When moments of hardship and heartache confront us, we can easily begin to wonder whether or not God is for us, if He cares, or if He’s even there at all. So here are 3 stories to encourage you if you’re asking, “How can a good God let bad things happen?”
A Story of Comfort
David was a man of passion. He loved God with everything he had, especially with his headstrong leadership, vibrant worship, and heartfelt poetry. When reading over David’s words, we see that his cries for comfort and connection are the same ones often heard coming from the deepest part of the human soul.
Betrayed by his loved ones and deemed an outlaw, David ran from the people and places He once called home. Not perfect by any sense of the word, he also gave into lust and infidelity. However, he always turned back to the One who held his greatest desire. During life’s most desperate moments, David penned the reassuring truth of Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me.” He compares God to a good shepherd, who takes special care of His sheep. No matter the terrain, David could rest assured that they would inevitably face it together.
In His ultimate kindness, God comforts us with the reassurance of His constant presence. He promises that we are never alone. His Spirit is there to comfort us, guide us, and speak peace to us. And that’s a reason to be encouraged today.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
A Story of Healing
Job was a man of integrity and great wealth. He honored God, yet his beloved children somehow missed that memo. Raising kids is hard enough, let alone when they choose to act foolishly. So being the loving dad he was, Job prayed for them habitually in hopes of seeing them grow into all they were created to be. But little did he know that he would soon lose everything (and everyone) that was precious to him.
After a series of catastrophic events, Job is completely stripped. His finances, some of his employees, and even the lives of his children are taken. On top of everything else, he ends up bearing a miserable sickness and endures physical anguish. In Job’s great lament, he bereaves what he once had. After much time and deep discussions, He musters up the courage to set God as Lord above all of his suffering. From complete barrenness, Job profoundly proclaims: “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
While Job was in excruciating pain, God had an excellent plan. Job questioned the purpose, but God answered with His promise. God’s faithful hand moved upon Job, bringing about total healing in His way and time. Job’s physical, mental, and spiritual healing highlight a sovereign truth: God heals our broken pieces, and He alone knows the best way to do that. His way may look different than we expect or anticipate, but He does have the perfect plan for us. And that’s a reason for us to be encouraged today.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11
A Story of Mercy
Mary of Magdala was a woman with a gruesome past. She was once possessed…not by one, not two, but a grand total of seven evil spirits. (Can you imagine the turmoil and stress she endured, along with the darkness and oppression she faced?) Then, Mary encountered the only person who could save her from the evil within.
Through redemption, Mary follows the ways of Jesus and even has the opportunity to serve Him during His earthly ministry. With a newfound joy and gratitude, she faithfully stands by His side. But in a horrific moment of betrayal, their mutual friend turns against Jesus. Though guiltless, He dies on a criminal’s cross. Mary, along with a few of Jesus’ friends and family, was with Him until His last breath. She follows his breathless body to the graveside and mourns a life seemingly taken too soon. A few days later, Mary returns to the tomb and discovers His buried body has disappeared. Overwhelming worry and grief lead her to tears.
Then, a man in the garden asks Mary, “Why are you crying?” and lovingly calls out her name. Immediately, she recognizes the voice. In a moment of full restoration, she turns and sees her Lord! Mary becomes forever known as the first person to encounter Jesus after His resurrection. Once held captive to her past, she is now a messenger with a story to tell. And oh, what a story it is: great mercy is the good message we share. The God of heaven came to meet us and set humanity free. He shows us mercy in seasons of separation and suffering, proving Himself good. And that is a reason to be encouraged today.
“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them what He had said to her.” – John 20:18
A Story of _________
So if you are still asking yourself, “How can a good God let bad things happen?” maybe another question to consider is “How is my good God revealing Himself to me now?” Is there something that He wants you to know about Himself? What does your story reveal about the character of God? Share your story here.