Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Question - The Good, Bad and Ugly?

Last week I posted a question and wrote "I plan to post a question every week. Sometimes the question will have more depth than others - depends what stirs my curiosity at the time."

This is an another question post.

Most people that believe in God give him credit for the good things in life. But when it comes to the bad and ugly in life - there are different opinions.

Some people think the bad and ugly are a result of choices someone (ourselves or others) makes.

Others think that everything - including the bad and ugly - that happens is part of God's plan for us.

Others see the devil behind every corner and think that bad and ugly is a direct result of his plan.

Still others think its all a result of this earth we live in.

And many believe in varying combinations of the above.

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Me ... I'm trying to figure it out.

I know enough to know that I don't know why some things happen. I know there are mysteries in life and if I ever tell you why this or that happened - please ask me how I think I know. 

So that's my question to you. Do you have theories about why/how 'the good, bad and ugly' happen in life? If so, care to share? 

11 comments:

kstrandlund said...

That is a tough question, Janet. And one that I'm not sure our human minds are fully able to process or comprehend on this side of heaven. But, I'll take a stab at it.

I believe that God has a plan and Scripture is pretty clear that He will use everything - even the bad & ugly- for our good. Now, that doesn't mean he WANTS the bad and ugly for us, but I think it does mean he allows it. That is one of those lines and ideas that we can't understand fully. But, I look at Job. God allowed Job to suffer though he didn't inflict the suffering. But God also worked through the suffering and strengthened Job through that experience.

God promises that we're going to experience the bad and ugly in this life. So, we know he knows it's going to happen. We also know that suffering is a result of sin. It may not be a direct result of a specific sin we commit, but simply because we live in a sinful world & the bad & ugly comes with that. Also, there are times when although we do have free will we also suffer consequences when we disobey God. So, sin definitely has something to do with it in my opinion.

I guess I could sit and try to dissect it more, but then my brain starts to hurt and I stop myself. I stop myself and ask if it really matters. I decide that ultimately it doesn't because all I REALLY need to know is that my God has a plan & will work through even the bad & the ugly.

nAncY said...

because we know just enough to get ourselves into all kinds of trouble.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

Maybe because He is good. Because He wants to be our great reward. Because His glory requires it. Because some things are meant to be mystery, like love and how He chooses us and changes us and works in our world that is so small compared to His infinity.

We ask why; He delights to amaze us. He asks us to trust Him. I can't get past this. His heart - it has to be trustworthy. Because He is good. Because He is God too.

My mind is too small for this one.

Rachel H. Evans said...

I have struggled and struggle and struggled with this question. I've read a bunch of theology books about it. I've prayed about it. I've asked my friends about it. I've asked pastors and priests about it. I've written about it. I've worried about it. I've cried about it. I've laughed about it.

...And right now, the most honest answer I can give people is this: I don't know.

(One thing I find oddly comforting is the fact that the oldest book of the Bible - Job - deals with this question. I guess it's been around as long as we have.)

Jeanne Klaver said...

I don't have a clue, honestly. All I know is that I have come through so many disappointments and, what I thought at the time to be hardships, with more faith than ever that God puts me wherever I am supposed to be. Sometimes I think we we have to acknowledge that we simply do not know.

Becky said...

I can't ...figure that out...it's when I rest in His mystery....hold on to His promises and .....I don't know what I will do after that, in the moment..praying I remember His sovereignty and like I said take 'some comfort' in that.

Amanda said...

My take is, I have no idea why things happen to rock our worlds. The ugly seems to be everywhere (or at least it gets around more than the good). But if there's one thing that I've learned about God it's that He's so much...BIGGER...than we are. By that I mean, it's so impossible for us to ever understand Him, so why should we think that we can understand His ways. We could discuss theories and read books all we want, but in the end, we don't know the impact or consequence of anything this side of heaven. We can't possibly understand what our GOD does because if He was that easy to quantify...well, He wouldn't be so much a god as a delightful human ideal. I've pretty much given up trying to figure out the "stuff" of life because usually my conclusions end up being wrong anyway. God is unpredictable and way bigger than the box. The End.

sumi said...

I think...

Sometimes it is the devil - in that case, we can rebuke and resist him

Sometimes it is the fruit of our own stupid choices - in that case, we simply have to go through it, trusting God to redeem even the years that the locusts and the cankerworm has eaten. (He is an amazingly redemptive God)

Sometimes - it is inexplicable, and we go through bad things because God allows it in his sovereign wisdom. In that case, all we can simply do is surrender and trust him to work something in our lives through it.

I think my own pain has made me more compassionate...it has shown me that nothing is impossible, that we can overcome great odds when we lean on Jesus.

Not that I feel like I have overcome completely (tonight I am just downright angry at my circumstances and feel like complaining about how much my life sucks right now)...but I have certainly learned that he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and never leaves us forsaken.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Thanks for joining the conversation by leaving a comment. You've given me more to ponder .. which is good.

The book of Job is often referenced when talking about hard times and there's no denying that God planned and had a reason for taking Job through that tough journey. But I wonder if that's the exception to the rule, not the norm. Kinda like the Jonah story - if you were thrown overboard today, chances are you won't be rescued by being swallowed by a big fish. So many of the Bible stories are in there because they were miraculous - they give us hope, but it doesn't mean our story will be the same ... does it?

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

No, the story is never the same, but the God is. I read Genesis through Job in five days a couple years ago. It changed my whole perspective on God and His story. The people on the pages lived and died and came and went and encountered God. They changed, their stories changed, but He never did. As time moved on I simply saw Him revealing more of Himself.

Life is so not about good and evil. Our lives are about His glory, and we are so small to be used in His story of Himself. As David said, "What is man, that You are mindful of Him?"

Nancy Smed said...

i think there are many reasons why bad things happen. but bad stuff was never God's perfect plan. Adam sinned and sin changed the perfect world. it has consequences, decay, disease, all kinds of evil. God gives us free will as well. so, i would say, yes, bad things happen because the world is corrupt, and because there are consequences to our actions, satan seeks to destroy us with bad stuff, Job shows us that God is in control of what comes into our lives, and on and on . . . . I dont think we can always know what is the reason a specific bad thing happens. But we do need to know that nothing surprises God and He is in control, no matter what. Also, HE supplies all we will ever need in the face of bad stuff. There is fruit that can come from bad stuff, especially opportunity for God to be glorified (think of the man born blind and Jesus ans was so that He could be glorified thru the healing).

Also, I think it is more important to think about how we will respond and grow from the bad stuff. Are we trusting God more, growing closer to Him thru it?
Sometimes, the bad stuff is not for us, but for others good. Like when my mom died, she was the reason my dad stopped attending church and now he comes with us each week. Our response to bad things can draw others to Jesus too.

These are just a few thoughts your question prompted. I think there was more, but I am not remembering them right now. I dont think there is one concrete always the right answer answer to this question.

Before the fall, it was all perfect as God's best plan for us. Bad stuff grieves Him too - think of Lazarus.