Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 114 Why Bad Things Happen
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #114 – Why Bad Things Happen
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.
Someone outside my immediate family has recently faced some difficult situations. While processing the events as she dealt with loss and disappoint, and many emotions, she posed the question asked by vulnerable people at various times over the history of the world. Why do bad things have to happen? It wasn’t that she thought she was better than anyone else or more deserving of escaping tragedy or hardship, but because she truly desires that good always exist and brighten the lives of people. Especially when they follow Jesus.
Life is painfully difficult at times. For example, this week, my thoughts focused more on my first daughter, who passed away 13 years ago in January. Yesterday was her birthday and even though I carry Christ’s joy within me because of my relationship with Him, my heart will always be tender and my mind wistful, longing for the day I will see my daughter again. Even when I’m not talking about her, she’s present in my heart. I wish the pain of child loss on no one. Grief, disappointment, sadness, and agony exist in this world, along with dozens of other dreadful effects of this fallen world. There is no fast easy word besides sin to explain why such suffering exists, but we have a trustworthy name that will bring an end to it.
I admire the way Jesus taught with parables. I have personally prayed that I would have the wisdom and words to speak as Jesus did. Sometimes I might have a good story to tell, but mostly I feel that I fall short, looking to Jesus and others to bring the right phases and teachings to situations. Jesus taught the way I wish I could, piercing the heart where it needs to be exposed, but doing so in ways that made the person think and resolve the situation with their mind and heart so that true change would occur. What a blessing His teachings and wise words are to us.
Although this is not from the Bible, I want to share an ancient Chinese parable that explains the mindset of good and bad, because the story reminds me of the directness of Jesus and the way we must allow Him to reframe our mindset.
“A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, "That's bad news." The farmer replies, "Good news, bad news, who can say?"
The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say.
The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg.
"So sorry for your bad news," says the concerned neighbor. "Good news, bad news, who can say?" the farmer replies.
In a week or so, the emperor's men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer's son is spared.” Author Unknown
Humans often try to define what is good or bad. How do we define what is good? Or what is bad? Usually by our feelings. The way what happened makes us feel. Or how it affects us. What causes discomfort, loss, pain, suffering, confusion, hardship, etc. must be defined as bad. Right?
God is sovereign. He makes no mistakes. His knowledge and wisdom far exceed our understanding. We have to understand that our feelings may not necessarily be truth. Although they are a true representative of what we are experiencing and processing at that moment, they are biased and affected by our past, present, worldview, and many other factors. God gave us the ability to feel, but emotions and feelings cannot be used as an objective or truthful compass for His unequivocal truth.
Feelings represent what is going on inside us at any given time, but are not a true compass of God’s authoritative truths.
Our mind may question why God allows bad things to happen. Does He purposely inflict us with evil and chaos? Why does He let pain occur? When we are in the midst of suffering it can be extremely difficult to understand why God didn’t change our circumstances. We can easily wonder where He is or if He really cares.
Even though our feelings are justified in our eyes, do we want to remain in that emotion indefinitely? How long should we dwell in the emotions, anger, heartache, or disappointment? While living in the midst of pain and suffering, it can be difficult to see beyond or through it.
In a yard of weeds, it seems impossible that a four leaf clover is present.
This world is full of tribulation. Each person experiences hardships. In fact, since we usually can’t see behind the curtains of another’s life to see what they endure, it’s easy to think others don’t live with problems or that they haven’t been hurt like we have. Humans care more about self and we usually get stuck in the hardships we personally have to handle. But the reality is that no one is exempt from the evils or corruption of this world.
What are some of the ways people suffer?
1. Dreadful Decisions – Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” People make mistakes. The old saying, “we don’t know what we don’t know,” does carry truth. Often, we have to make mistakes to find truth or discover what not to do. In fact, that’s the way some people live and learn. Other times, we depend on self or listen to wrong advice from others. Maybe we trust the wrong people. Also, inexperience and pride can cause many issues. We must constantly seek God’s knowledge and wisdom to guide us.
2. Discipline for Disobedience – Deuteronomy 8:5 says, “So know in your heart that just as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” Just as sin first entered the world through disobedience, we have the ability to make choices and decisions that can either honor and obey God or turn our back on what He says in His word. We may willfully neglect or ignore what we know He calls us to do. God cannot ignore sin and He will deal with it.
3. Satan’s Schemes – John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.” Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Satan never ceases to work against God or us. The devil delights in finding ways to throw disappointments, damages, and disaster our way. He revels in seeing us miserable and hopes he can find ways to turn us against God or at the very least encourage us to live with lukewarm tendencies toward our Heavenly Father.
What are some of the truths about suffering?
1. God is present, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Matthew 28:20 says, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Jeremiah 23:24 says, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”
2. God is sovereign. Our Heavenly Father, the Great I Am, has ultimate authority; He has Lordship over all. All of creation, all beings, the devil, even nature come under His dominion. Revelation 21:6a says, “And He told me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Colossians 1:16 says, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.” Romans 11:33 says, “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!” Psalm 103:19 says, “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.”
