Why Do Bad Things Have to Happen?
I don’t think I know a single person who has not looked up at the sky and screamed “WHY?!” No matter how long standing of a relationship we have with our Creator-we still when really bad things happen, throw our hands to the sky, tilt our head back and yell WHY?!
Now, we wouldn’t question why the serial rapist’s or pedophile’s helicopter goes down in the middle of a group of cannibals, nor why a kidnapper gets stabbed by a petty thief for the contents of his wallet and bleeds to death in an alley. To those, we would say “Well, they got what was coming to them.” Poetic Justice. Karma. Reaping what you sow, it doesn’t faze us much.
When a chain smoker winds up with lung cancer, or an alcoholic gets liver disease- we feel truly sorry for their pain, but find it understandable. They abused their body for decades, so we don’t question God as much here as we shed our tears. If it’s a little child whose diagnosed with cancer or gets a disease though, we question that and we question it hard!
When the single mother of five is killed by a drunk driver on her way home from picking up groceries, we’re ticked.
When our coworker, going way above the call of duty at work gets passed up again for the promotion, this time for the lazy bosses’ niece, we’re upset.
When a seemingly small accident or trip, throws something in our body off so much that we go from no pain to a level ten pain daily, we’re really not happy.
WHY?! WHY DO BAD THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN AT ALL?!?!
One word sums it all up: Contrast.
Our God is a Master of contrast. If contrast didn’t exist, we would not appreciate what we have. You might think otherwise, but Adam and Eve had everything they needed in pure nude bliss, yet with no contrast, they didn’t realize it. I used to not believe contrast was necessary, and in the unfair instances I HATED contrast. I finally understood the need for it thru something as simple as the weather.
I live in Florida you see, and here it looks the same ALL YEAR LONG. It’s pretty much always sunny, palm and pine trees and the ground is level/flat everywhere. Even the beach to me is blue sky on blue water and a flat line on the horizon. Not at all like the beaches in Sicily, not enough contrast here. I love and long to move to a place like Tennessee or the Carolina’s again, where they have some contrast in their views throughout the year and in the landscape. That’s why people love travelling Europe…beautiful architecture and age-old scenery with amazing details and color.
I LOVE the mountain views in the fall. Heck, I love a good backyard view in the fall! I love the winter when it’s cold and bare and a chance to play in snow for a few days and I get to wear cute boots, scarfs, and sweaters! I love the spring when the green leaves start to grow and then colorful flowers burst onto the trees and bushes like HELLOOOOO, We’re back!! I love the summer when the sweaty heat finally makes the lakes and pools warm enough to swim in, thousands of fireflies come out at night, wild berries and watermelon are in season and there are backyard barbeques to bring desserts to. I don’t appreciate summer in Florida, because it’s summer all year round here! I love the changes in the seasons, because they offer some contrast and a fresh perspective.
Contrast is necessary to help us learn and see things differently. Some things happen because we live in a fallen world, and there are universal principles that affect our lives here. If I feed my body cheap fuel that doesn’t keep it healthy, parts are going to break down and symptoms of that might begin to show. I might get dark circles under my eyes, feel tired, depressed, gain/lose rapid weight and have symptoms of dis-ease. This contrast in my normally good health, would hopefully cause me to seek out better food for fuel, develop better daily habits and take higher quality supplementation to rebuild the parts I caused destruction to. When better health than ever is achieved, how much more will I appreciate it and maintain it now-having gone through the pain of not having it in the past?
Contrast teaches us to be grateful for what we do have, because we can see the contrast in others who don’t have it. Contrast helps people make decisions too.
I view God kinda like a painter, and His life through us, is the canvas. It would be a very boring picture if He made it all shades of white with a little yellow and pink pastel. You wouldn’t be able to read this blog if I had typed in a white font unless I made the background dark. A painting with a lot of contrast in the colors, is beautiful and pleasing to the eye. Our life is His painting, and the strokes of His brush are just and righteous, even if right now it appears messy or painful…when the whole is finished, it all just makes sense. We just don’t get to see or comprehend His finished work until the end of this age.
A great example is one of my favorite artists, Leonid Afremov. His paintings are so passionate and vibrant with specks of dark and light, they are absolutely beautiful. You can find his paintings at www.afremov.com but here is one example that depicts how all of our different parts create one gorgeous piece. This is his ‘Farewell To Anger’ painting below.
Our Creator lives His life through each of us, we are all like individual pixels that make up one big photo of Him. We can’t see all the pixels because we’re in a pixel we can only see the ones attached to us. We’re not looking at it from His vantage point. Perhaps our pixel is surrounded by dark spots which feel rotten, painful or ugly to us, and others are surrounded by light areas of joy, comfort and happiness…we don’t know and can’t understand why this is our lot in life. Our individual print is stuck to the canvas…we can’t step back and see what is really happening around us or in the future of the painting so we are not always privy to the beauty our pain helped to make possible.
I don’t always understand when I see human suffering. Sometimes I too fall into the trap of thinking I could do it better than God. “I wouldn’t let that baby have died.” Or “If I was God, I would do it this way.” But I am not able to see the big picture, none of us can, we have an extremely limited scope. This was the original reason for the fall of the celestials. They thought they could usurp God and do things better than Him. Many of us fall into the same mind trap when we see things happening that we don’t understand.
It’s easy to doubt and judge God because many of us view Him only as the best version of ourselves, but He’s infinitely more than we can comprehend. He operates by purpose, not by pleasing. I can’t please everyone in my limited life. There are some people I love that I can never please and vice versa. You can’t please everyone. As a human we know this, yet we often expect it from God. God doesn’t operate based on pleasing everyone.
He acts according to His will and design for the production as a whole. Art would be boring without some contrast. Movies and books would be dull without an intriguing plot, a good guy and a villain. The world is His artwork, He is it’s Creator and Director. He created the heavenlies, the galaxies and everything that breathes does so because of His life within them. He loved it all enough to sacrifice Himself to redeem it ALL in His appointed timeframe for each one.
Love is an action word…and He IS LOVE, Christ proved that at the Cross when He brought us back into Himself as righteous sons and daughters of the Most High. So even when we want to scream why, even when we want to buck and bolt, even when we can’t grasp His purpose in our storm…it is in our best interest to just trust in His love and in His timing. Knowing that this life here is short, and one day we’ll get to see the big picture. <3