Initiate a Google search with the words, “bad things happen to good people” and the search will yield 401,000,000 results in .41 seconds, including books, articles, blogs, images, and videos written and created on the subject.
Bad things happen every day – the news feeds are filled with evidence that confirms that. Bad things happen even to good people – there’s evidence in every person’s life that confirms this. There is something, some kind of pain every person experiences.
There are a lot of people who want to believe in God but can’t get past the fact there is so much pain in the world. The pain in the world, the bad things that happen can become one of the greatest barriers to right relationship with God.
This “bad things” hurdle was the focus of part 4 (No Heart) in CCC’s God in a Box series. The early church leader, Paul wrote about a “thorn in the flesh” he begged God to remove. The answer he got in response was surprising but also transformational in Paul’s perspective about pain and God.
Take a few minutes to read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and the next step of considering the following questions about how bad things can impact our view of God.
- What are some of the “bad things” you’ve seen in the news?
- How do those “bad things” make you feel about people? About God?
- What does the phrase “thorn in the flesh” mean?
- If taken literally, what is a physical “thorn in the flesh” you have faced?
- If taken figuratively, what is a “thorn in the flesh” you have faced?
- How did that “thorn in the flesh” impact your perspective on and view of God?
- How does asking God to but not having the “thorn in the flesh” removed impact how you see and what you believe about God?
- Why do you think people reject God because bad things happen to good people? In what ways is this understandable? In what ways does this not make sense?
- How does God’s grace indicate his presence in the midst of pain?
- What does it mean for God’s grace to be sufficient? Why is this so challenging to embrace?
- How is God’s power at work in our weakness?
- What does it mean that we are strong when weak?
- What next steps will you take to see God’s purpose and presence in the midst of pain?
God has a purpose and is always present in the midst of pain – whether we believe it or not. The reality is the world is a broken place because of sin. The world simply doesn’t work as it did in God’s original creation. While this is true, it doesn’t serve as a source of comfort for people when bad things happen to good people.
There are people who reject God because they conclude God doesn’t care or has no heart because bad things happen to good people. They are not rejecting God but a distorted view of a god that doesn’t exist. God always has our best interests at heart – because of his heart – whether we choose to believe it or not.
Today is Monday – make it a day that you discover God’s purpose and presence in the midst of pain!