Why do bad things happen to good people? Ever heard this age-old question? To answer it correctly, you would first need to define the term, “good.” What I define as being good most likely differs from your definition. And what defines the term “bad” for you? That would differ from my definition as well. Is it sickness, disobedience, physical deformities, rebelliousness? But to keep from delving into a winded twelve part series on the subject, let’s just agree that regardless of the definitions, it often feels like life takes a crap on decent people and our existence slowly begins to resemble a journey of frequent unfairness.
Here’s the simple truth when it comes to good & bad, human beings; their value and worth, and our relationship to God within this ambiguous dynamic: “Bad things happen to good people because life is not fair by any stretch of the imagination…and life is a violent struggle, from the moment of our birth to the last painful dying breath. Gravity is a perfect example of what I’m describing. In order to walk upright upon the earth human beings must resist, often painfully, this natural law every second of every day, and to not resist the law of gravity is also painful. That is just the cold hard truth… and God still wants to use us anyway.”
God specializes in taking us from Tragedy to Triumph. He is highly skilled in taking our pain and turning it into purpose. He takes our messes and turns them into ministries.
God has built us; created us to withstand the cumbersome storms of life, and to dance in the stinging black rain of pain. But if we are stuck in the mindset that being pooped on is unfair, we can never achieve “Spiritual Ninja” status. If we believe that messing up disqualifies us from ministry, or from being loved by God, we have lost the fight before we have entered the ring.
There is this notion that when bad things happen to us, God is to blame; it’s because we have become a disappointment to God, or perhaps He is punishing us for disobeying Him… and it’s at that point that we look at ourselves as failures; damaged goods, unusable, throw-aways; unworthy of God’s gifts and callings & love.
Well, I’ve got encouraging news for ya… In Isaiah 55:8-9, God says this…
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror, or look at where you are in life and think its hopeless? Do you think that God couldn’t possibly use somebody like you??
Do you ever find yourself wondering how God could even love a mess like you? I used to wonder that about myself all the time. After all, God only uses extraordinary people, men and women completely devoted to Him and unwavering in their Christian walk… right?
Well, consider this: God never calls the qualified, He qualifies the called. Think about that…
God doesn’t wait for us to get our acts together before He decides to use us for His glory. If that were the case He certainly would not have used these individuals…
Take Moses for instance… did you know that Moses had a stuttering problem? It was so pronounced that God appointed Aaron to speak for him.
The question is, why didn’t God just pass the responsibilities over to Aaron and have him part the Red Sea?
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God was going to use Moses despite his character flaws, and human frailties. When God calls you, He’s never going to settle for your best friend.
Consider the woman, Rahab… she was a prostitute in the walled city of Jericho. But because she was kind to the spies from Israel, and helped them evade capture, God blessed her and her entire family and no harm came to them when Israel captured Jericho. Rahab was a whore. Do ya suppose she suddenly became a shopkeeper the day after the spies left?? I doubt it, but God used Rahab because Rahab was willing to be used.
Check out David… God made this profound statement about David: “David is a man after my own heart.” Acts 13:22. Yet David was a cold blooded murderer, an adulterer, a robber & pillager, and a scoundrel. David was ruthless, but every time He got sideways with God, he never ran from God like modern Christians like to do today. David ran to God, and confessed, repented, and stayed in position for the next mission God was going to send him on.
Consider Peter… a very salty, sarcastic, rough guy to say the least. Peter carried a sword everywhere he went and wasn’t hesitant in using it. Peter spent over 3 years with the Lord, walking with Him ministering with Him, witnessing His miracles, and Peter still denied knowing Jesus…three times to be exact, the last denial being filled with curses. And after the Lord’s resurrection, Jesus appointed Peter, of all people, as the head of the first Christian Church.
I can name several more people that should have never been used by God, but suffice it to say, these people suffered from the very same disease you and I are afflicted with… Sin. We often think that because people like Moses and David are in the bible, they must’ve been different than us. No, as a matter of fact, they are just like us. What they did that set them apart was simple: They did not refuse to be used. God called them, and despite their physical and spiritual deficiencies, they stepped up to the plate. They let God use them, even when they felt totally unworthy & unqualified.
We are being called today in like manner. God is wanting to use each one of us to accomplish His will. Will we let Him? Or will we continue to look at self, believe lies, and keep ourselves off the field. Aren’t you tired of being a benchwarmer? I certainly am! Granted, we may never have our names immortalized in best-selling books, but we can still affect the lives of others just the same as the Biblical characters of old.
Can we take our eyes off of self long enough so that God can use us? Definitely, bad things have happened to us, it would be ludicrous to deny that fact, and those harmful experiences can make us feel unusable… but God wants to use us anyway. And if God wants to use us, knowing who we are, what we’ve done, and what’s been done to us…who are we to say no? It’s time we get over ourselves.
Will you let Him use you today? Yes, you.