Why do bad things happen?

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Why do bad things happen?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:43 am

First of all, whenever we look at the tragedies of human behavior that occur all around us, we need to keep in mind two profoundly important things:
(1) First, God rules—as these verses should remind us:
1. The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you”—Numbers 11:23a (when the Israelites were complaining about the lack of meat)
2. That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”—Mark 4:35-40
3. “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even, I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”—God speaking, Isaiah 43:10-13
4. “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them—God speaking, Isaiah 44:24-26
5. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength’”—God speaking, Isaiah 45:19-24a
6. Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’—God speaking, Isaiah 46:8-10
(2) It is an evil, fallen world, where tragedy does happen.

As human beings, we still want to know: Why? Why did this happen? What is God up to? If God is a God of love, why would he allow [fill in the blank]?

God has his own reasons, and his timing, in doing things the way he does:
1. As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him—John 9:1-3
2. Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. . . . So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus; and yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” . . . After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him”—John 11:1, 3-7, 11-15

More often than not, we are simply asked to trust, to believe:
1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see—Hebrews 11:1
2. On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. . . . Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”—John 20:19-20, 24-29
3. All these people (OT heroes of the faith) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. . . . These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised—Hebrew 11:13, 39
5. The Bible is like God’s resume to us; it tells what he is about. All the stories, the characters who appear, are like the references that we can check that validate that this resume can be relied upon. It is one of the chief reasons we do Bible study: to remain ever connected to who and what God is, that we would carry that through our daily lives.

WHAT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE MEANS—Five things:
A. I am accompanied through life by a God who loves me:
1. The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness—Jeremiah 31:3
2. [S]urely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”—Matthew 28:20b
3. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord—Paul, Romans 8:31-32, 35, 38-39
4. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”—Moses, Deuteronomy 31:6
5. The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?—David, Psalm 27:1
6. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me—David, Psalm 23:4

B. I give up control of my life, including the need to know:
1. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts—Isaiah 55:8-9
2. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight—Proverbs 3:5-6
3. Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand—Isaiah 64:8
4. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do—Paul, Ephesians 2:10
5. Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him—Psalm 115:3

C. I am an ambassador; upon becoming a Christian, God did not call me home. He left me here, in this world, to represent him: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us—Paul, II Corinthians 5:20a

D. Even though Satan might seem on top, God is in control. It has never stopped being HIS world:
1. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you—King David, I Chronicles 29:11-16
2. [D]ominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations—David, Psalm 22:28
3. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you—King Jehoshaphat of Judah, II Chronicles 20:6b

E. This life is not all there is (treasures in heaven, Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:21)
1. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also—Jesus Christ, from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:19-21
2. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me—Paul, Galatians 2:20
3. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain—Paul, Philippians 1:21
So, how should we live? Life is a test, and all the challenges that come to us come to us from a loving God that wants to learn to rest and depend on Him. So, with everything and anything that comes our way, always think of it as coming with one question: How do I show Christ in this situation? That’s what we’re here for—to fearlessly share the gospel at every opportunity, to reflect Jesus Christ in every situation. As Paul shared with Timothy toward the end of his life: “[W]hatever were gains for me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ”—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death—Paul, Philippians 3:7-10a.

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