Why Do Bad Things Happen To Me?
By Pastor James Exline
You can’t turn on the news, you can’t read a newspaper, without learning about more bad news. Another shooting, another death, another missing child, the list goes on and on. And the worst part, many of you don’t have to watch the news or read a newspaper to know about bad news. All you have to do is look back on your own life or perhaps look to right now. Many of you have gone through or are going through hell—divorce, the lost of a loved one, sicknesses, abuse again, and unfortunately, the list goes on and on.
Why do such terrible things happen? For the answer, we need to go back to the beginning of mankind, to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world with no problems, death or sickness, and no bad news. They enjoyed flawless relationships with each other and with God. However, the instant they went against God’s will for them and ate the fruit from the tree God told them not to eat from, everything changed.
In Genesis 2:16-17, God warns Adam, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” There are two clues within that verse as to why bad things happen to us today. God tells Adam that if they eat from that tree, they are sure to die; if you eat from that tree, death will become a part of life.
The other clue in that verse is the type of fruit itself, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Not only would eating the fruit from that tree result in death, it would also bring about the knowledge of or firsthand experience with evil. God warned them that disobeying him would result in both death and an intimate acquaintance with evil. Prior to that time, life for Adam and Eve was exactly what God planned for mankind for us; a perfect life that was only good, a life where evil did not exist or affect anything.
Another major affect of Adam’s original disobedience to God was the transfer of this world and authority over it from Adam to Satan. That is the real motivation behind Satan tempting Adam and Eve. He knew if Adam sinned, he would gain control of and authority over this world. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Bible refers to Satan as the god of this evil world. Adam’s sin relinquished to Satan the authority originally given to him by God as seen in Genesis 1:28. God tells Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
This world was originally a perfect, sinless world in which Adam and Eve lived in perfect unity with each other and with God. God’s design for this world was one in which you and I would live in the same way—perfect unity and a perfect life and world. It was God’s design for us to live in a perfect world. It was man’s willful choice to sin that began the chaos that we now experience in life.
Do you know from personal experience death, sorrow, crying, or pain (physical and emotional)? Have you been through something horrible? If you are reading this, the answer to that question is “Yes!” All of us have been through terrible things, and some of us have blamed God. However, we are living, as explained earlier, in a world affected by sin and governed by Satan, whose purpose is to rob, kill, and destroy, as described by Jesus in John 10:10.
There is good news, however, and that good news is Jesus and the cross. Jesus left his glory with the Father and stepped into our broken, sin cursed world, and took on human flesh and with it all the agony and terrible things with which we suffer. And he did this all for mankind, for you, so that you in the next life and for all eternity, can live the perfect life God intended for us to live—the one sin destroyed. By God’s grace and love we can have a relationship with Him, forgiveness of all the sins that have been separating us from him, and eternal, perfect life with him.
Revelation 21:3-4 sums it up. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”