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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

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This book used to be a bestseller a few years ago. I am half-way through it and I find it very interesting. It tries to explain why good and bad things happen to both good and bad people. If we are good, are we entitled to expect that only good things will happen to us? Does God inflict suffering on people? If so, then why? He actually comes to conclusion, that there could be some bad things that come to us because of our careless actions or bad deeds, but most bad things happen at random and for no "higher" reason at all and are not cause by God. How can our faith in God help in such situations? I haven't finished the book yet, but it might be a good read for us still coping with H, asking "why me"? How can my faith in God help me cope with my life from now on?

The author actually had a son, who was diagnosed with progeria, "rapid aging". Such children never grow much beyond 3 feet in height, have no hair anywhere and end up looking like an elderly person while they are still children and die in their teens. SO of course, this is the ultimate suffering, suffering of innocent children and their parents who have to watch their kids struggle and die, with no hope of cure and not being able to live their lives to the fullest. This story made me cry. Of course, in comparison to such situations, having herpes seems like a piece of cake:D. The book gives examples of many kinds of suffering and how people react when they find themselves in a various bad and "unfair" situations. I thinks it's a very good book with a different approach to explain why do we suffer and why some good people seem to have to suffer even more. It's by H Kushner

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I knew this guy, he taught/teaches these church classes for college aged people where you go over principles and teachings in the bible and so forth, and one thing he has said has always stood out in my mind. He said he has never in his life had a "bad day". This guy lost like 9 relatives in two years one being a two year old granddaughter. and he swears up and down that he's never had a "bad day". Instead he calls them "hard days." His faith in Heavenly Father is so strong that he refuses to say anything bad has happened in his life. Just hard tests. My church believes that we are on earth to gain a body and to be tested and tried to make it back to our Heavenly Fathers side and third to help others who may be going through the same thing now or in the future. Each test is personalized for us by a loving and caring Heavenly Father, and that he will never ::Never:: put us through something that we cannot get through. I wish I could remember the scripture it's in Corinthians I think. But this memory has helped a lot in the past few days and even months. I just have to keep remembering that it's a hard day not a bad day and that it's happening to me so that I can grow, learn, be tested and to help others. I like to think that I was "called" (in my church everyone is "called" before heavenly father to have a job with in the church. It's voluntary but hardly anyone says no to them".)to have herpes to help other people. I am probably not doing a great job of it now. But maybe one day I will actually help someone. I just need to keep my temper under control more. I have real issues with that...as some of you know already.

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Well, in the book, the author's conclusion is that God does not make bad things happen to us. Consequently, we do not go through hardships and suffering because God wants to test us (which is what I basically believed in - so far: "everything happens for a reason"). He also does not agree that we are not given more suffering than we can handle. There have been many people who were given much more that thay could bear.

God does not cause our misfortunes. Some are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people, and some are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible natural laws. The painful things that happen to us are not punishments for our misbehavior, nor they are in any way part of some grand design on God's part. Because the tragedy is not God's will, we need not feel hurt or betrayed by God when tragedy strikes. We can turn to Him for help in overcoming it, precisely because we can tell ourselves that God is as outraged by it as we are.

God, who neither causes nor prevents tragedie, helps by inspiring people to help.

Are you capable of forgiving and loving God even when you have found out that He is not perfect, even when He has let you down and disappointed you by permitting bad luck and sickness and cruelty in His world, and permitting some of those things to happen to you?

If you can do these things, you will be able to recognize that the ability to forgive and the ability to love are the weapons God has given us to enable us to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in this less-than-perfect world?

Well, so here is the same old thing: love and forgiveness and pull yourself together and go on with your life. :? The author just doesn't believe in miracles. When something is done, there is no use to pray to have it reversed. Our hope should come from our shrength and this is what we should be praying for because this is what God can give us.

That's interesting, because I have always imagined God as being powerful and omnipotent, capable to create and alter and change anything he wants to. I also believe in miracles although I believe more that God helps those who help themselves. If you want to have a million dollars, work hard, but at least buy this lottery ticket once a week; if you want your herpes /other problems eliminated, listen to other people's advice, try to do something about it, not just sit there and pray for a miracle to happen. But do not be lazy, do your part and at the same time pray. So I guess I do believe that God can change anything and that I can pray for it, as long as I make an effort as well.

