5 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People

Creative Commons License photo credit: Squire of Cydonia

With all of the recent tragedies including the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings and the Boston Marathon Bombings, I couldn’t help but want to dig into scripture. The Bible has a way of comforting, even when the words aren’t always what you expected.

In the past few months, I’ve also been given my fair share of personal trials and I can’t help but wonder why do bad things happen to good people? This is the result of my journey through scripture and why God says we are called to go through the hard times. I pray that this will not come off as inconsiderate, but as encouragement to get you through hard times.

1) To Get Us to Pray

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

– Romans 12:12

There’s nothing that brings us closer to God than prayer. After all, this is our time to make our concerns known to Him and to give thanks for our blessings. While trials can sometimes blur our vision of the good, behind the scenes God is delighted when we lean on Him.

We have a tendency to pray more intensely when we are in trouble, crying out to the Lord for help. Sometimes even in desperation. He wants us to be desperate for Him. It’s our chance to be reminded of hope.

When we’ve neglected to pray during times of joy and happiness, sometimes it takes a bad situation to bring us to our knees and cry out to the Lord.

2) To Remind Us of His Suffering

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

– 1 John 4: 12-13

Jesus Christ is not just our Savior, he was a physical man. Just like we don’t deserve some of the bad things that come our way, Jesus was undeserving of His suffering. The verse above actually encourages us to be glad! (I’m sure you’re thinking yeah right) Our trials make us partners with Christ. Have you ever considered that?

Your bad “stuff” gives you only a small glimpse of what He went through for us. This puts your suffering in comparison with His. Anybody second guessing anxiety about a bad hair day right now? Sometimes when I am in the middle of a hard time, I’m drawn to remember the cross. Everything else is but a shadow beneath it.

3) To Fulfill God’s Purpose

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

– Romans 8:28

How many times have you been going through a hard time and someone say God has a plan. And you think, well why in the world is losing my job part of God’s plan? Or did God really plan for my dog to die this young? Or may it’s something bigger or something very tragic. How can we possibly wrap our heads around something so horrible being something that God has planned for our lives?

The verse above says that And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God… Everything excludes nothing. It is ALL a part of his master plan for each of our lives and according to His purpose, though it may be hard to see at the time. It could be days, months, even years before we can look back and see why we were put through that trial in our life. In all things, He has control.

4) To Give Us Endurance

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

– James 1:2-4

I found that the word endurance means bearing hardship; staying power. We’ve addressed that when we have hard times that we are called to prayer, to be reminded of His suffering, and to carry out God’s will. Each of these things work together to get us through our own sufferings. What happens when we come through difficulty? We make it to the other side! Praise God!

I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This might just be exactly what was meant by the verse above. But did you realize that adversity could actually make us well-developed? With each challenge, God says to consider it a gift. An obstacle overcome gives us another badge on our spiritual Brownies vest. (Do they wear vests?) Our endurance through one difficulty prepares us for another. We build knowledge and maturity that strengthens our faith.

The thesaurus has the words patience, perseverance, and courage listed as synonyms for endurance. I’m not sure that you can have any one of these without each other. We should be comforted to know that what we are going through will have a reward in the end and make us a better person.

5) For His Glory

Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

– Psalm 50:15

Perhaps one of the most important reasons that we are called to go through trials and tribulations in this life is for God’s glory. After all, this was the precise reason that we were created. And what an honor it is to have such a purpose.

Bag things happen. It’s a part of life and the evil that exists in this world. Though God did not create evil (man and free-will did), He can rescue us from it. And yet the only thing that we must give in return is praise and glory to our gracious Savior. This alone thrills Him. Isn’t that amazing?

We aren’t called just to glorify Him in the bad, we are to glorify Him at all times. Through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, until we go to be with our precious Father.

Once we realize that our purpose in life is to glorify Him, it doesn’t matter if we’re having a joyful, encouraging day or a down and dreary day. We should not neglect to bring Him honor with our praise, especially through our trials and tribulations.


If you’re reading this today and are going through something challenging in your life. I’d love to pray for you. You can leave a comment here with your prayer request or feel free to email me. You don’t even have to tell me what for if you’re not comfortable.

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