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The Bad Times Will Come

Posted by jon on April 15, 2010 in but seriously... |

Why do bad things happen to good people? Or perhaps better put, why is life unfair? I saw a comedian who claimed there could be no God because Hitler, murdering psycho, lived a longer life than this man’s mother, who was a kind woman. How could God allow this? Does this injustice not prove impossibility of God?

Here’s a news flash, bad things happen. The natural disasters Haiti, Chili, and Indonesia, the actions of 9/11 the shooting at Virginia Tech and seemly countless other schools, and we don’t have to go that far to find bad things. Is there anyone out there who would say they have never experienced loss? The bad times will come.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we read the famous “There is a time for everything” observation made by the writer. And unbelievably there is a time for good and a time for bad. But this shouldn’t shock us. There is fullness in all of God’s creation, and by giving us the potential to do great things that means there is also the potential for great lows as well. Perhaps God could have eliminated the path of pain but wouldn’t that have also eliminated our ability to choose our own way. As long as we are allowed to choose the bad times will come.

But God is not shocked off the throne by the things that happen to you. That’s my favorite part about God. God’s not up in heaven sniping numbs on MW2 (which is total unfair with that all knowing and all, plus I think God has like a T1 or something), and then Gabriel runs in saying did you hear what happened to Coder down there. God’s is never caught off guard. Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?

But knowing that God knows isn’t our answer. In fact it raises an even tougher question. We must ask, “If God is all-knowing and all-powerful how could God let these bad things happen?”

Now we are getting to the issue. The question is how could God. It is a question of God acting out of God’s character. But is it out of character? Let’s look at the life of Job, Jesus, Simon, James, Augustine, Martin Luther, and the heroes of the faith who have gone before. In five minutes Job lost everything. He went from riches and a large family to four servants. His first response was “God is good”. (Job 1.13-22)

Job’s faith was based on God’s character, not God’s blessings. One’s character is the collection of attributes and actions that distinguish a person. When we know someone’s character it changes the way we perceive their actions. If someone does something that we know to be out of character we would most likely seek some clarification before writing them off.

So to truly have a faith that can withstand bad things you must KNOW God and know God’s character. Job’s faith in God was genuine and sincere. It was based on God’s total goodness not God’s goodness to Job singularly.

When bad things happen our faith falls short if we aren’t convinced of God’s control. Everyone has wondered it at some point: How can a good God let bad things happen? I guess the main problem is that this question is a wrong idea about faith. For many people what’s happening now—what they’re feeling now—determines what they believe, now. That is circumstantial faith. But what is happening to us today does not define who the timeless God is. Our faith cannot survive if it does. God’s unchanging character must be the foundation of our faith.

Our faith is in the God who created and said it was good, the God who said I Am, the God who has delivered generation after generation of his people, and the God who still delivers all who will come through the sacrifice of our savior, Jesus. Our faith is in the truth that God is good. It is a truth the can withstand floods and earthquakes, evil, sadness, and even the silence that threatens to overwhelm us in our darkest hours.

The bad times will come because they are the natural product of our fallen potential, buy the truth of who God is overshadows the doubt that our circumstances might create. True faith, deep faith, enduring faith holds onto who God is—not what God does for us.

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