“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You . . . I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’”
— Job 42:1–2, 5–6
Have you ever said, “Why me, Lord?” when something bad happened to you? Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, tried to answer this question. Unfortunately, Rabbi Kushner’s conclusions were not Biblical. Kushner says, “God would like people to get what they deserve in life, but he cannot always arrange it.” He says that God does not really control the events of this world but helps us respond to them in more positive ways. But the Bible says that God is all-powerful and all-good, able to do anything and wanting to bless us.
Another example of Kushner’s unbiblical assertions is that Job, a man who endured tremendous tribulation, thought of himself as a good man. But notice what Job actually says in Job 42:5-6 after God confronts him: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When Job asked God, “What have I done wrong?” God did not answer his question. Instead, God just showed Himself. Through this revelation, Job came to see that God has no limitations and imperfections whatsoever, and that by comparison, he himself was vile.
None of us is good; none of us deserves unending blessing. The Bible says so. So the question is not “Why do bad things happen to good people?” but “Why do good things happen to bad people?” Peter tells us that we should not be amazed when fiery trials come upon us. We should expect that God will try our faith with fire, so that we might come out as pure gold. For He is in the process of forging our character, drawing us nearer to Him for now and for eternity.
Have you been experiencing a severe trial in your life? Don’t despair. Instead, thank God for the trial, no matter how difficult, and keep trusting Him. God will never disappoint you. Our false, unbiblical perceptions of Him might, but He Himself never will.
“If it is true that all of us deserve hell, then anything
we get in this life, less than that, is gracious.”