Why do good things happen to anyone?

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Why do you call Me good?” Jesus replied. “No one is good except God alone. Luke 18:18-19

Much has been written and debated about the proverbial question of “why do bad things happen to good people?” The question is often raised in an attempt to impugn the reputation of Almighty God’s as a loving and benevolent God. Many people conclude that it is because of God’s wrath or his indifference to human suffering that bad things happen to good people.

The real question is not, “why do bad things happen to good people?” Rather, it is, “why do good things happen to and for anyone?” After all, none of us is good. We live in a fallen world with evil and sin. Moreover, the good that we should do we do not do; it is the evil we should not do that we do (Romans 7:19). Why then are we not surprised when good things happen to and for any of us?

In today’s text, a religious ruler asked Jesus the question that is on every religious person’s mind: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Before answering the question, Jesus asked him a rhetorical question of his own: “Why do you call me good?” Jesus reminded the ruler, “no one is good except God alone.”

Jesus was not saying that people could not do good. He was pointing out a biblical fact “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20). Since no one is good, it is surprising that good things happen to and for us. The Bible calls that grace and mercy.

Lamentations 3:22 says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not.” Good things happen to us and for us because of God’s grace and his unfailing love. We, therefore, should not be surprised when we experience hardships or go through the vicissitudes of life. Instead, we should do as Jeremiah did—recall to mind the many times God delivered us and blessed us, and therefore have hope.

The nations of the world have built enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet many times over. Most of us continue to pollute the air that we breathe with cancerous carcinogens. We contaminate the food that we eat and the water that we drink with harmful chemicals for monetary gains. Many of us do not exercise or eat a proper diet. Some of us take unnecessary risks and willfully harm their physical bodies.

It is a wonder that more people do not have cancer, heart disease, failed organs, etc. I am shocked that God continues to bless so many people with relatively good health. Indeed, why do so many people own their own homes, have the physical strength to go to work and earn a living? The unemployment rate in the US is about 3.5 percent. It is 77 percent in Burkina Faso, 50 percent in Syria, 48 percent in Senegal, and 40.6 percent in Haiti. So, before anyone can begin to question God’s providential love for not having a job, they should wonder why God allowed them to live in a country with so many employment opportunities.

No human being has the right to ask, “why do bad things happen to good people?” For as long as we allow our governments to spend more money in weapons of mass destruction than in health care and education, we cannot ask that question. As long as we tolerate the chemical industry to contaminate our water and food, we cannot ask that question. Instead, we should wake up every morning with a sense of awe for the amazing grace of God and his unfailing tender mercies.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for your mercies that are renewed every morning. May we not take your grace for granted or impugn your reputation when we go through the vicissitudes of life.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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