Who is right :confused:

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I am sorry but I can not agree with that. I know that we are tested and tried for how can you gain anything if you are not put in a place in which to know it. It is not a normal test. For normal tests are for the most part closed book and closed professor/teacher. But the test of life is open book and open professor. Nothing is given unto you unless you can bear it. It may seem hard, real hard but if you go before Heavenly Father and pray things will be ok. They may not turn out the way you want but you will be given comfort and understanding if nothing more. Jesus himself in Mark 14:36 states "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." And the cup was not taken from him. He was placed upon the cross the next day. Does that make Heavenly Father a bad God? No because through that Jesus saved the lives of everyone who would come unto him. Which brings me to my next point that Heavenly Father will only help those that first help themselves. He can only help you after all that you have done. So no he will not just automatically take herpes away through prayers. You have to work at it. DO ALL that you can do and then go to Heavenly Father and ask. He may still not take it away, but there is a reason for that that He may only know. He is all knowing and all powerful. But there are laws that even Heavenly Father himself cannot break, for then he would no longer be God.

A few years ago, I had a friend who was in a car with another friend and her boyfriend. All of us members of the same church. Those three since they were born. I had only been a member for a few months at that point. (No I didn't join because of them, or anyone else) Well the three of them decided to go get some Chinese food. so they hopped into the one guys Mazda Miata. for those who don't know a Miata is a two seater and since there were three of them it was an awkward fit. The driver was a pretty good driver and had never caused an accident. Well that day a car jumped in front of them. The Miata's front was an accordion. The two boys (They were anything but active members in the church. Meaning they did everything the church told them not to and were very closed to being excommunicated, which is very hard to do.) they came out without a scratch. But the girl, she had been tossed from the car and broke her back. the doctors said she would never walk again. She would be paralyzed from the waste down pretty much. Two days later, she was up and walking. A week later she was discharged from the hospital. I don't think that Heavenly Father just said "ok we'll just let her walk again cause I feel sorry for her". her faith and her family's faith was pushed and tried. They had no clue how they would get over their daughter being paralyzed at 20, let alone have these two horrible boys walk away unscratched. But they never wavered from their faith. they worked her hard, but not to hard. The whole family worked on getting her on her feet. And my friend had more blessings placed upon her head then anyone could count. They did everything they could, including going to heavenly Father in prayer and fasting. It was the most miraculous thing the doctors and nurses had ever seen.

On top of that. Even through the hatred her family had to her boyfriend they got married. And two years later were able to be sealed in Our Temple. Which is not an easy task for someone on the verge of excommunication. it was indeed a miracle. But it wasn't cause he sat on his butt, then one day decided to pray to Heavenly father and say "I really wanna get Sealed in the temple." No he had to work at it for two years. And not just on Sundays but everyday. It was such a miracle. And her parents have grown to love him as a son.

So yes, Miracles happen, but only after all you can do. And yes we are tested and tried beyond what we think we can bear. Some fail, parts and pieces here and there. But that doesn't mean salvation is gone. You just pick yourself up and go on to the next one. Will failing one test or even many tests keep you out of Heaven. No. Will many of them feel like they are beyond what you can do? Yes. Look at Abraham. He had to sacrifice his own son. And right up until the Angel appeared and said No, Abraham thought he would have to do it. That he would sacrifice his son. It wasn't because Heavenly Father wanted to play a game with him. It was because Abraham had to learn something about Abraham. That's all that the tests are. They are not for heavenly Father. They are for us. So we can learn something about us. Heavenly Father knows all. He dosn't need to test us for him...but for us. And yes...they are hard. A quote from Jesus. "I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it."

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I don't think God picks and chooses bad things to happen to certain people. It is what it is - life. Shit happens -- More so to some ppl. it seems. A lot of times it's very hard to understand why. Sometimes, there is no reason. It just is. I do believe in the power of prayer and miracles. God never said life was going to be perfect - that's what Heaven is for.

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I didn't mean it as you were arguing with me. I meant more as I didn't want an argument to start when there is no point in one. I have studied the bible in extent for years now and while I hardly know everything in it. Let alone the tip of the iceberg there is just so much to it, I have learned quite a few things. One of the most important things I have learned is Heavenly Father loves us and he will do anything to have us return to him. But there are laws he has to follow or he would stop being God. Justice And Mercy are the most important laws of all. And he cannot put them into play unless we are tested and tried.

