In Our World, Bad Things DO Happen! Why?
by Del Hungerford (2013)
NOTE: This article is from the Christian point of view of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" from the "General Articles" page. So many Christians are asking "Why is this happening to me?," when going through the trials of life. Maybe this article will provide some insight...
The book by Rick Joyner, "The Torch and the Sword" is an amazing insight into the Kingdom of God and answers many looming questions. I've spent much time finding various scriptural references to support what's explained in the book. Joyner talks about his conversations with God, as well as others, during a series of visions and dreams. If you don't believe in visions and dreams, check out how often they occur in the Bible. I believe you will find references to over 300 hundred such examples. If visions and dreams weren't so important to God, He wouldn't have made sure they were not included in the Bible. Yes, we live in the new covenant but... God does NOT change and still speaks to His people in the same manner He always has.
In addition, the book "If This Were a Dream, What Would It Mean?" by Murray Dueck, he fully explains how God speaks to us through dreams and visions, as well as every day events around us. Both books are found on Amazon.com or on each author's web site. In addition, Murray has an entire web site and school (Samuel's Mantle) devoted to learning how to "hear" from God. (www.samuelsmantle.com) Rick Joyner's web site is located at: www.morningstarministries.org.
Both Rick Joyner and Murray Dueck teach and "show" God through their own experiences. We all have a personal testimony. It's that testimony that God uses to reach others around us, if we allow it to. When horrible things happen in our lives, we have a choice whether to turn that into something good or let it destroy us. Think of every trial in life as a "test" of your character. What is your response to that trial? If your answer is to respond with humility and learn from it, you've just discovered the key to unlocking how to grow up. Read further...
Bad Things Happen Because We Live on Planet Earth:
Imagine for a moment that you're in the city dump. Piles and piles of trash are heaped on top of each other. You can smell it from miles away (at least you can where I live). For months, the trash man brings his load from the city and piles trash on top of trash. Things are rotten, having been in the process of decay for months or years.... rotten food, baby diapers, yard waste, etc. When that load gets too disgusting, they bury it and add another layer. I think you get the picture. Some of you probably can "feel" what it smells like. It's not a pretty sight or smell. I think we will all agree on that.
Now, imagine the beginning of time when God created Adam and Eve. In Genesis, it says that God created Adam and Eve "in His own image." (Gen. 1:26-28). The Bible tells us that the earth was created perfect and that man was also sinless. He gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth and told them to "subdue" it. (v. 28) He also commanded them not to eat of the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Gen. 2:17) Why do you think God said this to them? God knew that as soon as man ate from this tree, he would see the difference between good and evil. At that point, death and decay would begin to set in. This decay would be spiritual as well as physical. Well, as we all know, Adam and Eve did exactly what they were instructed not to do. (Gen. 3) The moment this decision was made, "decay" began on the earth. Plants and animals started to die. People's live spans got shorter and shorter. Adam had to move out of the garden and work for a living. The daily walks that Adam and Eve both enjoyed with God stopped. Their communion with God was never the same after "the fall." The soil was no longer friendly to Adam. Adam and Eve set into motion how their sin would affect all humanity. They set all forms of decay in motion.
Back to the city dump... The dump is full of nothing good. It's smelly and rotten. The more it decays, the stronger it smells. Sin is the same way. We know that sin started with Adam. So, from the moment that Adam and Eve sinned, we've been in a state of decay since. Sin piled on top of sin, from generation to generation, gets to the point that we can hardly stand the state of decay. Hate leads to bitterness and rejection. Arguing and constant disagreements lead to wars, which always produces death. Lust leads to sexual sins of all kinds, and the list goes on. Unless we stop the decay, it only intensifies. We are literally walking out the consequences of Adam's choices. There's a reason that Nehemiah repented for the sins of his ancestors. He knew the importance of repentance in order to move forward. (Nehemiah 9) God speaks to Joyner in his book...
"The time is approaching when no man can survive what they have unleashed upon themselves, and they would all perish if I did not put an end to it." (p. 87)
What have we leashed upon ourselves? The answer is simple... we've sinned. Sin creates decay. Decay continues to get smellier and smellier as the ages go by. There's a point where the stench of sin will be so bad, it will be hard to be in its presence. In addition, our sin affects the natural world around us. Not only did decay in humanity and "beasts" begin, but so did the decay of earth itself. We see evidence of human sin by what we've released into the atmosphere (various toxins) that have caused many strange events through nature. These aren't "acts of God." They are acts of human choices.
