Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Steve Lyston | When bad things happens to good people

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Many times, people criticise God when adversity strikes - when bad things happen to good people. People will say, 'How could God allow this to happen?' when a gunman murders a child or a beloved member of the community is brutally hurt or killed.

God never said in His word that bad things would not happen. Psalm 46 tells us that when we pass through the flood, He will be with us. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble. It tells us that natural calamity - earthquakes, tsunami, tidal waves or other adversities - will take place and that if they happen, God is always found to be a reliable help at all times. There is also that part of the Lord's Prayer which says "... and deliver us from evil ...".

Many times, when adversity occurs, it is a test to see if a person will remain true or loyal to God. Some people are only loyal when good things happen. However, Job proved that he was loyal through his suffering and that it is humanly possible.

 

QUICK TO CRITICISE

 

Oftentimes, those who don't serve God are quick to criticise, voice their opinions on the adverse situations, or are quick to blame God when bad things happen. But they don't truly understand the depth, significance or truth involved and ignore the involvement of the one who instigates the evil - the Devil. He is let off the hook; his existence is ridiculed as a myth or silly idea.

Recognise that every situation of suffering or adversity must be treated differently. For example, when a person chooses to take up the cross and follow Christ, then there are times they will go through tribulation and persecution for their faith. Across the seas, we see thousands of Christians being murdered by ISIS or Boko Haram; meanwhile, many global leaders remain silent. That is a different situation from people going through adversity not because they have sinned or anything is wrong with them, but for the glory of God and to show His mercy when they are delivered from the adversity. We see it in John 9: 3.

Lack of knowledge also, in many instances, allow for adversity to strike. Many times warnings come in dreams and visions, and people ridicule and reject them or use it to gamble. I have seen many good people go through adversity far beyond what could normally be tolerated - that only the grace of God can keep them or heal them.

I spoke with a lady recently whose entire family - husband and children - were wiped out in an accident by a reckless driver. She was the only survivor. I don't know how she does it, but she is still thanking God and doing His work.

There are others who lose children, like the family in Georgia, USA, who recently took their child to day camp, only to be told that the child had drowned, having been taken with his class to a lake without parental permission.

Many quote this scripture - 'For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Romans 8: 38) The question is, do those who quote it know what it means?

As the book of Job reveals, the Devil has to seek God's permission before he can touch anyone of God's children. Further, Psalm 91 tells us that angelic protection is guaranteed for those who dwell in His presence, and also speaks of all the plagues, diseases, sicknesses and even darkness from which we are protected. Evil exists and none of us is exempt, but we can be protected.

 

LEVEL OF IMMUNITY

 

It is unfortunate that many sinners and their relatives refuse to serve God without realising that serving God gives us a certain level of immunity from certain daily attacks that come at us. But they blame God when things go awry.

Sadly, sometimes the very community, school, business or family that adversity strikes are oftentimes the ones who resist God and anything to do with God in their lives or environment. Some prefer to embrace evil as protection rather than God, but cry out "where is God?" when adversity hits.

The fall of man resulted in the door being open to sin - for the Devil to come in and attack, but God's grace and mercy are available to us.

It is not easy when adversity strikes, especially for doctors and pastors to counsel people. Oftentimes, we don't know what to say, but we know that there is a balm in Gilead - there is healing!