When suffering a tragedy or devastating loss of a loved one, grief and heartbreak makes us question the fairness of God. Here's why God allows bad things to happen to good people, and why God is still good.

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen To Good People?

I’m still in shock. It happened weeks ago and my mind still can’t bend around this tragedy.

I haven’t felt that it was my place to write about it until now. This tragedy, like the majority of those that happen in the world, doesn’t belong to me personally. Somehow it feels disrespectful to talk about it. Like I’m claiming grief I’m not entitled to. But when God calls me to write something, I must listen and obey no matter how reluctant I am or how awkward it feels.

When Death Is Unexpected

Death happens every single day. It happens when we least expect it and perhaps that’s what rocks our world so hard; when we’re totally unprepared.

I’ve lived through my fair share of death and loss and one irrefutable fact remains – death is a tragedy only for the living. Tragedy belongs solely to us, the survivors who must get up in the morning and question how the sun could keep shining when our world feels completely off its axis, like down should suddenly be up and day should now be night.

One day back in March I got on Facebook just like any other day to catch up my blog page and see what my family and friends were up to. Then I saw it – a post by a woman I consider my blogging mentor. She was devastated by the unexpected loss of a fellow blogger and good friend. I wondered who it could be. After a bit of internet digging, I uncovered who it was and my jaw hit the floor.

Loss of An Inspirational Christian Blogger

Mandy Kelly, blogger and owner of Worshipful Living, passed away along with her husband and two of their four children in a house fire. I struggled to understand this.

How God? How could this happen?

I had the opportunity to meet Mandy (well virtually anyway) in the beginning of my blogging career. I wrote a few articles for her blog and she was a very encouraging person. She was probably the most devout Christian I ever met. If she saw even a little bit of the light in my work that I saw in hers, then I felt encouraged to keep pursuing this calling of mine, even during those dark moments of self-doubt.

How could someone who loved the Lord so much and devoted her life to showing the world His love through her blog be taken so soon? She had just adopted a baby a year ago that she had been waiting on God to bless her with for a long time. She was young and she had so much love and encouragement left to share.

Is God Being Unfair?

The age-old question came to mind: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

So God has been hammering me with the answer ever since. You see, I’m not brave like Mandy. If this were a movie, I’d be what you’d call the reluctant hero; the one who doesn’t want to be a hero, but is shoved into a situation and happens to save the day. That’s me with my calling, always scared and reluctant so He’s really been repeating himself a lot so I get it.

The Answer To The Age-Old Question

Here it is: Why would good people, even Christians who love the Lord and do His work, be exempt from tragedy when Christ himself was not? Why would we continue to cling to the notion that tragedy and fairness have a correlation? How could Christ’s sacrifice not serve as the ultimate proof that no one is exempt from tragedy and suffering?

I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s because we cling to this notion of “fairness” like a security blanket. It’s threadbare and we are way too old for it and we know it has no real power to protect us, but we simply refuse to let it go, no matter how much God tries to coax it from our white-knuckled hands.

We are human. Our brains can’t comprehend that maybe down is up and night is actually day. Because we can’t explain everything and that makes us uncomfortable we create dichotomies to make it easier for us to grasp. Everything is either this way or that, never in between and certainly never both at the same time. So it makes sense that we can’t understand how God can let bad things happen and still love us at the same time.

God’s Definition of Fair

We grow up believing that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. While that helps to develop our character when we’re young, we come to believe this as an absolute; something we can count on. But everything God is and does is contrary to this notion. So some of us start to question whether God himself could be good if He doesn’t conform to this same set of standards.

We try to fit God into our definition of fair, rather than trying to understand His. For God, death is life and life is death. If you are a Christian, you believe that death is the beginning of eternity with our Savior, but death, especially a tragic one hurts to our core. It brings the question to our lips, though many Christians don’t want to say it out loud.

“How could God let this happen?”

Lord, I pray I’m doing your message justice when I write this. I hope I’m getting it right.

We have to stop trying to fit God into our limited understanding. We need to stop throwing him in the wash with our tattered “fairness blankie”. He is God and He is good and tragedy will still happen to good people. He loves us and we will still go through trials, heartbreak, and grief.

Why God MUST Come First

We continue to put our family before Him, until the very moment they are taken from our sight and then we have lost it all. He must be first. All Christians know this. God, then family.

Even still, we make idols of them. Every song we listen to says we can’t live without the objects of our Earthly love, yet too few songs talk about what it would be like to live without the love of our Heavenly Father. I know that song would be too hard to hear.

Every Day Is A Gift We Didn’t Earn & Aren’t Owed

Since I lost my dad at only 14 I walk a tightrope every day. I never forget that each day is a gift and that I’m not entitled to tomorrow, but I try not to live in fear that each day could be my last or, worse, the last for someone I love.

I never believe I am exempt from tragedy, but I try not to dwell in worry. Praying helps to remind me that every single day and every single breath is a gift I’m not entitled to.

Related Post: “9 Ways To Find Time To Pray When Life Gets Busy”

When I pray with my kids at night I always start the same way. “Lord thank you for this day…” This day, right now, that’s all we are sure of. It’s what I hold onto.

When we forget that each day is a gift, then perhaps we also think that tomorrow is just some ordinary occurrence that we are owed breath and life to see. It’s tragedy that wakes us up. It reminds us that the sun still shines, whether we see it or not and that life is so much bigger than our eyes can view.

Tragedy Connects Us As Human Beings

Tragedy, even those that don’t belong to us personally, belong to all of us as human beings. In the darkest of nights, I’m always amazed that the sun can still shine in the morning. Our ability to find the light in each other, even total strangers, is the very presence of God. And when our light goes out, we can count on someone to take our candle and use it to light others.

Tragedy, even those that don’t belong to us personally, belong to all of us as human beings.… Click To Tweet

I know that has happened for Mandy. Her family is continuing her legacy. That’s all we can hope for ourselves…that someone will pick up our torch and not just shine the light of God in a dark world, but use it to light up others.

When we ask ourselves and others, “Why would a good and loving God let tragedies happen to good people?” we are asking the wrong question entirely. We should be asking, “Why did a good and loving God sacrifice his only son in the most horrific and tragic way for me?”

I suppose God knows that tragedy, as we perceive it, is blessedly temporary compared to eternity, but what was born through Christ’s sacrifice was redemption, grace, and the opportunity to be with our Savior for all time.

Death, Even Tragic Death, Can Remind Us of God’s Grace

Tragedies help us see a sunrise differently, not as something we are owed, but as something precious and we’re reminded to live our lives with purpose and faith. Every day we walk in ignorant bliss is someone else’s tragedy; the worst day of their lives. What we owe them is to remember that tomorrow could be our worst day.

When we remember that, we treat each other with more kindness and compassion. We remember that beyond the To-Do list of things to be accomplished every day, we must also pursue God’s purpose for our lives, even when we’re reluctant to find or follow it.

If you liked this post, you love “What Is My Calling?” and “5 Things To Remember When Praying For Healing.”

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