We live in a place (earth) where people are selfish, kill, hate each other, destroy each other, abuse each other, etc. We are passing along that sin to one another, unless we stop it by repenting. Sin reproduces after its own kind. Sin produces more sin. It gets smellier and smellier as it gets more piled up. The way around this is through love. The problem is, few people know how to show love any longer. We give in to the cares of our world and let those cares rule us. Joyner again states in his book...
"The weapons of our warfare are not natural but are divinely powerful. Their strength is in the life and nature of God. He [Jesus] came to give life, not to take it. We overcome evil with good." (p. 173) A scriptural reference for this statement can be found in 2 Cor. 10:4.
So, back to my question... Why do bad things happen? When you live in a place that functions in sin, it will produce after its own kind. The way to stop it is to function in love, humility and repentance. When we learn how to function the way God intended us to, sin has no choice but to "bow down" to the love of God. God's love covers sin. Because humans tend to be selfish, it's easy to let what goes on around us, rule us. If the enemy can get us to focus on the bad that happens, and then on top of that, if he can get us to believe that we are "no good for nothing rotten people," then he has us right where he wants us. Joyner says of our enemy...
"The devil does not just like to kill, but he loves to torment. In everything he does, he tries to reduce human beings to the lowest animal state. He thinks if he can cause such humiliation to men who were made in the image of God, it is a way to mock God Himself." (p. 117) See 1 Peter 5:8-9 as a scripture reference.
As long as we live on earth, we have to live with the behaviors and actions of those around us. As we pray daily protection over ourselves, we learn to rely on God's strength, not our own. Bad things will happen. And when they do, what is our attitude going to be? Joyner is involved in a situation in his dream where something he'd done caused the problem. He knew it by this time and states to those he's with...
"Obviously we have all failed in some major ways, but I have learned that what often disqualifies us in people's eyes is the very thing which qualifies us for the grace of God. We're all that He seems to have here, and He obviously still likes to use the foolish and weak to confound the wise and strong. Our weakness and foolishness is what I think has us here. But I also know that He does not want us to remain weak and foolish, just humble enough to seek His wisdom and His strength." (p. 138)
In this story, Joyner is saying he'd been foolish. He admits his mistake, which is always humbling. It's that humbleness before God that allows God to work in us. This was the case in this particular story. Joyner learned from his mistake. If you read all of chapter ten in the book, you see how his mistake produced after it's kind. It affected those around him. Many were innocent bystanders that were all affected by his decision. Some of those people also made poor choices, which led to an even bigger mess. However, Joyner realized his mistake by the time we get to page 138. At that point, he had to walk out the rest of the consequences of that decision. So did those affected by it. If you want to know the rest of the story, you'll have to purchase the book to see how it turns out.
We can all think of examples in our lives where a decision that we made negatively affected those around us. If you can't think of anything, ask God. He will be faithful to show you. Please note... none of this is said to condemn or make people feel worse about themselves or those around them! We must all understand that we live in a world that cares for itself. However, we can learn to live IN this world but not be OF the world. This simply means to not let what happens in life destroy us, make us bitter, and keep us away from our walk with God. In addition, we are not to join in on the sinful activities of those around us! "What is your posture: body, soul, and spirit" during persecution? I had a pastor ask me that question once. It's a good one. In looking at an abusive marriage; if you're in one, you're suffering persecution at the hands of your abuser. What he's doing is wrong. We all respond differently to abuse. Some lash out; I went into my "cave." Neither is good. Our reaction to most things comes directly from what's in our heart. What's the motive of the heart? That motive will show up in how we treat people and how we react to circumstances. This is how you will know people's "fruit."
