“Though He slays me yet will I trust in him, and I will maintain my ways before him” – Job 13:15.
Each of us has asked the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why, despite their faithfulness and supplications, do many Christians become ill and die from horrible diseases? Why do so many not experience the emotionally satisfying presence of God, see visions, or have angelic visitations?
Today, many voices in the church are promising all Christians great prosperity, mighty revivals, and an abundance of material and spiritual blessings. Perhaps with God, it is “one size fits all.”
But while some congregations do experience revival and growth, many do not, perhaps most. For some believers, life is a breeze, but for others, it often borders on drudgery if not worse.
Despite all that the death and resurrection of Jesus put into motion, Christians continue to get sick, age and die. While we might seek several biblical answers to these questions, at best, they provide intellectual explanations.
WHY NOT ME?
According to the claims of truly “spiritual” Christians, daily they feel the awesome presence of God and hear His voice. But since millions of other believers either do not or rarely have such experiences, the question arises, “What is wrong with them?” Perhaps they lack faith or just are not in tune with the “spiritual realm.”
We can only speculate as to why the person sitting next to us in the pew experiences God’s overwhelming presence while others do not, or why one man is healed of cancer, but another man is not. Frankly, we cannot presume to know the answers to such questions.
Contrary to what some preachers might claim, the Christian walk is NOT a cookie-cutter operation, and one size does not fit all. Why are some men called to martyrdom, but most are not? Few if any of us are privy to God’s inner thoughts.
So, what is the right attitude to all this for the disciple of Jesus? It begins with walking according to the biblical principles NO MATTER WHAT OCCURS. Regardless of what we felt or received from God yesterday, good, bad, or indifferent, we must walk by faith and live the same way each day whether we experience supernatural blessings or not.
And what if God never blesses us again or heals us or enables us to feel His awesome presence? What will we do then?
THE FIERY FURNACE
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego highlights the correct attitude. No, not their miraculous deliverance from the fiery furnace, but their declared commitment to Yahweh regardless of all else.
After Nebuchadnezzar had threatened them with death if they did not render homage to his “golden image,” they declared that “Our God whom we serve is well able to deliver us. But if He does not, be it known to you that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image that you have set up.”
“Though he slays me, yet will I trust Him.” The words of Job are a most fitting description of the attitude of the three Jewish exiles. And THAT reaction from long ago is a far cry from the self-centered religion practiced today in far too many churches.
After all, when we were yet miserable sinners and “enemies of God,” Christ died a horrific death for us, thereby reconciling us to our Creator from whom we were alienated all our lives. That was an act of sheer grace, therefore, who are we to demand or expect anything of Him?
In the grand scheme of things, whether we receive supernatural miracles today matters very little. Many men have experienced great revivals and deep spiritual encounters with God, yet today, they are no longer walking with God. Apparently, it takes something more than the miraculous and the deeply emotional to stand victoriously before Him on the day when it truly counts.
But other men have NOT experienced supernatural things, prosperity, and good health, yet they have remained faithful to Jesus and their ministry to the bitter end.
One can almost hear the words of Job on the lips of such true men of God as they face trials, persecution, and death – “Though He slays me, yet will I trust him!” Moreover, continuing in faithfulness despite their lack and impoverishment is what it means to “maintain my ways before him.”
And that is the kind of disciple who epitomizes Christ’s description of the faithful servant – “So likewise, you, when you have done all those things which are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants. We have done that which was our duty to do.”
And that is my own challenge. Rather than answer the question – Why do bad things happen to good people – I must remain faithful to Him and to the tasks He puts in my hand to do regardless of whatever else may occur.