Bible Reading: John 16:31-33
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Jesus couldn’t have been more blunt when he said that life would be filled with tough times and sadness. We all face situations that cause us to ask questions only God can answer:
• Nicole, a teenage Christian, drives home late one evening. A car runs through a red stoplight and collides with hers. Nicole spends the next two months in a hospital because of a hit-and-run driver.
• As two-year-old Alonzo toddles down the sidewalk beside his big sister, a mean dog bites him. The doctor has to give Alonzo painful shots to be sure the little guy doesn’t get sick.
Most of us would agree on this point: Life isn’t fair. And good people who suffer often ask, “Why am I going through this bad stuff? I don’t deserve this! It’s not fair.”
People have long asked why bad things happen to good people. Somewhere in the back of our brain we think that good people—especially Christians—shouldn’t ever face big struggles, sorrows, and suffering.
God, however, never promised Christians that life would be easy. When Jesus’ disciples asked him why people suffer, they pointed to a man who had been born blind. They asked Jesus, “Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” (John 9:2). Jesus responded, “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins” (verse 3). Then he healed the man.
That’s how it is with many of the bad things that happen in the world. Some people suffer because of their own sin, like a person who drives drunk and is seriously hurt when he drives off a road. Others suffer because of the sins of others, like the girl who was hit by that hit-and-run driver. But some suffering happens just because there is sin in the world. When God created this earth, he set it running with the law of gravity, laws of motion, and so on. Most of the time we benefit from how those laws work. Yet sometimes they make us victims, like when a car misses a curve and flies off an icy road. God doesn’t take those laws away for good people.
Accidents, disease, tragedy, death-all of these things happen to both Christians and non-Christians. Your loving Savior never promised you an escape from life’s tough stuff, but he did promise to tromp through it with you.
TALK: Say it in your own words: Why do bad things happen to people? How does God bring hope to bad situations?
PRAY: God, thank you that no matter what we face in life, you are with us.
ACT: Ask God to help you be kind and understanding as you share this message with hurting friends.