Slight of hand and twist of fate.
One of the most frustrating questions for people who are curious, yet skeptical, about Christianity is the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I can’t claim to have the answer to that impossible question, but I can at least take a stab at it.
Throughout the history of humanization, “man” has struggled to bring glory to himself- if it means conquering and killing, abusing others, taking them as slaves, and any other hellish action that can be filed under the category of “Greed”. Man has become rich, by taking from others. Man has become rich, and refused to share with others. But in the end, it works for man. Because he gets what he ultimately wants- glory.
Ultimately, being rich and famous isn’t about knowing that you’ll always have all your needs and wants fulfilled. It’s knowing that you’re above others, in a carnal sense. That you are special. That you are envied. That others want what you have. That’s the glory of man.
What a waste.
I equate the glory of man with bringing hell to Earth. Literally raising hell. Instantly, I can think of three Biblical examples when man tried to bring glory to himself, he ultimately was cursed by God.
Adam eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, after Satan telling Adam that he could become like God. Cursed. The future of man would suffer death, evil, and pain.
Moses using his staff to draw water from the rock for all the people to drink. Then instead of saying this miracle was by the grace of God, Moses himself took the credit. Cursed. He didn’t get to live in the Promised Land.
King David taking a military census with the intention of realizing how powerful and successful he was. Cursed. God brought a plague and hundreds and hundreds of people were killed.
In all three instances, God wanted the glory, but man took it from God.
Why do good things happen to bad people? God is blessing them (with power, wisdom, intelligence, money, health, etc.) and they are taking the glory for themselves. By taking the glory, they are refusing God’s true blessing. And that may mean that instead of blessing the people that the bad person influences, the bad person now brings on an earthly curse to them instead. Of course, in the end, the man who refused to give God the glory will be the one who is cursed in the worst way.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Because in the end, if that person is willing to glorify God through it, the person will be blessed. I equate glorifying God with bringing down heaven to Earth.
God wants glory. And so does man. Good things happen when God gets it. Bad things happen when man gets it. But right now, God is allowing man to do what he likes. Yes, God may choose to intervene. But often He does not. Because it’s possible that through a bad person’s bad actions, God can be glorified through an affected good person’s good actions- those actions include bringing glory to God through it, however they can find a way.
This concept even sheds light on why “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” is so important that it’s one of the Ten Commandments. We can chose to use God’s name to sound cool (“Oh my God!”, “Jesus!”, “Lordy, Lordy, Tammy’s forty!” etc.) or we can chose to use God’s name to actually reference Him in a purposeful, postive way (“The only reason the Nashville flood didn’t get my house is because God spared me”).
Because even everyday good people like us still run the risk of taking glory from God. In our everyday, ordinary events. I try to keep that in mind at all times. For me right now, it’s about my wife and I trying to sell our house.
We work hard to keep our ads active on Craig’s List twice a day. And we keep a good looking “for sale” sign out front with a plastic sleeve containing colorful, creative flyers. We keep our house in immaculate condition. Plus, we know for a fact that our asking price is thousands less than everyone else in our neighborhood.
Yet it’s all the other houses that are selling. All around us. Because they’re going through realtors and we’re not.
Everyday, throughout the day, together and while we’re apart, my wife and I pray not only for the right person to find our house, but also that God will be glorified through it. Because as opposed to us saying, “WE sold OUR house!” we can say, “Thank God! He brought us the right person and they bought our house!”
But even if He doesn’t bring someone to buy our house, if He doesn’t bless our solid efforts to sell our house without a realtor, and we have to throw in the towel and pay thousands to a realtor, God will still be glorified through it.
Our lives ultimately are about one of two things- raising hell (by taking the glory) or bringing heaven to Earth (by giving it to God).