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I am new to the forum. So new that my DH(dear husband) and I do not have our test results. I agree with some of the interpretations here, but not seeing biblical support for others. I openly admit that I am no authority on God, so any questions you have please refer to the good book. I use http://www.biblegateway.com/ as a quick reference guide. Don’t allow anyone to tell you anything that you are not willing to look up your self, including me.

Be careful, we are to pursue a relationship with the Father, not a religious experience.

“God won’t give us what we can not handle” that is only the second half of

1 Corinthians 10:13, finish it and read all the text before it and after it, that statement is conditional. If one does not have a strong relationship with God, then one my “believe” they can not handle it. Even the best Christians will have a faith shaking experience, but most find strength through Jesus to manage.

1 Corinthians 10

-11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Funny thing is this particular part of scripture, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 warns specifically about situations like ours. These circumstance where as prevalent then in Paul’s time as they are now. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%2010%20;&version=31;

Gods Rules - well if God lived by “rules” then who is he answering to. I believe that that line of thinking is a theory, putting in question weather God is Alpha, Omega Creator and loving father. Not to be to assertive, but I believe that theory gives fledgling believers an out or excuse for the unexplainable. Especially when it is the innocents. I do not mean to challenge anyone’s spirituality, but I believe that the truth is in the book, any when it is not in the book, me must be diligent not to theories over it. There are no restrictions God is bound to. That fundamental fact is by far the hardest for anyone to swallow. It is God who gave us the rules, and Jesus who saved us with his grace.

Have I been mad at God? Sure, and I tell him, he is my best friend. I figure since he knows my heart, why deny what I feel in prayer. Instead I talk it out. I think my relationship with God like my relationship with my daughter.

I gave her rules, sometimes I allow her break them and feel the consequences. I love her with all my heart, I would die for her, but I can not raise her like a marinate or she will not have the power to stand firm on her own.

Can God cure us? Sure, but one can determine fully why he chooses some and not others. I firmly believe God performs miracles everyday, that is his way of showing he is not sleeping through this worlds troubles. Why me, well best I can figure so I can help someone else. I am not pleased that I may have this, but I still have my life, and my ability to raise and love my family. I am not dieing.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort

Why the innocents? Terminal illness, rape, mutilation of children. - With the exception of some illnesses, most of these occurrences are at the hand of other sinners. God does not promise that if we follow him we are exempt from others sinful behavior, only that he will love us and carry us through if we let him. That is a hard pill to swallow, I personally have not experienced loss of that magnitude. I honestly do not know what my initial reaction to a situation like that would be. I like to think that, I will not blame God and crawl into his arms for comfort.

Psalm 34:19

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,

but the LORD delivers him from them all;

Delivers? - Delivers can be defined in many ways, and yes is can be a cure. Usually the deliverance is the person you become in and through post trial.

I am a Jesus freak, and proud of it, I know that Abraham

Was willing to sacrifice his son for the trust and love he had for God, and God did. I not that good, don’t know that I ever will be. God has a plan for each of us, our days where numbered before we where born. Sometimes tragedy is part of the plan.

Trials - James 1:1-16 we will have trails, what will we do with them.

I heard this somewhere:

A man has gone fishing in the ocean. He is taken out by the current and has lost his ores.( He does not have a satellite phone) What should he do? Prey to God or paddle.

BOTH - We and humans have expectations of God, but we forget his expectations for us.

If you made it this far through my dissertation, I commend you. Thank you for taking the time to read.

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I don't think that God has anything to do with bad things happening to good people. Then again, I don't believe in some omnipotent being out there in the cosmos somewhere looking down on us as if we were his personal little ant farm, either. I did once, but I lost it somewhere, and I'm okay with that.

I do believe, however, that we are our own worst enemies, and if we looked back, we could all trace most of our current misfortunes (either directly or indirectly) back to some errant choice we made at one time or another. Maybe it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Maybe we didn't think it was important enough to give much thought to, or maybe we just didn't want to be responsible, but the roots are there, if we look.

The suffering we create for ourselves is born, not from stupidity, but because we make our decisions based on the information we have available to us at the time. Sometimes that information is incomplete, sometimes it's inaccurate, and sometimes we misinterpret it, or simply ignore it.

We meet someone who seems outwardly trustworthy and sincere, only to find out, after we've become emotionally or physically invested, that they're not that at all. We invest money in something we believe to be sound, or a good cause, and find out later that we've been duped. We trust, we assume, we believe... and sometimes we fail, or others fail us.

