When bad things happen

  • Oct. 6, 2011 4:00 p.m.

“That seems so unfair.”

How many times have you heard that phrase when bad things happen?

If you are old enough to read this, I’m sure you’ve had many moments of your own where you ask, “why?”

A sudden death, a relationship breakup, bankruptcy, a sickness, troubled children, abuse, neglect, car accidents, house fires, earthquakes – the list can go on and on.

Sometimes there is no reason – we live here where randomness does exist in this vast universe. The world around us can be an orderly, predictable place, showing ample evidence of God’s handiwork.

But pockets of chaos remain.

Randomness will happen: a tornado will destroy one house but not touch another; a car swerves to miss one vehicle but hits the next one; or maybe someone just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sometimes it’s because of our own choices that bad things happen. But we don’t want to think that, do we?

On one hand, we want the freedom to do the things that we want to do, yet we’re mad at God for our situation when it doesn’t work out, declaring: “Where are you God?”

Sometimes it’s because of other people’s choices and selfishness. They have their own will to do what they please and unfortunately other people get hurt in their path along the way.

The Bible never states that our lives will be problem-free. In fact, the scriptures are full of offers of strength, comfort, grace and healing, which leads me to believe that bad things will happen, but help is offered in order for us to get through it.

However, unless there is acceptance that the situation is as it is, then none of those scriptures will give us comfort. Sometimes it even fuels us to want to blame someone. Often that someone is God.

When we question God’s ways, doubt comes in, anger can rise, faith can be lost, bitterness festers.

Isaiah 55:8-9 teaches, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

How unfortunate, I often think, because if I can just know the reason “why,” then I can accept it and go on. But, really, would that happen? Would it make it any easier when we just lost a loved one, or someone was abused?

Would the pain just go away and then it would all make sense?

Probably not.

God does not cause those things to happen to us, but He will always bring order to the chaos. It’s just not always in the way we think it should be. Not that He doesn’t allow things to happen, but He declares that He will never leave us or forsake us and He will  bring us peace and rest if we are willing to receive it.

We all have a choice how to respond to every situation. Acceptance and forgiveness go hand in hand and are the way to overcome. I know of someone who is willing to help with that. He has for me. What about you?


Wendy Townsend is campus pastor of

Southgate Church in Maple Ridge.