Read: Genesis 4:1-15, and Psalm 23
It was NOT God’s will that Cain murdered his brother, Abel. It was an act of sin committed because Cain had free will. That Cain became a murderer was not God’s will for Cain’s life. Also, that Abel was killed was not God’s will for Abel’s life either. To conclude otherwise is to make God complicit in sin and sinfulness. Simply put: there are things that happen in life that DO NOT reflect the will of God.
The dilemma that this assertion creates tests our understanding of the sovereignty of God, the intervening power of God in life, the way God answers prayer, and even the question of does God have a: a) Plan for my life OR, b) Purpose for my life?
I’m addressing the difficult question about bad things happening to good people. That area of theology is long considered the most difficult to address; my answer here will not be entirely satisfactory. In theology it’s called “theodicy”. Honestly, people of strong, sincere faith disagree on the answers to these difficult questions.
Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a great book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, in which he notes that his book is “WHEN” and NOT “WHY” Bad Things Happen…” Kushner says that we cannot answer the “Why” question; we can only answer the “When” question, and our answer comes not as explanation, but comfort.
WHEN bad things happen we cannot and should not offer explanations; that is NOT our role. WHEN bad things happen we CAN and SHOULD offer love and support – comfort. A hug speaks more than any words. Your answer to “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” can be in the form of loving, caring actions – not words.
Bad things happen every day: people get sick, parents lose children, children lose parents, accidents occur, violence destroys innocent lives – the list is very long. There are beautiful, wonderful, joyful and loving things that happen every day too. Both the good and the bad happen in the world concurrently. A great promise of God is to be with us through it all; that’s the wisdom David leans on in Psalm 23.
Pastor Rob Nystrom