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Christian Life

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Girl-praying-in-pew

Ladies, Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with the topic of suffering. Many wonder why a loving God would permit suffering in the world. Why would He allow pain and struggle?

It all begins with God’s gift to mankind: free will.

God is love. And God wants us all to love. But He wants us to choose love—He doesn’t want us to be forced to love Him. In order to choose love, we must have the choice to not love, and to not love comes from a place of darkness. To not love comes from a place that is not good. A place that is evil.

So, evil is the consequence of having free will. But why would God allow evil to come into the world?

Well, God can overcome evil. And even though Satan tries to work against God’s will, striving to direct people toward darkness, God offers a way out. But it’s up to us. We can choose Satan’s works or God’s will. And if we choose God, then He will strengthen us, because God is stronger and His strength can overcome any evil.

 

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

What does that mean? That suffering is good? Well, let’s consider the suffering of our Lord on the cross. He was beaten, abused, spat on and crucified. And yet, out of His passion, we were redeemed. Out of His suffering, the gates of Heaven were again open to us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

 

So, not only does suffering unite people to Jesus on the cross, but it also opens a way for good. Man causes the suffering, but if we call out to Him in prayer, God can take these horrific things and design an outcome that is good. How? Well, consider the following examples:

  • Elizabeth Smart was 14 when she was abducted from her house. For nine months, her kidnapper raped and abused her. She managed to escape. God didn’t cause the abduction. A serial pedophile did. But since that time, Elizabeth has worked as an advocate against sexual predators, submitting legislation, writing a book about her ordeal and starting a foundation in her name that focuses on educating children about violent and sexual crimes, among many other things.
  • 9/11 refers to the date when Islamic terrorists flew into two World Trade Center buildings and into the Pentagon. Another plane targeting Washington, D.C., was forced to the ground by passengers. Approximately 2,700 victims died, including firefighters. God didn’t cause the attack. The Islamic terrorists did. But the event brought people together as they helped and supported each other. The country was unified.

You see, in moments of tragedy, we often see people coming together to show love and support. We see those who have suffered using their suffering to help others. It’s not that God caused the pain so that people could come together. Rather, God is willing to bring good out of the situation for those who call out to Him in prayer. And through prayer, we can ask God to help us, not only to cope with the pain, but also to find a way to make something good come out of it.

Ladies, in moments of struggle, pain and suffering, some people blame God. But God didn’t cause the pain. Rather than blame Him, God wants us to look to Him for comfort and strength. And for those who love Him, He will make sure that the suffering “works for good.”

 

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)

Ladies, have you ever blamed God for suffering? Share your story—we so love to hear from you!

Contact me via social media for any questions, advice, prayer or just to say hello:
Facebook: facebook.com/TMGaouette
Twitter: @TMGaouette

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11 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by Iluvgodheart15 on August 31, 2015 at 06:51

    This definitely fits to my situation right now. My dad has cancer and I am struggling with the idea of why me? Now I know God can overcome it and make something good come out of it.

  2. bradylove44

    Posted by bradylove44 on May 6, 2015 at 03:14

    And also, if God is omniscient, then he knew Adam and Eve would fail and sin would enter the world. So then why did he create beings he knew would disobey him?

