It was bed time at our house and we had finally gotten all three kids into bed and were making the rounds, tucking them in, one at a time. My boys were usually asleep the second they stopped moving, a result of ADHD and the burning of a million calories a day while they were running amok. My daughter, on the other hand, had never fallen asleep easily and would spend the first thirty minutes contemplating the order of the universe. On this particular night we found her silently crying in her bed and when we questioned the origin of the tears she told us ….”I have questions about why God did…..such and such…. Does that mean I don’t believe in Him?”
No, it doesn’t. And we told her so. My feeling is that God gave us these thinking brains for a reason, and we should use them, because by finding the answers to those questions (or by finding that there is no answer this side of heaven), sometimes our faith is solidified, and other times the answers reveal the finite nature of our own almighty “knowledge,” which should point us back to the magnificence of the One True God.
In other words, I think questions are great. So I want to answer some. And boy do I have a list! Not of my own, necessarily, although I definitely have some, but from high school students all over the state. Some of them are unanswerable, and we will try to hash out why. Some of them are heartbreaking, and the only answer that exists is that mankind sometimes sucks. But a lot of them can be tackled, and hopefully used to solidify faith and give glory to Jesus.
Today’s question is an easy one. And I have to admit, I stole the answer from our speaker from camp. It’s like working out, I wanted to break myself in easy.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Answer: It only happened once, and He volunteered for it.
Of course we are talking about Jesus. In all of creation, there was ever only one human who could be considered good, and Jesus was it. In scripture we are told “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one,” (Romans 3:10) Read, “Humans are not good.” Verse 23 of the same chapter goes on to tell us that we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” All means everyone. Period. Even Aunt Betty in Wisconsin who goes to church every weekday and weekend and knits blankets for the homeless. Because Aunt Betty was born with a sin nature just like everyone else, and while she is a nice person, she’s not perfect and never has been.
Leviticus is usually not a fun read, but when I was studying it I was struck by Leviticus 4:2 “ Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them,”
Usually when we think of sin, we think of intentionally breaking a commandment, at least I do. I shouldn’t talk bad about that person, but I’m angry. I should obey my parents but they are wrong, so I won’t. I hadn’t thought about all the sins I do by accident! And what if I don’t even know I sinned…what then? There’s no way to be good when the standard is perfection. And believe me, none of us are perfect. If you are still sitting there reading this and shaking your head at me because you believe you are good, then you are committing the sin of pride, case closed.
Thankfully, we have a Savior who is good and perfect, who volunteered to be the sacrifice that we needed to pay for the sins that we don’t even know we have committed! By surrendering to Him He offers us His forgiveness, making us new creations in Jesus. We couldn’t be good, we can’t be perfect, so Jesus did it for us, and we reap the benefit of His forgiveness, giving all glory to Him.
Now I’m not trying to be glib about the tragedy that surrounds us every day. Humans are horrible to each other. We live in a fallen world where there is some very real evil, and it’s heartbreaking. Death and disease happen to people who don’t seem to deserve it, and that sucks, it really does. Adam and Eve brought sin and death into the world and we continue to add to that sin today. But there is great hope in Jesus. In John chapter 16 Jesus talks to his disciples about how in this world they will experience trouble, but that Jesus came to overcome the world and He is coming again.
At some point Jesus will be back and will set all things right again! What a great promise to hold onto! And those questions we have……I have a feeling at that point we won’t even care. But until then, look for the next q & a here on the blog and we’ll give answering some of those questions a go.