I will use myself as an example. The year 2009, was a particularly hard year for me. There was lots of death and destruction all around me. Two people that I worked with were killed; one by an abusive husband and the other by suicide. In addition, within in a year of the first death, the new ex-wife of my ex-husband died of unknown causes. Oddly enough, something major (and not good, either) happened around every holiday for the entire year. These events are what led me to read Murray Dueck's book "If This Were a Dream, What Would It Mean?" That particular "timeline" of my life went from Memorial Day Weekend in 2009 and ended in the summer of 2010. I will say this; I made some mistakes. Very few of these events were caused by anything I'd done. However, I did have a choice on how I reacted to the circumstances. Sometimes I reacted better than other times. The key for me was that when I noticed I'd "screwed up," I repented and moved forward. In one case, the turnaround was immediate. I became the scapegoat and knew it. Had I chosen to become angry and bitter, the outcome would have been much different. Because I knew what was going on, it was a little easier not to personalize the situation.
The point here is that life will very often stink, much like the city dump. Some of the stuff that happened in 2009 was as a result of my own making. Other events were attacks leveled against me. Still others were because I live with people, and people do stupid things. How I reacted to each of the circumstances often determined the results. Knowing that ahead of time, helped me make it through the year. I didn't always respond correctly but, I do believe that these "tests in life" helped me grow up a little more. It was MY choice in how I chose to respond to each and every circumstance that came my way. The same was true in my marriage. I failed miserably some times and others, I succeeded. We all do the same. The key here is to LEARN from the mistakes. Lack of humbleness is a killer for learning anything. Pride ALWAYS comes before a fall! The less we walk in pride, the more we learn, and then can grow from the circumstances around us. I finish this section with another quote from Joyner's book that fits life so well...
"If we are going to win the battle, we must stand together and cover each others mistakes... Apologies and humility will turn to trust, therefore allowing the wariness to come off us so we can fight." (p. 126)
Although the setting is different in Joyner's book, the quote is still true for the "battles" we face daily. Which do you choose when circumstances come your way? Will you walk in humbleness? Even if you didn't cause the circumstance and are an innocent bystander, you can still choose to seek God and HIS way of dealing with it. He will show you the way. But, will you follow?
As a recap, here are some things already stated elsewhere on this web site with additional clarifications:
- God gave us each our own will. We can choose how we want to run our lives. God allows us to make our own choices. You can read almost anywhere in the Bible and see where God gave people choices. He often warned them of the consequences if they made the wrong choice. Many did, and suffered the consequences. When God gives us choices; that means we have the freedom to do according to our own will. God did not create robots to serve Him. As Rick Joyner says...
◦"The Lord put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the center of the garden of Eden for a crucial reason. There can be no obedience from the heart unless there is freedom to disobey." (p. 99)
- God created people that wanted to make the decision to obey, or not to obey. God allows what we dictate, by our own wills. By not allowing us to walk out what we choose, God goes against everything that He is. Free will allows us to make a choice. God's grace and love allows us to walk out the consequences of that choice. Unfortunately, innocent people get caught in the "crossfire."
- Why do bad things happen around us? What happens when you get in the crossfire of anything? Sometimes you get hit, and other times, you don't. This is one reason that we should pray God's protection over us every day. This is no different than any event that occurs around us. Until the second coming of Christ, we live amongst the problems of this world. We should allow the bad circumstances to build our character. Will you choose to be bitter? Will you choose to be hateful? Yes, we may all at some point have these feelings but eventually, in order to be free from them, we must forgive and then not be bitter. You learn to work through the negative feelings by putting them at the cross of Jesus and allowing that burden to be on HIS shoulders, not yours. That is part of the reason he died for you. (see example below)
- Does God allow bad things to happen? I'm of the belief that God doesn't want bad things to happen to us. I believe scripture backs that up. However, he knows that they do, and will. We live in a sinful world. Where there's sin, there's going to be horrible things that happen. When there's no more sin, then there will be no more problems. As long as people continue to behave the way we do, bad things will continue to happen. It's back to the "sewing and reaping" principle. We as people living on planet earth, are walking out our behavior, both the good and the bad. It's your reaction that allows your personal "sewing and reaping" season to begin for that circumstance. A natural disaster (or something like that) may happen. Did God allow it? Again, I will state here that we live in a sinful world. When you have a world that breeds violence through games, TV, movies, etc., you will expect to reap some violence in personal lives. When you have a world system that throws family values out the window, you will see the effects of that through our behavior. Sin affects everything around us, including nature. There are spiritual laws set in place that must be played out. How you choose to react to anything negative, or positive for that matter, will affect your personal outcome. The choice is yours. This is why it's so important to watch the words of our mouth. Remember that they create both life and death. (Prov. 18:21, James 3:3-6) Begin to speak life over your circumstances rather than death. It's the better of the two choices.
