Why Do Bad Things Happen? #2

Warning: rambling, incoherent post ahead – I’m writing this while I have “the Funk.” Not the Bootsy Collins, Parliament Funkadelic Funk, but the “Why is it I exist again?” Funk.

Indirect consequences are hard to understand – bad things happen every minute of every hour of every day in every village, town, city, state, nation, region… sometimes they make ‘sense’ to us through whatever lens we use to interpret life’s happenings, good & bad. A lot of the time they don’t. When bad things happen for which we see no ‘direct’ cause, especially to people that don’t ‘deserve’ it (as though there are some that really, truly should be afflicted with cancer. Loss of loved ones. Freak accidents. Bad news. you get the picture.) we want to know the WHY. Why is this happening?

It becomes a focal point for us to work through what we believe about God – & often our ideas of who God is & what He should be doing… because we view God as the One who saves us from bad stuff. We obey Him, we serve Him, because its like a ‘get out of trouble’ card or an exemption from the suffering that plagues the rest of humanity. We see it as “we do our part, obey, & then He does His part: provide, protect, avenge, heal, restore, etcetera.” When life doesn’t happen like that, we wonder what we’re doing “wrong.” Or what others have done wrong. Or why God is seemingly sleeping on the job, allowing, or even worse, causing bad stuff to happen. Or at least not intervening when He could have.

This is where indirect consequences come in. And a misunderstanding about God & His nature. And the temporary, finite world that we live in. And what love is.

Here’s my take on the WHY or origin of Bad Things:

  • God created everything – then He formed Adam & Eve.
  • God gave to Adam & Eve the dominion (the power or right of governing & controlling; being in charge of) over the Earth.
  • When He did this handoff, there were no disasters. No death. Destruction. Suffering.
  • At a most crucial & inopportune time for humanity, Adam & Eve handed off the God-given dominion of the Earth through their sin & disobedience, to the enemy, the adversary, the devil – referred to in multiple places in the Bible as the “prince of this world” the “ruler of this world” & the “prince of the power of the air.”
  • The result of sin? Death. Every time. Millennia have gone by, with the sin & the consequences of sin, sin done to self, done to others, piling up like the world’s biggest garbage dump – spewing its filth & spreading its tentacles, permeating every layer of humanity.
  • The Earth is cursed because of sin – & what God created & called “good” & “very good” now is filled with earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, pestilence,(all of which are referred to, interestingly, as “ACTS OF GOD;”) famine, all kinds of sickness & disease…
  • The enemy, the one who was a murderer from the beginning, who has come to steal, kill, & destroy, continues to do that… in the dominion he was handed by humanity.
  • Bad things happen because of sin. Consequences received directly & indirectly. Because of the enemy. Because of millennia of the crud of sin piled up.

    And in the middle of it, God did not & has not abandoned us – from the beginning, He has been the solution to our sin – & He purposefully intersected humanity with the Cross of Christ – which changes everything, not just in the temporary finite world we live in, but for eternity.

    He never leaves or abandons us – He stays with us even when we’re in the middle of what seems to be the pit of despair – He is our Comfort, our Shelter, our Rock, our Fortress, our Hope, our Inheritance. He has placed Himself squarely in the middle of life’s bad things – God WITH us. Immanu’El.

  • Pain


    A tragedy has hit our dear friends – a day meant to be one of great rejoicing & celebration of the newness of life is instead crushing. Numbing.

    I feel powerless. Broken into small pieces. Wishing there was something that I could DO to make the pain go away, to make their situation better. To ease the loss. The most well-used cliches & religious pontifications come off as insensitive, thoughtless, & antagonistic. This pain is beyond words, beyond being able to be fixed by something that we can do or say.

    I know of nothing – except being. Standing with. Standing by. Loving.

    Celebrate with those that are celebrating.
    Rejoice with those that rejoice.
    Weep with those that weep.
    Mourn with those that mourn.

    I pray for peace. And grace for our friends.

    Processing pain… from a distance.

    Some dear friends of mine are in pain. Not the kind of pain that you know will fade with time, the kind where their bodies’ healing process kicks in, taking the often slow but still rather dependable journey to some semblance of health. No, this is a pain w/o a promise of healing.

    They’ve experienced a violation from a close relationship, a trusted friend, the kind that shakes your faith in any humanity, & causes you to look at every area of life, every other relationship more closely… to subject others to examinations & questionings that seem so inappropriate, so untrusting to even think of friends this way… except for the fact that the violation happened. From a close friend, a trusted associate. One with whom sweet fellowship has been shared… They keep waiting to hit bottom, to finally come to the end of the Painful Revelations, where the depth & breadth & scope of the violations could finally be processed or at least assessed, instead of tensing up the gut, waiting for the next punch of disappointment to hit.

    (BTW: please, please don’t get lost in the sweet fellowship comment. Think of it in the very best way you can, w/o the cynicism & jaded-ness. Thanks for that.)

    Though I’m at a distance, their pain is mine as well. I’m trying to walk through this & to help them too. To point them to One that doesn’t disappoint. To remind ourselves of Easter & the ramifications of it. To look inward & ask the Spirit of God to explore the depths of my soul, every nook & cranny, exposing the things that lie in wait to wreak havoc. My prayer is:

    Search me Father – know my heart. Try me, know my mind. If there be any wicked way in me, pull me to the Rock everlasting.

    contemplation ahead…

    TheMoses & I are planning a retreat…

    For the last year or so, we’ve been talking about going to a place together where we can disconnect from the regular & get away for some contemplation… (in the vein of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book by Scazzero.

    After lots of searching, I found a place that is relatively clost to where we are, Vina, California. In early April, we’re off to New Clairveaux for about 3 days. It’s a Trappist monastery that allows individuals & small groups (up to 3 at a time) to come to their site for rest, personal enrichment, silence, etc.

    A bonus is that the monks support themselves by making vino – you can find out more about that HERE.

    I’m not sure what to expect, other than some quiet personal reflective time, & also some bonding time with TheMoses.