“Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is an ancient question, though often asked as if it’s new. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes says, “There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing” (Ecclesiastes 7:15).
Answers to this age-old question do exist, the simplest is that since people gave into temptation near the beginning, havoc—caused by humans and by evil spirits—has taken hold. The time between now and when God takes full control of the world again is just grace; the moment He does is the end for all evil, including those who have not chosen Christ as their Savior.
The only way to fix the world is to rid it of all evil, but the Preacher doesn’t offer this deductive explanation. Instead, he notes that life is a series of balancing acts, and he uses hyperbole to make his point (Ecclesiastes 7:16–17).
The Preacher goes on to say, “For the one who fears God shall come out from both of them”—that is, the bad and good experiences (Ecclesiastes 7:18). The real answer to that age-old question is as profound as the original: learn to respect God.
We won’t ever truly understand the complexities of good and evil, or the interactions of light and darkness—just like we will never understand our ever-changing universe—but there is solace in the knowledge that in the end, it’s about respecting God. And the first step towards doing that is having a relationship with Christ.
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