- An Example from Rick Joyner to give us a picture.... as the Lord showed him what He (Jesus) took upon his back for us when He died on the cross. Remember the forty stripes? Well, this is what Joyner saw on Jesus...
"Then He turned around and I saw His back. He was still wounded, and the wounds were terrible. As I looked at them, they were magnified. I began to see darkness, disease, despair, and death. I felt grief and mourning that were worse than anything I have ever felt before. The grief grew to be as strong as the joy had been. I felt that I was gazing into hell itself. As I continued looking, I saw anger cascading into rage and murder until blood flowed like a river. I saw lust grow into a raging, hot disease that was erupting like a volcano, destroying everything in its path. Over everything I felt a gripping selfishness, which was the exact opposite of the oneness with everything that I had felt before, and it released a choking darkness that burned my lungs. It, too, was growing and expanding. When I felt I could not live much longer in the terror and despair that I was feeling, I cried out for the Lord to save me or kill me." (pgs. 85-86)
Immediately after this "vision," Jesus says to him "You must learn to walk in My presence in the midst of evil and prevail. If you do not abide in Me, you will be overcome." (p. 86).
- We lack "abiding in the presence" of God and often don't "overcome" our circumstances because of it. The more we abide in our Lord, the more strength we have to overcome the darkness around us. It is no different for us than it was with Joyner in his vision. Later in the book, Joyner says of the circumstances they were facing ...
"Our greatest strength was the torch and the sword, which I carried, so I knew I had to go first. I did not want to hesitate, so once the people were formed into companies, we prayed, thanking the Lord for all of the great things that He had already done for us, and that He always leads us in His triumph. Then, with a determination to keep thanksgiving and praise in our hearts, we started forward." (p. 142)
If and when we learn to walk in love and unity with each other, we can overcome evil around us. It's not a total lost cause. However, we must first learn to trust God and go humbly before Him. It starts with one or two of us and grows as more become in unity. Why do you think we have churches warring against each other? The answer is to keep us out of unity. When we choose as Christians to walk in love with each other, we can then have more influence over the darkness that surrounds us. The enemy knows this so he works overtime to keep our eyes on the circumstances instead of on God. When we do that, we don't see Father God; we see the evil around us. This keeps us from "abiding in Him" (our Lord Jesus Christ). For the enemy, it's all about keeping us "out of fellowship with God." Choosing to look past the evil and staying close to God THROUGH the evil, allows God to move on our behalf. This is fellowshipping with Him. Praise and thank Him for His goodness, no matter what's going on around you. If enough Christians did this, we'd begin to see murder, strife, lust, hatefulness, and all kinds of evil subside! Demonstrate love. Demonstrate kindness. Demonstrate joy. Demonstrate peace. Demonstrate ALL the fruits of the Spirit and it will become infectious. The more people that do it, the more the darkness surrounding us will be overcome! Darkness cannot stay where there's light.
When you are faced with adversity in your life, will you do as Joyner did by praying, praising, and worshiping God? By doing so, you are bringing light to the situation. If you do, you WILL overcome. Remember WHO it is that goes before you in battle, if you let Him. The key is to trust that God is who He says He is and that He'll do what He says He will do! Open up the door and let the Light in. It WILL dispel darkness. However, it all starts with an invitation from us. God will not force Himself upon us. If we want His help, we must ask. NOW is the time!
So, in the spirit of recycling, rather than taking all that awful stuff to the city dump, God takes it and "recycles" it for HIS use. When we take a bad situation and allow God to turn it into good, it's like taking our trash to the recycling center so they can re-use it. Even when we've messed up, God can and will recycle us if we let Him. "Renewing" trash is like renewing our minds.
Dueck, Murray. If This Were a Dream, What Would It Mean?. Abbotsford, BC: Fresh Wind Press, 2006.
Joyner, Rick. The Torch and the Sword. Fort Mill, SC: Morningstar Publications, Inc., 2003.