3. Man brought sin into the world, not God. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned. Romans 8:23 says, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
4. Pain has a purifying purpose. Hebrews 12:4-6 says, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
5. Suffering allows us a choice. Will we turn to God or away from Him? Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." James 4:7-10 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
If we can force ourselves to look past our experience or emotions, we will cling to the truth the Bible promises: God is always with us.
What are ways to find help during or after suffering?
1. Get in or remain in God’s word. You don’t remove your oxygen mask when the plane is crashing. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” God’s word is truth and in it, we find rest for our souls and truth that will allow our mind to stay connected to and maturing through Him.
2. Prayer. Communication with God combined with true study of His word will allow your relationship to deepen and your heart to find rest in His truths and mindset. Speaking to God and listening for Him will guide you in humble obedience to where He calls you next. Sometimes disappointment send us on a beautiful path for new ways to honor and serve our Heavenly Father. Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and he will act.”
3. Don’t become a “stuck victim.” It’s normal to process emotions and disappointments. Then a time arrives when you must choose whether to believe God’s truths and accept what has happened or remain in misery that will suck you into a miserable pit. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
4. Find a believer with a listening ear and sound biblical advice who will speak God’s truths. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Pastors, family, or friends who follow the truths of God and will empathize with you without allowing you to stray from developing your walk with God during your situation are blessings.
5. Look Up instead of wondering or listening to opinions from others about why you suffer. Job 2:3 says, “Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one on earth like him, a man who is blameless and upright, who fears God and shuns evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Sometimes suffering does not have anything to do with us. God works in such mysterious ways. We pridefully speculate as to why something happened to us, but God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. What we endure is watched by others and our reaction to suffering may be just what they need to forge an eternal relationship with Jesus.
6. Enlist Christian counseling if needed. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Only a strong, bible-believing Christian counselor will be able to guide you in the right ways that honor God and deepen your walk with Him. Take time to find the right one through recommendations from others you trust, if you need to speak with a professional counselor.
Remember what Jesus spoke in John 16:33, which says, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
God never intended for us to feel or be alone.
1. God calls us to humble ourselves before Him.
2. God calls us to worship only Him.
3. God calls us to trust Him.
How much do you trust Him?
Nothing touches our life without God allowing it. If our Heavenly Father permits something in your life, it doesn’t mean He is evil.
He’s not ruthless.
We must each look beyond self, past our selfish fleshly nature that craves stability and ease, and look at this world with eternal eyes and heart. If our lives were always perfect, we would already be in heaven.
Your life is not about you. Mine is not about me. Each of us exist to bring glory and honor to God. What He allows in our lives is not meant for harm or evil, but offers us the choice to bow to Him in faith and trust that there is a larger action occurring than we can see.
This is exactly why stories of the Bible are so applicable today. Reading the sufferings of Joseph and others, especially Jesus should help us live with the eternal perspective that life is much more than we can bear on our own. There is a bigger picture being created. We exist for much more purpose than what we see or imagine. Jesus is our hope. In Him we place our trust. Christ has experienced the thoughts and feelings we do, He willingly died for us, then rose from the grave, conquering death. Jesus is a man of sorrows and He understands ours.
Isaiah 53:1-7 says, “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
Jesus knew that what He experienced was to glorify the Father. From His lips came no pleas of innocence or cries for relief. Jesus is our model for hope and relationship with God that can only be achieved through Him. May His dignified obedience on the cross be the personal light we use to redeem our mindset for trials and disappointments.
Dear Heavenly Father, You alone are good. What we feel does not define truth. This world cannot change truth or define it in new ways that fit agendas. Only You create and define truth. Father, thank You for Your care. Even when we hurt, when we don’t understand, when we are angry or unforgiving, cause us to draw near to You so that You will draw nearer to us. Allow us to experience life with Your eternal mindset. Help us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of Jesus. Not only that, but may we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. May we remember that You work all things together for the good of those who love You, and are called according to Your purpose. We know that one day You will wipe away every tear from our eyes. You promise us that there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the former things will have passed away. God, we trust in Your word and promises to us. We know Your thoughts are higher than ours and Your ways far beyond anything we can imagine. May we always remember and rely on the fact that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength for we know that Your grace is sufficient and your power is perfected in our weakness. May we boast all the more gladly in our weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest in us. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find value in what you hear, and you would like more information on the topic we discussed today, I invite you to listen to previous episodes. You may find them on the terrihitt.com website. Click on podcasts and type in the topic or title you wish to hear in the search bar at the top of the page.
Let me offer 3 suggestions: episode 002, Protecting Our Thoughts, episode 005, Handling Hardships, and episode 038, Who Masters my Emotions.
Have you listened to my second podcast, “Purposed Parent/Connected Child” yet? I hope you will listen, follow it, and share both of my podcasts with friends or family who would like to choose Christ over culture and be a parent (or be a grandparent) who connects with eternal purpose.
Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.