Bad Things Happen to Good People
by Jeff Osborne
"Why?" "I just don't understand it. Why do these things happen to good people." "There are so many other people that this could happen to - why the Osbornes?" These are just a few of the well-intended comments that friends and family have made about our situation. I understand the feelings we all have about tragedy when it lands in our own backyard. Let me give you a perspective. Not necessarily the right answer just a perspective. A view from a father standing at the edge of a deep dark chasm where disappointment and despair continuously try to fracture his faith.
In our attempt to pursue life and capture it in the palm of our hand, we feel life owes us something. We believe we deserve a road that is straight, smooth and surrounded by manna falling from heaven. This view is particularly prevalent within the Church. We as Christians believe we should be void of all pain, suffering, confusion and doubt. The "prosperity theology" is particularly susceptible to this type of thinking. Somehow it is thought that if you just have enough faith and all sin has been removed, you will enjoy a carefree life filled with longevity, riches and success. There is one problem with this thought process - it is void of the primary purpose God keeps us fumbling around the earth. To walk side-by-side with the creator of the universe, experiencing this great adventure called life. To live, to learn, to experience, to grow, to trust, to believe, to doubt, to laugh, to cry, to press on towards to the prize. This is life lived abundantly. God continues to show me His truths as I walk through this valley He has put before me. For example, life is not about getting and gaining but growing and trusting. Joy is not the absence of pain, it is the presence of peace in the midst of the storm. Life is not a result it is a journey. Peace is not an entitlement it is a process. Faith is a muscle with no other means to grow except through testing, stretching and exercising. God's perspective is much different from mine. His view is perfect and complete. Mine on the other hand is short-sided, extremely limited and very tainted.
To say that I enjoy the heat of the refining fire would be far from the truth. Like anyone, I would prefer to get an "A" on the test without having to do the homework. I would love to be a professional athlete without years of practice, working out and countless sacrifices. There are certain universal principles at work that keep this from happening. One of which is the "law of the harvest". This means that for us to have a healthy crop the ground must be worked for several years before it is ready to reap a bountiful harvest. I claim no knowledge of what God has in store, no clue at to how He will use this pain for future gain. I only know this; my God is not a wasteful God. He does not allow random acts of pain. He will use this valley to increase His kingdom, to touch the hurting and to bring those distant from Him back to a place of intimacy and closeness. As strange as it sounds, and as much as I want my baby completely restored, I do not want to rush through this refining fire. I do not want to miss what God has in store for our family and those walking with us. I can think of only one thing worse than going through the pain of this trial…to go through it all and completely miss the powerful message that lies within each difficult step.
I remember watching a mother and father of a mentally disabled child as they selflessly poured themselves into him. I remembered whispering a prayer to God that went something like this, "God my immediate reaction is to feel sorry for these people but somehow I feel a sense of jealousy towards them. You saw them worthy and capable to be parents of a special child. Something that only a few parents will ever experience. Maybe they are the blessed parents because they truly understand what really matters in life."
So, I cannot help but look at our situation and wonder if Pam and I are not the lucky ones. We get a chance to count solely on God each day. We get the privilege of going through this boot camp so we are properly trained for a greater mission that lies ahead. For this moment in time we are really living life the way God intended. Our daily focus is on our relationships and loved ones not material worries or tug-a-wars. We are looking everywhere to see how God's hand is moving and whom He is reaching through this situation. We are praying without ceasing and worshipping Him throughout the entire day. We are living life the way it was intended to be lived.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I guess some of us are just fortunate, that's why.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."