  3. bradylove44

    Posted by bradylove44 on May 5, 2015 at 18:34

    Hi tmgaouette, thank you very much for your response and your prayers, I know they are well-meant. I don’t mean to turn this into something about me, or me being angry at god or anything. Even if I didn’t have this kind of first-hand experience, I would still struggle with this concept.
    I do not personally believe in god, and therefore don’t believe the Adam and Eve story. But I really am interested in how Christians justify the existence of evil. I respect what you said about how Adam and Eve destroyed the perfect world we once had and that’s why we have natural disasters. But am I the only one who finds that punishment rather harsh? This is slightly off topic, but, why is what Adam and Eve did so bad? Curiosity is one of the most beautiful things about the human mind. Questioning things is how we come to better understand the world around us. To me, it sounds like before they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve were living in an extremely ignorant bliss. Which I’m not sure is necessarily a good thing… To me, it sounds like it ultimately just came down to curiosity. How is that something that deserves eternal punishment? Yes they disobeyed god, but humans naturally feel the need to question authority rather than always accept what we are told blindly. We question and push the limit of things, and if it ends badly, we learn from it. It’s like when a toddler is crawling around and wanting to experience everything this new world has to offer. The child’s parents may tell him that, for example, the stove is hot and it will burn him if he touches. To a lot of kids that warning would have little to no meaning, because they’ve never been burned before! And how do they really know that’s going to happen until they try it themselves. Out of curiosity, the kid touches the stove and gets burned, and from then on knows the stove is hot and does not touch it. The pain of being burnt is a lesson in of itself. The parent of the kid doesn’t then need to go on and constantly burn the child for the rest of its life because of one instance of disobedience. They don’t then force every generation after that to undergo eternal burning because of what someone before them did. It just seems like an irrational response to me….
    I’m sorry if my understanding of the Bible/the Adam and Eve story isn’t right, I wasn’t raised with the Bible and have yet to read it cover to cover, so I’m sure you guys know it better than me. So that’s why I’m asking 🙂
    Thanks again for your responses!

    • Groundhog

      Posted by Groundhog on May 8, 2015 at 21:06

      Hi again. Thank you for wording your comments really respectfully. I’m really sorry about your mom. I know you don’t believe in God, but I’m still praying for you and your family.

      From what I understand, the punishment wasn’t because they were curious, it was because they were disobedient. There are also many other things they could be curious about, such as genetics, so it’s not as if all curiosity would be crushed. God is perfect and holy, so He can’t be eternally with imperfect people. However, God offered a way out of punishment, namely Jesus. For those before Jesus was born, that’s what all the sacrifices in the Old Testament were for.

      I believe the natural urge to question authority is sin that came from the disobedience (unless the authorities are clearly going against what the Bible says, but God can’t contradict himself, so there would be no bad authorities needing to be questioned). The example is also pretty good, but it still would’ve been better for the kid to trust his/her parents. I’m actually not sure about the idea of blissful ignorance. I’ll have to check with that. I hope this helps!

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by TawnyMarie on May 4, 2015 at 18:52

    I completely understand the circumstances you put as far as the girl who was abducted and the 9/11 attacks, but what are we to think of natural disasters? Like floods for example? Does God allow floods to happen? Just from looking back to Genesis 7, we can see that God will cause floods to happen.

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by DivergentDistrict7Tribute on May 1, 2015 at 22:26

    I have- a lot. Once was actually after Newtown shooting happened. I was really angry at God because I thought he must not care about these kids if he was just willing to let them die. It’s gotten better since then though~

  6. bradylove44

    Posted by bradylove44 on May 1, 2015 at 16:36

    What about the terrible things that humans didn’t create or inflict? Things like diseases and cancer? I don’t see how those have anything to do with free will. We did not bring cancer upon ourselves. So as a consequence to giving us free will, God gives us incurable evils we have no control over?

