The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. ~ Denis Waitley
This now brings us to the universal question asked by every generation…
If I am good & loveable, why do so many bad things happen to me?
In other words…
Why do bad things happen to good people?
I will not be presumptuous in telling you that I have all the answers to such a difficult question, but I will, for the sake of time and space, give you my abbreviated response.
Bad things happen to good people because…
Earth just ain’t heaven!
You see, in our Creator’s magnificent plan, He made a very good place called planet earth and populated it with very good and very loveable people. (See Genesis 1 in the Scriptures for more details) But within two chapters of this beautiful beginning, we find in Genesis 3, human beings begin making very poor decisions made out of immaturity and self-centeredness. The Scriptures call it sin, which actually means that you and I, when we’re left to our own devices, take it upon ourselves to run our lives outside the perfect will of our Creator. It’s in this immaturity that we say and do things that are so self-centered and self-focused that we miss the mark when it comes to being the good and loveable people we were created to be.
Now, sometimes people ask me, “Why didn’t our Creator step in and stop all the badness right there and then? Why didn’t He just take control and pull us back into the safety of His garden?”
The Divine Creator, you see, in probably one of the toughest decisions He’s ever had to make, decided long before the problems started, to give His greatest creation, humankind, free choice, which means that we will always have the right and responsibility to make life decisions along the way.
And therein lies the rub.
When our human will is focused on doing good, this world can be a beautiful place, full of good things and fruitful living for all. But when that same freedom of choice is used in very immature, selfish ways, the results can many times bring bad consequences, and at times even result in bad things that just might kill us, if we’re not careful.
Think of it this way.
If we love our children, we want them to be free to explore the world, learning wonderful life-lessons along the way. So as parents, we send them outside into the big, beautiful outside world, but we remind them to 1) stick together, 2) watch out for one another, and 3) be sure to stay away from that busy street that’s loaded with fast-moving cars and trucks, some of which are being operated by uncaring, impatient drivers! Yet, every day, a beautiful and innocent child is seriously injured, and sometimes even killed, because of their failure to follow these simple instructions. In truth, bad things can happen to good children, but despite that risk, I don’t believe any parent would choose to never allow them to step outside the safety of their own home. Would you?
You see, our Creator, our loving parent, could choose to call everybody back to heaven, lock the doors and keep us safe. But, where would that leave us? Mindless robots with no choices to discern. Worshippers of the Divine, but no freedom, choice, or creativity in the matter at all!
Hmm. So, if you were in charge, which would you choose?
Freedom to explore the wonders of the world, with the personal responsibility to stay away from those things that might kill you?
Safety from those things that might kill you, but no freedom to explore the wonders of the world?
Well, as you most likely have already determined, our Creator chose the latter. And rightfully so. Because of that decision, you and I are free to be thinkers and feelers, decision-makers, and pursuers of good. But I must also warn you. As I said earlier, this place we live in is not heaven. It’s not a place of complete safety. There are temptations to be aware of. Bad things we must separate ourselves from. Ugly things that can happen when immature people like you and me get hurt by bad things. And as one counselor friend of mine puts it, “Marty, hurt people hurt people.” And so, it goes.
Thus, for countless centuries, humankind is given the responsibility to learn how to live and move and have our being in an absolutely beautiful, but quite dangerous environment we call planet earth. And along the way, each one of us is given the eternal hope that 1) we are good and loveable, 2) we are not alone, and 3) we can, with the help of our loving Creator, learn to walk out our lives, pursuing good over bad.
So where are you in your journey?
Chances are, you’ve had a good share of all of it…
Good. Bad. And ugly.
Welcome to living life on planet earth!
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