*I actually did not mean to post bad things happen part one yesterday... I had not finished it, but apparently posted anyhow...*
So, Part 2.
The truth is, I am no expert at why bad things happen to good people. It is a very difficult question to answer and explain that even though bad happens, God is still so good. I can only say that if we allow Him do so, God will use all the ugly in our life for His glory.
I, myself, have made bad decisions at times. Those results were at times messy. But God used them to teach me about grace and love and forgiveness at a depth I never could have explained without the experiences through which I walked. I can now talk to others and share and truly relate to grace. As I said, losing my mom to cancer was a devastating event for me. It reshaped me. I miss her every day in a way very few can understand. However, God has used that to give me a sensitivity for others walking through grief. He has given me an understanding of what it is like to literally watch someone you love die and say goodbye to them.
The people in Brisas del Mar, Colombia, did not ask to be a village ravaged by the drug wars. But as I stepped foot into their home, I learned what love looks like in the face of adversity. I learned about service and sacrifice. Their bad situation and how they respond has taught me how to be better.
God says in Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
I have been called for His purpose, and I know that. So I hold on to that promise, knowing that even when bad things happen, somewhere, somehow, He has a reason for it that will be used for His good, His purpose. While the verse can often be abused or misinterpreted, I believe Paul was telling us as believers that those of us who follow Him and seek Him... we may not always understand why what happens happens. But we can be confident that God is in the midst of our life, no matter what. And if we allow Him to do so, He will use the bad "thing" happening for His glory.
In my life, He has done that, although it is not always evident in the moment. I often times have to cry, be angry, process, pray, journal, talk, and work out whatever might be taking place.... but He is always in it. I do not always see the "why" of it, but I can look back and and see how sometimes... How He has used it all to keep molding me into who He wants me to be.
I close with an analogy I heard from a christian band. Tenth Avenue North was speaking in between songs at their concert. And the lead singer was addressing the idea of why do bad things happen to good people. He was sharing about a hard time and talking about how he essentially was praying about that and asking God why...
And the thought he said God brought to his mind has stuck with me. I'm not sure I can convey it quite as well as he did, but I hope it can be made sense of in my translation.
He said in his prayer time, God basically laid on his heart this thought when he asked "why do bad things happen to good people..."
God impressed this on him... "Why do they call it Good Friday? Because in the end... I won. Good Friday was a very dark day. But I had victory in the end, 3 days later."
Meaning... we call the Friday before Easter Good Friday. I had never thought about that. But why is it "Good" Friday?* There was not much good about that day. Jesus was crucified, put through horrible physical pain and suffering we can't even begin to imagine. But it is called Good Friday.
Why? Because in the end... while that day was dark and painful and unimaginable to us today.... He ultimately had the victory. He won. He rose from the dead! He did not stay down.
So, every time this has been asked of me lately, I recall that story. Bad things do happen to good people. And sometimes, we lose a battle. We face death and grief and hurt and job loss and change. But... God has won the war. And I do not have to fear because His is the victory!
(*I am not a historian or a theologian. There may very well be another better, more sufficient answer to the reason it is called Good Friday. I'm not saying there is not. I simply liked that explanation and it has stuck with me.)