The perspective of faith says that if God is all good, how could He allow something bad to happen to people? This can lead to the spiritual challenge that how could God have let X happen, he must not be there or may not love me or I can’t have faith in Him anymore.
However, a different understanding on the classic question “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People?” is that bad things don’t happen to good people. It’s that undesirable things happen to good people–just like undesirable things happen to anyone. It’s not easy (not promising I can always do it), but the events aren’t bad unless the participant calls them bad.
I may not want to have cancer, wreck my car or lose a family member, but that doesn’t mean that having those things happen is bad from the perspective of faith. When I had my heart attack, that certainly wasn’t something I wanted, but it’s led to many other good things. The perspective on the first day after the heart attack has evolved into a more accepting attitude. Since then I’ve been filled with gratitude. Also I’ve developed deeper relationships with my family and friends.
From a post-modern perspective, things are what we call them. If I say I’m depressed, I may be magnifying the problem when I’m just having a sad mood. I can get clinical depression, but if I don’t have any ambition on a given day, it may be just part of the ebb and flow of my life. The words I choose can give me the empowerment to overcome the difficulty with my own resources.
I’ve heard people call themselves lazy when, to my perspective, they are just procrastinating and labeling themselves unnecessarily. If they call themselves lazy, then they don’t have to challenge themselves because “that’s just the way I am” instead of working to break out of a pattern.
If I would call my child “shy,” that’s going to cement in my mind and in the child’s mind, that he or she is going to react to new situations a certain way. Then, these become self-fulfilling prophecies. The child folds up like a fan and stops exploring social possibilities and new experiences.
So along those lines, I’m not harmed unless I believe I’m harmed. Bad things don’t happen to me, undesirable things happen to me. Bad things don’t happen to good people. Life doesn’t always give me what I want, but I can move beyond anything that I face.
Original image: God is good, all the time. By David Woo [Image license]