We know through studying the Bible that God is all powerful and thus he could stop bad things from happening to us if he wanted to. What makes matters even more confusing is that the Bible also teaches us that God is all loving. So if God is all powerful and God is all loving, the idea of anything bad happening seems impossible.
But bad things do happen, thus people often conclude that God is either not all powerful or is not a loving God. But the Bible offers a third option, which is that God shows us his love through the bad things that happen in our lives.
So here are 3 reasons God is allowing bad things to happen to you.
1. God Always Wants the Best for You, What Is Best for You Is to Glorify God, and God Is Often Most Glorified During the Hardest Times in Life
To really understand this point, we have to take a quick step back and remember what the glory of God is according to the Bible. The glory of God is when the invisible qualities of God are made manifest. In other words, when God is seen accurately, this is when God is glorified. When the light of Christ shines, this is the glory of God. Jesus glorifies God the most because he reveals God the most, for in Colossians 1:15 it states, “He is the image of the invisible God . . . .”
Therefore, if God is glorified when God is revealed, we have to ask ourselves, “When is God’s power and love seen most clearly?” Oftentimes the answer to this question is that God’s glory is seen most clearly through the hardest trials in life. When you are in your deepest pain, you will then be able to experience that God is the greatest comfort. When you are in the greatest need, God will then be able to show you how he is the greatest provider. In short, the darker the night the brighter the light that shines.
Sin has so blinded us to God’s glory, the Lord often has to open our eyes through extreme measures. Like the prodigal son who could only see the love of his father when he was at his lowest, God often lets us go through dark valleys so we will then be able to see how glorious and loving he really is.
The Bible says that God’s primary purpose in everything he does is to bring himself glory. In our humanness, we can see this as a very selfish and unloving motive. And indeed it would be if anyone but God sought all the glory for himself. The reason it is not unloving for God to seek to bring himself glory in all situations is because God’s glory is the best. Thus when God glorifies himself through our lives, we ourselves will experience the best possible life in the process.
In other words, while God does not want us to go through hard things, he knows those hard things will turn out for our good if we gain a greater glimpse of God’s glory through these trials. An easy earthly life that results in being blinded to God is actually a curse that leads to hell. A hard earthly life, however, that leads to seeing God accurately through Jesus Christ is actually a blessing that leads to eternal life forever in God’s presence.
God allows hard things to happen in our lives because he is willing to let us endure short-term pain if it will result in long-term pleasure. He is not, however, willing to give us short-term pleasures at the cost of long-term suffering. For as Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV) states:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
2. God Allows Bad Things to Happen to You Because Without the Human Free Will Which Causes Much of the Pain in Our Lives, No True Love Could Be Experienced
Humans often want it both ways. When we think about a God who is sovereign and brings about his will when he wants, we can grow frustrated and start to feel like everything is pointless and that we are just robots. On the other hand, when we think of a world that is outside of God’s control and everything that happens is simply the outcome of human choices, we can feel abandoned by God and unloved.
God is neither the micromanaging dictator nor is he the absent father who just lets the world run mad. God has sovereignly created a world where people’s choices matter and his ultimate plan will still come to pass. With that said, God is still the one in ultimate control, but he grants freedom to humans to act in ways he does not approve of, which is called sin. Why? Because God wants true love between us and him and true love cannot be forced. God does not override human free will and make us do things. That would nullify the point of making us to begin with. To allows a world that true love can exist in, God allows a world where bad things can actually happen. If God stopped all the bad, no one would have a true choice to do anything good either.
So one of the reasons God allows bad things to happen is because he allows human choices to matter. A lot of times I get angry comments on my videos from someone who says, “If God was real, why are there starving children in the world?” Or, “If God is so loving, why did he make me marry a horrible person and then get divorced?”
While I would never want to make light of hard questions like these, the reality is God is not responsible for all the evil in this world. Humans created sin, not God. God didn’t create cancer, famines, and broken relationships in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1. All those bad things happened later after humans corrupted this world with sin in Genesis 3.
Why didn’t God stop sin from happening? Well again, that would take away our opportunity to choose, and if we are all just puppets on a string with no choices to actually make, there would have really not been a reason for God to create us at all. So we can’t have it both ways. We can either be mindless robots who experience only good things in life but will never actually experience true love because we don’t have choice, or we can be real people who can actually love God and others but who also have to experience real consequences for sin in this world.
God wants the best for us, his love is best, therefore he allows people to choose to sin so that people can also choose to love. And sin causes bad things in our lives in at least 3 ways. 1. Bad things like diseases and natural disasters happen because creation is broken because of the fist sin that happened in Genesis 3. 2. Bad things happen because sinful people can do hurtful things to us. And 3. Bad things happen when we make sinful choices.
3. God Allows Bad Things to Happen in Your Life Because God Wants Us to Find Our Ultimate Hope for Salvation in Jesus Christ Alone
Could God stop the bad things from happening in your life and in this world? Yes, he could. But that is not the solution God has chosen to offer us. Rather, God’s solution comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God didn’t need to wipeout the human race, start over, and give us a whole new world that doesn’t have sin in it. God doesn’t have to stop the bad things from happening in our lives to spare us from becoming broken. And God doesn’t need to stop us from sinning to accomplish his will in our lives. Why? Why doesn’t God need to stop the bad things from happening?
Because the gospel is enough. What Jesus accomplished in the gospel is the final solution. Nothing else is needed. The thing that brings God the most glory is the gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore the gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate solution that God has chosen to use for all the bad that happens in this world.
When we feel like God must micromanage reality and take away our choices and stop everything bad that can ever happen – we are saying that the gospel is not enough. But the gospel is enough. It is the real solution humanity desperately needs.
One day God will make a new heaven and a new earth. One day humans will no longer hurt each other. One day everything will be as it should have always been. And all of this will be accomplished because Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and will one day return. But the solution found in the gospel will only be received by those who put their faith in Jesus, repent of sin, and receive God’s grace. For as Revelations 21:1-5 states:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’
And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.””