Published February 11, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"Bad Things - Good People" (Part 2)

Last week in this column I began a mini-series on the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" We saw why suffering came into the world when Adam sinned and how even the leading characters in the Bible faced suffering — and how they came out of it even better than they were before.

So today, with that background, I'd like to begin looking at seven different reasons why bad things can happen to "good people."

First, pain and suffering can alert us to dangers.

In the body, that's what pain does. It tells us something's wrong. Something needs attention. Recently Shelia and I began our oft-nightly walk and, before going more than half-a-block, Shelia and I simultaneously experienced several sharp pains. We were being attacked by bees! (I don't know why – we're "good" people!) We weren't doing anything to harm those bees, but they obviously disagreed. But because of that pain, we were quite quickly alerted to the fact that something was wrong! So we took immediate action. We swatted away the bees and then went home to dress our wounds.

Is something in your life causing you pain? Emotional pain? Relationship pain? Financial pain? Perhaps God is allowing this to alert you that, in His eyes, you need to do something. Once He has your attention, the lines of communication open up (if you allow it).

So (and this second item builds on the first), pain or suffering may be God's way of trying to get your attention.

Recently on the broadcast I interviewed Brenda Robinson of a group called New Desire. She has an amazing testimony. When she was 24 she started having "grand mal epileptic seizures." These were violent convulsions. One veteran neurologist told her he had never seen such a bad case. She had severe bruising and scarring on her brain. Doctors told her she would not live past age 30. But at age 30, God healed her.

Here's what Brenda told me: "I knew God was dealing with me. The Bible says a father chastens those he loves. And I had a doctor look at me and ask me this question. He said, ‘Is there something in life that you're supposed to be doing but you're not?' Paul, I was saved at the age of 12 years old at an old campmeeting revival. And now the Holy Spirit pierced my heart and said, ‘I told you to sing at 16 and you said to the Lord, "I'm not good enough." And He said, "Everything I make is very good"'... So I had to realize then that Brenda had to get over Brenda – and get obedient to the will of God."

Brenda did "get obedient." This woman who doctors said would die by age 30 is now in her 50s, thanks to God's intervention. She has no traces of problems from her earlier medical problems. And she's busy with a ministry that involves not just singing but also, especially, ministering to troubled marriages.

So, is God allowing "suffering" to come into your life to get your attention? Sometimes – by God's grace – that "suffering" might only rise to the level of "discomfort" – or even just "inconvenience." But it's a "red flag," nonetheless. What does God want you to do that you're not doing? And when He does get your attention, how will you handle it?

Next week, we'll look at more reasons  why "bad things happen to good people."

- Paul

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