As a child, I was given blank pages with a scattering of numbered dots. I drew a line from one dot to the next until I could see the mystery picture. Today, when I have trouble answering questions about life, I often pray, “Lord, if you would number the dots, then I could connect them and understand.”
The Bible is filled with wisdom and knowledge, but connecting the dots and getting everything to add up can be difficult. When I look at the night sky, I see lots of stars, but I have trouble picking out the constellations. If only they had numbers, then I could connect the truths and see the whole picture.
When people ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” they know something doesn’t add up. They can’t connect the dots. They also can’t answer why good things happen to bad people.
Connect the Truths
Dot 1: Jesus said rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). The same rain that waters the crops can wash the crops away. He confirmed that bad and good falls on everyone.
Dot 2: The apostle Paul said all things work together for good for those who love God and are working to fulfill his purpose (Roman 8:28).
Dot 3: For those who don’t love God, who aren’t working to fulfill his purpose, all things will work together for bad. People may claim to have done good, but Jesus rejects them (Matthew 7:23–23).
Dot 4: The steps of righteous people are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). The “rain” of pain and suffering tests us, strengthens us, and proves our faith. Some steps may look bad, but after they take us to eternity in Heaven, they must look really good.
Dot 5: Pride will destroy a person. (Proverbs 16:18). Unrighteous people’s steps may look good, but they must be bad when they lead to eternity in Hell.
The Big Picture
If I think bad things happen to good people or good things happen to bad people, I’m only seeing the dark part of the picture. If I could see the whole picture, connecting all the dots, I’d know that wasn’t true. Jesus connected the dots for us when he described sick and suffering Lazarus living in eternal joy while the rich man cried in agony from the fire (Luke 16:22–25).
Your Father in Heaven causes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good. He sends rain on both the righteous and unrighteous. You should show kindness as he does. — Matthew 5:45, The Discussion Bible