When Bad Things Happen to Good People


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:

  1. Exercise your Faith

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:

  • Do I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God?
  • Do I believe God is who He says He is?
  • Do I believe Jesus paid the penalty for my sins when he died on the cross?
  • Do I believe Jesus rose from the grave and defeated death?
  • Do I believe eternity in heaven is real for the believer in Jesus?
  • Do I believe God’s promises are true?
  • Do I trust God?
  • Do I believe God loves me?

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.

  1. Surrender

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

  1. Pray

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:

  • I need to confess my sins
  • I need to proclaim His holiness
  • I need to approach Him with a grateful heart
  • I need to be bold in my prayers
  • I need to be reverent when praying
  • God answers prayers (sometimes in ways that only He and I know about)
  • My prayers matter to God
  • My motives need to be right when I pray
  • I need to be persistent and pray with a heart yielded to God’s will

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?”

Remember E.S.P.

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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1 Comment

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    Thanks Joy, I needed to hear this today! Sometimes the hardest thing for me is the surrendering part. I want to try and control even the smaller things in life since I know I can’t control the bigger pieces. But it’s important to fully surrender to God’s plan in order to have peace with all the trials in this world.

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