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Whenever I hear this question the Lutheran in me instinctively wants to respond “Aha! A trick question. There are no good people.” Because the Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “There is no one who does good, no not even one.” (Romans 3:12,23)
Yet the question still remains, perhaps it just needs to be rewarded a little bit. Why do bad things happen to Christians? To Christians who know and trust in Jesus as their Savior, who has already been punished for their sins on the cross.
The book of Job undertakes this very serious question: Why do bad things happen to Christians? Job’s friends think that they know the answer, that it’s because he must have done something wrong, some secret sin that he’s not revealing to them. However, Job knows that while he is a sinner, he hasn’t done anything specifically wrong in recent years to cause God to bring now this incredible judgment upon him, this suffering.
So he asked: why? God reveals to us the why in Scripture as he shows us that all of that: Job losing his house, losing his family, his property, his health even, was a testing of his faith. To reveal that Job’s faith was not a fair-weather faith based on God really blessing him because Job was faithful, but rather Job trusted in his God as the God of his salvation.
In fact I think the most striking thing about the book is that Job never finds out why all of these bad things happen. God never reveals it to him that this is a test of his faith. God simply appears before Job and tells him to trust him because he is the all-powerful, almighty, perfectly good and just God, place his faith in him as he always has.
God doesn’t always tell us why suffering occurs in our lives, sometimes it could be a testing of our faith, but he does direct us to trust in him at all times to know that his will for us is good so that even in suffering, with Job we might be able to say
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)