The Gospel Project: Bad Things


Daphne Nwobike, Editor: Virginia Bates

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23


If there is a God, then why do bad things happen to good people?


Many people use this question as a justification for their unbelief in Jesus. In their minds, there are too many instances of suffering in the world that a good God would never allow. From slavery to the holocaust to world wars one and two, if a God truly existed, these deadly events would have never occurred. Right? 


Firstly, we live in a fallen creation. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they gave sin and disease power over every man and woman to come. Cancer, poverty, death, murder, and many more calamities result from Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s commands. We live in a world where people delight in killing and raping others and where wars and sickness run rampant. We are born sinners and live as sinners. We delight in our sin, and because God is the opposite of sin, we hate Him. Many people—maybe even you—are unwilling to surrender their lives to Jesus because it means that they will have to cease telling lies, watching porn, and having premarital sex. As a result, they spurn Jesus and wallow in the filth that sin brings.

Secondly, we are not good people! Yes, we do good deeds, but that does not make us good. Dressing up as a boy does not make me a boy in the same way that doing good things does not make me a good person. “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Why would God, the holiest Being in the world, accept the good deeds of filthy sinners? He is too great for that. If a man rapes a girl and goes to donate toys to an orphanage, he is still a rapist that will earn jail time. Similarly, if I steal a shirt from a store and go to serve at a soup kitchen, God will judge me according to my sin, not my good deed. We are not good people; we are sinners who would like to convince ourselves otherwise. Whether we volunteer at homeless shelters every week or donate all that we have to the poor, as long as we have broken one of the ten commandments, we are sinners who deserve the pain and suffering that comes with disobedience. Therefore, when bad things happen, they happen to sinners,  not innocent people. For more about being good, read last week’s article here

Thirdly, we earned the bad things that happen to us. I know this sounds absurd, but it is true. We are workers of iniquity, meaning that we make our life’s job and purpose sinning against God. We would rather lie and steal than loving the God that made us. Because we work to sin against God in all that we do, our payment is death. Does that make sense? Because we have sinned against God, we obtain death and suffering as rewards.

Lastly, Jesus’s death on the cross is our source of hope when bad things happen. When you repent from your sins and give your life to Jesus, He will wash you from your sins. Jesus’s death broke our bondage to sin, meaning that when we trust in Jesus, we will be eager to flee from sin and to please Him by doing good things. Only then, when we have repented from sin, will God accept our good deeds. Jesus’s resurrection from the grave broke the chains of death from our lives. This means that when we surrender our lives to Jesus, even though our bodies will die on earth, our souls will live eternally in heaven. While we will not be exempt from pain and problems, we will have hope that Jesus is here to guide and protect us in times of trouble. We will have the reassurance that there is eternal life in heaven despite the trials and tribulations on earth. 

So, instead of shaking your fist at God for allowing bad things to happen, turn to Jesus, ask Him to forgive your sins, and turn from those sins. Then, and only then, will you have hope in times of suffering that are inevitable in this life. As sinners, when bad things happen, people get angry and depressed. As Christians, when bad things happen, people have hope and joy in their Savior who is with them even as they walk through the darkest valley of life (Psalm 23:4). God knows that we will experience issues every day, and He has offered Himself as our source of hope and peace. John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus is peace when life throws its curveballs, and we can only obtain His peace when we make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives.

Come back next week to learn more about the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions about God and why He is so significant, do not hesitate to email me at [email protected]. Remember, Jesus loves you!