Why do bad things happen to good people?
This is an age-old question isn’t it?
You and I cannot earn our way to an easy life. We cannot control everything around us to prevent bad things from happening.
Bad things happen to everyone!
Last week I heard about a lady who found out her 22 year old daughter has cancer. Interestingly, this same lady just went through a terrible illness herself and her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer six months ago. He was finishing his last chemotherapy regimen when they got the news about their daughter.
This lady is a God-fearing, God-honoring, righteous-seeking woman who loves God with all she’s got! Yet, she finds herself plunged into another emotional whirlwind, and she wonders “why.”
This lady cries out to God, “what have I done to deserve this pain?” She knows God could just speak it and her daughter would be healed. With gut-wrenching heartache, she wonders why God doesn’t rescue her from this trial.
We hear about stories like this, and sometimes, we are the ones living out the story. Sometimes, the heartache is ours.
My friend, when you face a terrible trial in your life, I want to encourage you that instead of asking “why is this happening,” try asking, “what should I do?” You see, there are some things you and I can do to help us through those difficult times. My encouragement to you today is three-fold.
Now, many of us think of E.S.P. as Extrasensory Perception or the sixth sense. That is NOT what I’m referring today. When bad things happen, I want you to remember a different kind of E.S.P. Here it is:
Bad news often leads us to a crossroad in our faith. We must decide what we REALLY believe about God. We need to examine our hearts and ask ourselves these important questions:
You and I must reason in our hearts and minds what we believe about God. Where do we stand? This belief is the framework of our existence. It means everything!
Do we have faith?
Faith is like a muscle. As it is exercised, it gets stronger. BUT–before your faith can grow stronger, it must first be rooted in Jesus.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7
When we stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ, we have a reason to keep going and not give up! Rooted in Christ, we realize there is purpose for the pain we are experiencing and we trust that God is working out things according to His will.
Rooted in Him, our heart’s desire is for HIS will to be done, not our own.
Rooted in Him, we believe in what we cannot see.
Rooted in Him, we trust Him.
Even through the hardest trials, we need to keep exercising our faith. We need to continue worshipping God, spending time in prayer, studying our Bibles, serving at church and obeying God. The worst thing we can do is quit. We must persevere!
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. ~James 1:12
Step 1: Exercise your faith, even through the most painful of trials.
This second piece of E.S.P. is crucial. The root of this word, “surrender,” means to relinquish possession or control to another, to submit to the power and control of another.
Being a Christian means surrendering to God.
Some things are easy to surrender to God, while other things feel impossible.
Surrender this trial to God.
No matter how hard we try, there are some things we cannot fix. There are some things we cannot make go away. Ultimately, God is in control! You and I can only surrender to someone that we trust and we can trust God to handle the trials we face. He is big enough. There is nothing impossible for Him.
Surrender to God’s agenda.
God has a plan. He has a master plan for this world, but He also has a plan for your life. Sometimes, His timeline does not match up to our timeline, and often, His holy plan does not make sense to our human minds. We must abandon our own agenda and surrender to His plan and timeline.
Step 2: Surrender
Prayer is essential! We need to pray! When we are faced with bad news, the first place you and I need to go is to our knees in prayer.
Prayer is one of the most powerful forces on earth! The fact that we can communicate with the God of the Universe is amazing! The fact that He actually hears and responds to our prayers is miraculous!
Here are some important things I have learned about prayer in my walk with God:
You and I can pray about anything! Pour out your heart to God, my friend. He is listening!
Step 3: Pray
We never know when bad news will strike, and when it does, we may never be able to explain the “why” behind what is happening. But, we can tackle the question, “what should I do?”
Exercise your faith. Surrender all you’ve got to God and Pray fervently through your heartache.
God has a plan. We can trust Him!
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7
Thankful for you!
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Tonight, I was looking through some old files on my computer as I was preparing for an upcoming Bible study. I ran across this document that I wrote years ago. I changed the names for privacy sake, but I wanted to share it with you. I remember this night so vividly and as I read this tonight, it challenged me and made me examine my heart. It reminded me of who we are called to be…
Life is busy!
With our day planners and “to do” lists jam-packed, we are all bombarded with busyness. If I think back on my life, I can hardly remember a time when my life was not busy. What does it take for us to slow down?
In our busy lives, how can we smell the roses if we don’t even have time to notice them?
In the busyness of my day, when I stop to pray and spend time with God, I am once again reminded that there is more to life than my busy schedule. He ever so gently reminds me that no matter how busy I think I am, there are opportunities for me to minister to others.
Unfortunately, most of the time my eyes are so fixed on ME and MY “to do” list, I miss opportunities God places directly in my path to serve others.
I forget that I am called to serve.
God showed me an example of this the other night, after church. It was a cold Wednesday evening, and I was tired. Exhausted from chasing 14 preschoolers around the room, singing “Father Abraham” and “Zacheus”, I was ready to go home.
In my mind, I already had the remainder of my evening planned out with laundry to do, baths to give, day care bags to pack, etc. So when my husband, Bryan, came to me and said we need to give Mrs. Baucom and her granddaughter, Elise, a ride home, I thought to myself…
“I don’t have time for that–isn’t there someone else that can take them home? We do have 2 very small children you know?”
But, since Elise was standing right beside me when Bryan said this, I could not object. So, begrudgingly I smiled and said “ok” and off we went. When we drove up to Elise’s house, I was astonished by the scene in front of my eyes.
I could not believe Elise’s living conditions.
There was garbage everywhere, the yard was full of junk, and the car port was covered with old furniture, boxes, beer cans and anything else you can think of. The house had broken windows and there was a broken down car in the yard with grass growing out of the hood!
My heart sank into the pits of my stomach as now my “to do” list seemed so insignificant.
As Elise thanked us for the ride and went skipping off into her house, I wondered how many opportunities I had missed to minister to her and her family all because I did not know their situation. I did not know anything about her or her parents.
You know why I did not know these things? Because I did not make time to find out (I was too busy with my life)!
This family had needs, but I was so self-absorbed I had not even noticed.
We all know the song “This Little Light of Mine.” It originates from scripture in Matthew 5:14-15 which says:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Think about that little song and think about how you are living your life.
I wonder if you have been like me?
Have you been placing your light under the bowl of busyness?
Sometime I am so self-absorbed that I am oblivious to the needs of others. Sometimes, I consider myself “too busy” to get to know others and lend a helping hand.
Tonight, God reminded me that I need to get over myself!
Jesus says we are the light of the world, not the light of ourselves!
We must get out there and let our light shine because of Him! We need to make others our priority and get to know them. We need to serve!
My friend, remember to make time to help others; after all, your “to do” list (and mine) can wait.