One of the questions going through many of our minds is why this? Why is this person (me) having this problem at this exact moment in history. I haven’t even asked this question yet. The grand and sovereign God that has undergirded my life for the first 44 years of my life will do the same for the rest of them whether they be another week or another 60 as per my paternal grandmother who died just four years ago (that’s right 104!). All that He pleases He shall do whether in the heavens above or on the earth below.
This does not mean that I am living at some supernatural level of faith, for I still wake up every morning to the reality that all is not well with my brain and we don’t yet know what to do about it. I wake up every day to a sort of Groundhog day reality that I would never choose on my own, not from a million possibilities. I really do want to be around for many more years to love my wife , raise my family, spoil my grandchildren, preach God’s Word to people who hunger for it and try to create an ever increasing thirst for the supremacy of God in all things in people.
But I don’t ask why. And it’s not because I am in denial. I am fully aware of the possibilities that await me. It is very common for people to ask the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Undergirding this question is the assumption that if a person is a known louse, carouser, etc. they are just getting what they deserve…or at a minimum “it’s sure good that it happened to that person over the other one.”
Behind these kinds of questions I think there is a fundamentally flawed view of human nature. We are sinners, every last one of us. We have demeaned God’s glory and sinned against Him in countless ways. Therefore, all of us deserve to perish. But for apprehending the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross all of us would perish.
I came across an interesting passage in the Bible a couple weeks ago that I think sheds some light on this subject of why bad things happen to good people. In Luke Ch. 7:1-10 Luke tells us of the encounter that a centurion (Roman leader in charge of 100 soldiers) had with Jesus.
As the story goes the centurion had a personal servant who was “highly valued by him.” This servant was near death and something had to be done. The centurion did not know much about Jesus but knew that He was in the area. He sent several Jewish elders to Jesus to ask him to come and heal his servant. They did just that. They found Jesus and pleaded with him earnestly saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”
And what was Jesus’ response? He went with them! I’m not buying the idea that Jesus went with them because he too believed that the centurion’s servant was “worthy to be healed.” This man was not worthy to be healed. No man or woman or child is worthy to be healed.
The fact that the centurion possessed a better theology than the Jewish emissaries is evidenced by what happened next. As Jesus and the messengers neared the centurion’s house the centurion and some friends wnet out to meet them before they arrived at the house, saying to Jesus “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.”
This beloved servant, however noble, useful and loved he was was not worthy to be healed. But Jesus did heal this man, presumably for the glory of His name, to testify to His supreme authority over sickness and death, and because He loves to come to the aid of the sick and weary. Every good thing from God is by grace alone. We would be better served pondering questions like “Why does not more pain and suffering come my way?”
The last time I looked the rain was falling on the fields of the just and the unjust alike with seemingly no distinction. So what to do? Keep trusting in the promises of Jesus…promises like “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Life is but a vapor but Jesus is an everlasting, ever-satisfying, everflowing stream. Worthy to be healed? I think not. Grace to keep swimming, drinking and enjoying? Lord, bring it on.