Then there are those among us who, for whatever reason, seem to thrive on creating discourse. At some point in their lives they lost what it is inside us, be it conscience or soul, that seeks out the good and the right. Their values are inverted, and the energy they emit is dangerous, and harmful to those who come in contact with them. To isolate yourself from them, would be to isolate yourself from everyone, and who would choose to do that? So we take the risk, because we are not solitary creatures by nature.

But the worst, the most evil and far-reaching danger any of us face, are fanatics for any cause.. be it religion, politics, power, or simple self-serving greed. These people, the ones who believe they have the right to inflict their will upon others, have used basically good people as tools to destroy more lives, kill more people, maim more children, and fight more wars than all the illnesses, accidents, and random acts of stupidity and violence throughout history. And that's because, for some reason, we view their conviction as strength. We allow ourselves to be convinced that they know something we don't, and because it's easy, and to spare ourselves the responsibilty of thinking for ourselves, we follow them. We make them our leaders, and we follow like sheep... usually to our own destruction, or worse, someone else's. Once again, a choice we make.

Catastrophic illnesses, some accidents and natural disasters... these are mostly random things. There is no one to blame, no one to point a finger at and demand to know... why? You'll get no real answer, because there is none. Why? Bad genes. Bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because. What else can you say?

Where does God fit into all this? Nowhere that I can see. As long as we have free will to make our own decisions, we'll reap the consequences. Most of the time, we either do pretty well, or maybe we just get lucky, and our lives go on uninterupted by disaster. But sometimes, well, we screw up, and the floor caves in beneath us. The best you can hope for is to land on your feet, and walk away a little wiser for the wear and tear.

I'm not faulting anyone's beliefs. I'm a great believer in whatever gets you through the day. Whatever floats your boat is fine with me. I'm just tossing my 2 cents worth into the discussion, which is about what it's worth when all is said and done. I don't suppose any of us will really know the answer until we're dead. Frankly, I'm not that curious. ;)

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I am fascinated with spirituality. And I have no problem with anybody's opinion of religion, spirituality and the like, as long as they also see it as their opinion.

No-one knows if God exists. It's called faith for a reason.

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Thank you, Writer

I liked your post. In fact, if I ever get out to Virginia (I'm in So. California), I would like to meet you for coffee. I am a deist, by the way, for whatever that may add to this difficult and controversial discussion.

The question of suffering, particularly the suffering of the innocent, is a big question, perhaps THE question of all questions when it comes to belief in God or any spiritual outlook.

The only area I would quibble with you about is that much suffering happens to those who did not make any particular bad decision, such as those who are born in countries that go through famines or other overwhelming circumstances. And then we have to ask how a newborn child can have a terrible disease or be murdered. Somehow these terrible things do happen. Some people are born with herpes and many worse things. Christians say it's original sin. Hindus say it's karma. Buddhists say it's karma and lack of enlightenment.

I know we all come to terms with this issue as we think best, often through our cultural and religious traditions.

My own view, and, I think, one that is expressed in the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, is that we cannot know why the innocent suffer. It is just not possible for us to have a comprehensible explanation, an understanding of the ways of God. Even if we could have an explanation, it would not help us in the least if we were suffering some terrible loss such as the death of a child or other beloved person. No explanation would ever be good enough to make us say that what we lost is perfectly OK with us.

We cannot know WHY these things happen. I believe that the important question we can ask is what we can do in response to it. Our job is to exercise compassion and to provide comfort and help to those who suffer. That is our role, not the impossible acquisition of unknowable wisdom concerning the issue. We cannot know why but we can attempt to decide what we can do to alleviate or ease suffering even if it's only to a small degree. We have our role to play and we can play it without infinite perfect wisdom about it.

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Brainyblond, I'd love to meet you for coffee. How about we meet halfway... say... Oklahoma? Bring your cowgirl hat and boots, and we'll try to blend in. ;)

Actually, I understand exactly what you're saying. For some things, there just is no knowable explanation, and even if there were, it wouldn't make things any easier. When an innocent suffers, whether God has a hand in it, or whether it's just happenstance, the circumstance remains the same, the burden is just as heavy to bear. Believing that you know why doesn't make it seem logical or justified, or make it all okay. And yes, you're absolutely right. It's not the why that counts, but our response that matters.

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