Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People by Bev Herring

Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people?

Maybe you’re one of the good people. . .wondering what’s been happening to you.

I believe they are three reasons.

First, the choices you make or don’t make today affect what happens to you in your future.

Just imagine. . .that ten of your brothers were born to your father’s first wife.

Just imagine. . .that ten of your brothers are not only older but considerably older than you.

Just imagine. . .that your father made no secret that he loved your mother more than he did the mother of your ten older brothers.

Just imagine. . .that your father clearly demonstrates his love for you more than he does for your older brothers.

Genesis 37:3 says:

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.”

Just imagine. . .how you would have been treated all your life by your older brothers who realized their father favored you over them.

Genesis 37:4 says:

“And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.”

I will admit that I’ve never experienced any of the emotions experienced by either Joseph or his brothers. . .as I have the distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest child in my family.

But I can imagine. . .how the brothers would have felt when Joseph made a decision to tell them about his dreams of reigning over them.

Genesis 37:5 says:

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”

I find it interesting that even before Joseph told his brothers about the dream they hated him for it.  This scripture clearly shows that was a long-standing and heart-felt hatred of Joseph by his brothers.

We can be fairly certain that the coat of many colors wasn’t the first time Jacob demonstrated his preference for Joseph.  I’m sure these emotions weren’t hidden from Joseph.  Perhaps Joseph enjoyed the advantage he held over his brothers and let them know it by telling them his dream.

Genesis 37:6-7 says:

“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.”

As you might imagine, his brothers who already hated him didn’t react too kindly to this dream.

Genesis 37:8 says:

“And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”

In Genesis 37:9-11 we read where Joseph had a second dream and the reaction was the same, if not, more intense.

Now you might say, had Joseph kept his mouth shut his brothers might not have hated him as much. . .he might not have been sold into slavery and ended up in Egypt.

Now I want you to think about that last statement I just made.  Imagine what would have happened to Joseph, his family and future generations of Israel had he not gone to Egypt.

Yes, a bad thing happened to Joseph because of a choice he made to tell his brothers about his dreams. . .BUT GOD turned it to good.

Genesis 50:20 says:

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

If we yield our lives and our hearts to God. . .there are times when we need to realize what we’re going through isn’t just about us.  We need to learn everything we can about everything we go through.  Preparation, even though painful at times, always precedes promotion.

Everyone who does anything will go through their own wilderness experience.  Our success depends upon our response to it.

Second, bad things happen to good people because of the choices others make or don’t make. . .and either way you have no control over them.

Joseph’s brothers made a choice. . .to be offended by his dreams and Jacob’s favoritism toward him.

No doubt they murmured among themselves. . .talking about how unfairly their father was treating them.  I can just hear it now.

“Why does father treat us this way. . .we do everything he asks us to do.”

“Why does Joseph get a special coat and we don’t?”

“Why doesn’t father love us the way he does Joseph?”

“It just isn’t fair.”

The point is. . .they choose to hate their brother. . .they choose to plan evil against their brother. . .they choose to sell him into slavery. . .the brothers made a choice . . . which carried consequences beyond anything they could perceive or expect.

They failed to realize how it would affect their father. 

Genesis 37:34,35 in the New International Version says:

“Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.  All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." So his father wept for him.”

I have often found that people who make choices based on unscriptural beliefs find themselves living a life of limitation and lack.  They generally don’t have the ability to see possibilities.  Such was the case with Joseph’s brothers.

But once again, what the enemy meant for harm. . .God turned to good.

Third, there is a devil and his main goal is to neutralize your effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

The enemy uses three basic tactics .. He’ll accuse, deceive and tempt. . . that’s it.  However, he’s been pretty effective using only those three weapons.

If we’re not wise to his wiles . . .aware of his tricks, traps, lies and deceptions then we will fall prey to his cunning ways.  If we compromise with sin or disregard God’s instructions in the Word, then we will reap a harvest of consequences.  We don’t have to be taken down.  God provides a way out.

Bad things can happen when we do not walk in the fullness of God’s Word.  If we’re armed with the Word, then we’re dangerous to the devil because of our understanding of the authority we have.  The ability to overcome every attack of the enemy is given to us and as we walk in it, we will get better and better at defeating him at his own game.

One more thing to keep this in the forefront of your mind.  Like  Joseph. . .God can turn every bad thing that happens to you into something that will bring glory and honor to Him.

The question is what did we learn when facing, enduring and overcoming bad things.  From what we see, Joseph endured many unfair trials and betrayals in Egypt before God turned his captivity and made him second in command to Pharaoh. 

We must learn to trust God and know He is our source … no matter what!

Genesis 39:2 says:

“And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

We must learn to endure when we are doing right and things go wrong.

Genesis 39:10;20 says:

“And it came to pass, as she [Potipher’s wife] spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

“And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”                                                                       

We must stand ready to help others because it is the right thing to do.

Genesis 40:7,8 says:

“And he asked Pharaoh's officers [chief butler and baker] that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?

“And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.”

We must learn to not become discouraged when others let us down.

Genesis 40:21;23 says:

“And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:

“Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.”                      

We must forgive those who have treated us grievously.

Genesis 40:15 says:

“For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”                         

Though his brothers sold him into slavery, Joseph forgave them.  Though he was lied about by Potipher’s wife and thrown in prison, he looked to God.  Though he was forgotten by him to whom he showed kindness … Joseph held steadfastly to his faith in God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-12 in the Message Bible says:

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us…Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.

“We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us…It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation…”

 What the other people or the enemy means for harm God always turns to His good.  Our part is to endure to the end so He can.