How to Live Today » Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

[this teaching has not yet been illustrated]


Sometimes God allows a misfortune to occur to someone because of their wrong choices. Those who are disobedient and turn away from God's commandments will feel the wrath of the Almighty upon them. It is more of a blessing for them to be punished for their disobedience than for them to be allowed to continue in their sinful state.


Sometimes God uses severe natural disasters to inspire people to repent of their sins. God is the master and ruler of nature and has a hand in every earthquake, fire, storm, tidal wave, and volcanic eruption. These natural calamities are visited upon mankind for their own good, to bring out their better nature, increase their devotion to others, and in this way love and serve God.


But why would a just God allow bad things to happen to good people? Certainly, tragic things do happen to good people, and just as certainly it is within God's power to prevent such tragedies from happening should he wish them to be avoided. When a man died suddenly of a coronary occlusion as he ascended a staircase, his wife found his slumped body and cried in agony, "Why? Why would the Lord do this to me? Could he not have considered my three little children who still need a father?"


Two cars collide at an intersection and six people are killed—why would God not prevent this? The mother of an 8-year-old child dies of cancer, leaving her motherless—why did God not heal her instead? A young man dies while spreading the gospel as a missionary—why did God not protect him? A little child drowns; another is run over by a car—why? Some would go so far as to accuse God of unkindness, injustice, or indifference.


Heavenly Father has given each of his children agency, and as a result they are free to willfully violate God's commandments, and their acts of violence and perversion can cause others terrible pain and anguish. Some have used their agency to abuse their wives and children. Sexual abuse of children is one of the ugliest and devastating experiences a child can have. God continues to love those who go against his counsel, and he does not blame himself for their unwise choices.


While the actions of others may temporarily restrict your freedom, understand that you are always free to determine that your adversity will be a source of growth. Isn’t it wise of God to give us trials and sorrow so that we can rise above them? As humans, we would probably remove all physical pain and mental anguish from our lives if we could, and give ourselves lives of continuous ease and comfort. But God knows that suffering can make saints out people and make them stronger.


All suffering has a purpose. It may strike you as hard and very unfair, but when you understand that Heavenly Father has an eternal plan for you, you can be assured that everything that happens to us has a purpose. Every trial you suffer through is necessary for your salvation. If you could fully realize this, you would be the happiest among people and you would consider your trials and suffering to be the greatest of blessings.


The purpose of problems in our lives is sometimes to humble us, and allow us to realize that we need to rely on divine strength beyond ourselves. Jesus has promised to strengthen us in our trials, saying, "All things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory." Sometimes, however, we seem to receive no answers to our sincere and strenuous prayers, so it's important to remember that God answers in his own time so as best to bless us.


Sometimes God, in his wisdom, allows a person's willful evil to cause the agonizingly painful death of women and children so that when Judgment Day eventually comes, the blood of the innocent will stand as testimony against the wicked person, and the punishment Jesus sentences them to will thereby be just.


If you have been the victim of abuse, leave the handling of the offender to civil and Church authorities. Although you cannot erase what has been done to you, you can forgive. Forgiveness heals tragic, terrible wounds. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for them. Eventually your abuser will stand before the perfect judge.


Do not take part in therapy that may do more harm than good, particularly the type of group therapy involving excessive probing into every detail of past experiences long buried and mercifully forgotten. Detailed, leading questions about past abuse may cause you to have thoughts that are closer to fantasy or imagination than reality. This could lead you to condemn someone for acts they never committed. Remember that memory is fallible and that false accusations are a sin.



Also from the creator of The Brick Book of Mormon:

previous arrow
next arrow