Countless men, women and children throughout the ages have pondered and wrestled with the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Many have even become angry with God and turned away from Him, or suffered extreme depression because of tragic events. If you have lived life for any amount of time at all, you probably have encountered personally or have had individuals close to you experience difficult circumstances. But the difficult question to try and wrap your arms around is “Why do these events enter our lives?”
In order to answer this question correctly, one needs to consider perspective. From our vantage point, a situation might seem very tragic or unnecessary for us to endure. Why would a loving God allow so much pain, grief or suffering? Why would God permit the death of a loved one, abuse of a child or the loss of a job? Those situations are difficult to fathom, but God’s perspective is simply much different than ours. He sees the end from the beginning. He sees how a situation can actually produce great good for the person facing the test. A seemingly bad circumstance to us can actually turnout quite good in the end! Perspective makes all the difference in the world. The Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT). God does not ask us to figure everything out. Instead, He invites us to trust that He has the world in the palm of His hand and that His infinite power and wisdom are at work accomplishing His divine will, even if we feel like His plan is causing us to spin out of control. God reveals a powerful truth through the Prophet Isaiah: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT). God is telling us in this passage that He merely sees from a different perspective – a much broader, higher and all-encompassing one!
Nick Vujicic’s life is a remarkable testimony of how an individual had to learn to trust God when life did not make sense. Vujicic’s website tells the following story: “Born in 1982 in Brisbane, Australia, without any medical explanation or warning, Nicholas Vujicic came into the world with neither arms nor legs. Throughout his childhood, Nick dealt not only with the typical challenges of school and adolescence such as bullying and self-esteem issues, but also struggled with depression and loneliness. He constantly questioned why he was different than all the other kids surrounding him – why he was the one born without arms and legs. He wondered what the purpose behind his life was, or if he even had a purpose” (See www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/about-nick).
In an interview called Testimony “Nick Vujicic Extraordinary,” Vujicic revealed just how deep his depression and turmoil were on the inside of his heart. He kept asking the question, Why God, why? At this point, he felt like there was no hope, so he seriously contemplated committing suicide. He wanted to end his pain, but he was compelled by the love of his parents not to take his life. One day, his mother brought him an article about a severely handicapped man that God was using for great good in the earth. This article stirred faith up on the inside of him and brought hope to his soul. Shortly after reading the article, Vujicic read the passage in John 9 about a man that was born blind not because of his sin or his parents, but in order to display the miraculous healing power of God. God used that passage to penetrate Vujicic’s heart – melting his hurt and pain. He finally realized God had allowed his handicap to display His power. Vujicic understood on that day that God was asking him to trust Him by faith. Vujicic said, “yes” and at the age of fifteen he gave his life to Jesus Christ (See www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaIbym0hYtY&feature=related).
Today, Vujicic travels all over the world sharing a message of unending hope, faith and love in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to stadium filled audiences and wherever he is invited to speak. God allowed this difficulty in his life to ultimately teach him what really matters at the core of the human heart and prepare him to inspire others facing intimidating circumstances. The Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). God had a good plan for Vujicic; it just took looking at his life from a different vantage point to see it.
One might still ask why God allows evil at the expense of another human being, like being abused, robbed or even killed. How can that actually turn out good for us?
First off, God is not the author of sin or the evil that is present in the world. The Bible teaches us that Satan is an adversary to God and is in complete rebellion against His ways and everything good. The Word explains, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). He is the father of lies and is out to seek, kill and destroy mankind from experiencing the good plan God has for them (John 8:44, John 10:10).
We are actually in a cosmic battle of good verses evil. The Apostle Paul expounds, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). God warns us throughout Scripture that we have an enemy and he is out to destroy our lives and those around us. He is ever ready to deceive people into doing unthinkable evils.
God, on the other hand, promises to work all things out for our benefit. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT). It does not say He works only the beneficial things out for our good, but it says He works “all” things. This means even the negative junk that comes our way, God can redeem for His purpose! In other words, what the devil meant for our harm, God can turn around and use it for great good in the end, if we are willing to trust Him by faith and let Him direct our steps.
Joseph, a man in the Bible, went through extreme adversity for over 20 years. His very own brothers, out of hatred and jealousy, sold him into slavery to get rid of him once and for all. They even lied to their father telling him Joseph died by a wild animal attack. Just think, Joseph never got to say goodbye to his father, younger brother and friends. Yet in the midst of this great evil, the Bible records that God was with Joseph. “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master” (Genesis 39:1-2 NLT). Once again, evil befell Joseph. He was falsely accused of trying to rape his master’s wife and was thrown into prison, yet the Scriptures reveal that God was with him (Genesis 39:19-23). God did not remove the evil from Joseph’s life, but was with Him through it. Eventually, God promoted him into second in command of all of Egypt at just the right time.
Through his rocky journey, Joseph never let bitterness take root regardless of his troubles. Instead, he trusted that God had a good plan and had his best interests at heart. One day when his brothers came to get grain because of the famine in the land, Joseph revealed himself to them and said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And He is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:4-8 NLT).
God worked through this tragic situation in such a powerful way. He not only turned things around for Joseph in the end, but redeemed Joseph’s family in the process. Joseph was not revengeful, but forgave his brothers though he was in a position to harm them! He learned to look from God’s perspective through eyes of faith and not his carnal reasoning.
Joyce Meyer is another beautiful example of God working things out for great good in the end. Meyer stated on her ministry’s website, “During my childhood I was abused sexually, emotionally, verbally and physically” (See www.joycemeyer.org). She was molested repeatedly by her father growing up, which led to all kinds of problems with herself and her perception of others for many years. Eventually, she contemplated, “There has to be more to this Christian life than what I am experiencing.” At a rock bottom moment, she learned about relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to restore her broken soul. As Meyer began to trust and rely on God for help, He began to heal her from the inside out so she could offer assistance to others.
Now she has a worldwide ministry that helps millions of lives overcome the damaging effects of sin, abuse and a life of selfishness by teaching them practical principals from God’s Word on how to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Her ministry impacts untold numbers on a daily basis through her television and radio programs, conferences and humanitarian relief efforts. She is a true testimony that no matter how terrible one’s life starts out, with God, anyone can have a great finish!
Are you letting your past or present circumstances keep you from experiencing God’s very best? Maybe your perspective is a little skewed and you are not able to see God at work in your situation. Trust Him! He has a good plan and will work things out for you if you will let Him guide your life and lean on Him for help! He is a rewarder of those that faithfully seek after Him and will repay double for your trouble. He is inviting you to trust Him like Nick Vujicic, Joseph and Joyce Meyer learned to do. With His strength working in and through you, you can make it and become a great light for others to follow. The choice is yours.