January 29, 2014

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

When tragedy strikes, people often ask “Why did God let this happen?”  Here are a few responses we have heard to that profound question: 
  1.  God must have a reason.
  2.  God gives us trials to make us stronger.
  3.  Everything happens for a purpose.
  4.  God never asks more of us than we can handle.
Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, suggests such responses to pain and suffering are “hollow and offensive.”

Evil people have free choice to inflict pain, cause chaos and commit appalling crimes like the Holocaust and 9/11.  And good, moral people are diagnosed with frightening diseases like cancer. In either case, there is no satisfactory answer to the question why an omnipotent, all powerful God permits his people to suffer. 

To attempt to answer that question leads the inquirer down a twisted path of philosophical and theological assumptions and paradoxes which ultimately suggest the essence of God is beyond our comprehension. Simply said, when bad things happen to good people, it is often beyond our sense of justice, fairness and understanding.

Rabbi Aaron Moss of Sydney, Australia says when experiencing tragedy, “Stop looking for answers ...Take your righteous anger and turn it into a force for doing good ... Let your outrage propel you into action.”

Pastor Judy White of the Bluff Point United Methodist Church in Bluff Point, New York suggests that when tragedy occurs, the question is not WHY it happened but HOW to cope.Judy answers that question with this statement of faith: "We are given things to bear, but only through the strength God gives us can we get through it."