I have been asked this question many times over the years. It is sometimes asked when someone loses his job, when an accident occurs that leaves one impaired or when financial hardship occurs. I hear it most when death comes calling and takes a precious loved one leaving a hole as big as Texas especially when the loved one lost is young.
The lyrics of one of our songs, “Farther Along,” answers the question as well as I think it can be answered. The lyrics tell how the worldly seem to prosper, while the righteous suffer. It talks about how death seems to take the good while the wicked not only live but thrive. The refrain gives the following insight: “Farther along we’ll know more about it, Farther along we’ll understand why; Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, We’ll understand it all by and by.”
We wonder why God does not answer our prayers. By that what we really mean is why does He not give us what we ask for. We pray for good things, the sick to be healed, our daily bread, a promotion or a new job, etc. God does not always answer in the affirmative. He has His reasons as He did with Paul. Paul had a thorn in the flesh that he asked God not once, not twice but three times to remove. 2 Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Adversity is not always a bad thing. It makes us recognize our dependence upon God. It makes us appreciate God. It keeps us from falling in love with the world and the stuff in this world. It keeps us focused on the big picture as it did Abraham. Heb. 11: 10 For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Solomon wisely observed that the things that should happen do not always happen. He also observed that things that should not happen sometimes do. Ec 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
All evil and adversity is ultimately a result or consequence of sin. When Adam sinned, he and Eve received curses which we also experience as a consequence of their sins. Gen. 3: 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: However, adversity and misfortune are often not the result of a sin of the one who suffers. John 9: 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
If I could impress upon you one thing, it would be this: Do not blame God. God is not the cause of our problems or our struggles. (Jas 1:13 ¶ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: ) Adam blamed Eve for his transgression but indirectly God. (Ge 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.) God wants only our good. He is not the problem but He is the solution. God has something much better in store for us if we are faithful. II Tim 4: 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. We cannot even imagine how grand it will be. 1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Adversity makes us appreciate blessings even more. Maybe instead of asking “Why?” we should ask when will we get to be with Him? The ultimate blessing is Heaven and Heaven will surely be worth it all!