We tend to think we know why good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people—but we don’t. The books Job and Ecclesiastes both blow that theory out of the water by chapter two. Because bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people ALL THE TIME. So the wrong fill in the blank to fill in is:
Bad things happen to good people because_________.
The right fill in the blank to consider is probably:
Things happen at all because _________.
Because the answer is the same for both: “I don’t know.”
And if you’re honest with yourself, you knew “I don’t know” was the answer all along.
The bigger question, maybe even the biggest question in existence, in my opinion and I think Job’s opinion (certainly it’s God’s opinion), is whether or not you can be ok with that. In fact, its not only whether you can leave the answer blank, but whether you can leave it blank in love.
In the book of Job after all the massively reasonable arguments are argued regarding why good or bad things happen to good or bad people—arguments, by the way, heard from every pulpit, pew, doctor’s office, courtroom, barstool and not least of all, from everyone’s own mouth—God finally shows up and says this crazy thing to EVERYONE who has ever argued a reasonable case for why:
“Who darkens these counsels with words full of lies?”
And then he banishes everyone for being completely wrong except for Job, the guy who is suffering.
And then God, and God alone, begins asking the questions:
“Why do I cause it to rain in the desert where no man sees?”