    • patientlywaitingforGodsplan

      Posted by patientlywaitingforGodsplan on May 4, 2015 at 19:28

      So, it’s not necessarily because of “free will” that sin–and as a result, death and suffering– entered the world. Yes that factors into it but more importantly, sin and suffering entered when Adam and Eve chose to succumb to their own desires (think that God didn’t know best, in a way) and eat of the forbidden fruit. When the devil slithered up to Eve and said things such as would hopefully cause her to doubt God’s very words, she had a choice: either eat of the fruit and disobey God’s only commandment not to do something, or not eat of the fruit and remain in the center of God’s will. Adam had the choice to follow his wife’s example and partake of the forbidden fruit, or not take of it and, instead, set an example for her. When God made man first, he made him the head over the household. When Adam chose to follow his wife’s example, he then forfeited that role. Also, when Adam and Eve heard God’s voice in the garden, they hid from him out of guilt. They knew they had done wrong since their eyes were opened to good and evil. God then cast down punishment on them because they had disobeyed him. He made it so man would have to work to survive and woman would have pain in childbirth. The serpent would crawl upon the ground. However, the biggest consequence of their sin (or disobediance) is that death had now entered the earth. The whole of the universe was affected by this event. Because Adam and Eve were no longer perfect in their soul, their bodies could no longer be perfect. Thus, from that point their bodies would begin to disintegrate through the generations. Now, we have cancer (I know many struggle that with that) and other diseases.

      Sure this is not a comprehensive list of why we have suffering in the world but it’s what I could think of at this moment. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Groundhog

      Posted by Groundhog on May 2, 2015 at 18:25

      I believe it has to do with free will because of what happened when sin entered the world. When God created Adam, he saw his creation was “very good.” Jesus said God alone is good, so we must have been that good for God to say so. However, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin entered in and we are no longer sinless. By making that choice (out of free will), we can get stuff like cancer.
      A book called “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel also answers it quite nicely, as well as other faith issues. Reading Job is also great for encouragement.
      I hope this helped. God bless!

      • bradylove44

        Posted by bradylove44 on May 4, 2015 at 15:19

        Thank you very much for your response, I really appreciate it!
        But I don’t understand how that is a logical cause and effect… I could kind of understand if, because we have free will, you decide to do bad things with that free will that bad things would happen to you in return. But I don’t see that that is the case with uncontrollable evils, like natural disasters, or again, cancer. Sorry for fixating on that point, but it’s something that really bothers me. Because my mother has a cancer that she will die from and there’s nothing she can do about it, I have a hard time understanding how really bad things randomly happening to really good people can be justified by original sin.

      • tmgaouette

        Posted by tmgaouette on May 4, 2015 at 20:13

        Hi Ray, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I will pray for both of you. It is difficult to understand suffering and pain in a world created by a loving God. It’s true that when Adam and Eve sinned, they opened the door to evil, pain and suffering, and this includes sickness and disease. Eden was Heaven. It was a place where there was no sickness or pain and we could live forever. But Adam and Eve chose to sin against God and their sin put us in this world. It’s not easy to fathom, but we can only understand God so much. Our reason doesn’t reach His level of understanding. But don’t forget. God knows our suffering because He gave His only son. And during the passion of Jesus Christ, our savior experienced the ultimate pain and suffering. He was afraid and asked for the “cup to pass His lips,” and yet He was still willing to accept what was to come. And even on the cross, He called out to His Father, “Why have you forsaken me.” God sacrificed His only son for us, so even He knows what it means to suffer. But He also knew what was to come from that: our redemption. The gates of Heaven would be opened to us again. And in the event of suffering on earth, good can come from it if we call out to God as Jesus did. Remember, this is just the journey toward eternal life with God in heaven. Did man cause diseases and natural disasters? In the case of Adam and Eve, yes. But man has directly/indirectly caused diseases and natural disasters in other ways also. In the way that he/she lives their lives. We don’t take care of ourselves, smoking, drinking, immorality, drug use, stress, anxiety, are all disease causing culprits. Natural disasters are caused by the movement of the earth and temperature changes, but again it would be perfect if it were not for imperfection entering the world after Adam and Eve’s sin. I’m sorry this is a long, yet rushed response, but I want to answer your question the best I can. In regards to your mother, now is the time to spend with her in prayer. Please don’t be angry with God. He is your strength. Remember that after this imperfect world comes eternity in Heaven, and salvation comes to those who love God. Trust Him. You’re not always going to understand Him or His way, but “in everything God works for good with those who love Him.” God bless you, Ray. You and your mother are in my prayers. Blessings, TMG