When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Have you ever had the feeling that God just wasn’t on the job? That He wasn’t keeping promises in the Bible that you counted on to be true? Have you ever been disappointed in Him?   What about blaming God for some sorrow or adversity that has happened that you don’t really think you deserve?

 There are things in life that none of us really understand. And quoting Romans 8:28, “Oh, God will work it for good,” can seem like applying a Band-Aid to a wide-open wound: it doesn’t always stop the bleeding.

So…why do bad things happen to good people?  Isn’t trouble usually a punishment for sin? 

Surely God would demonstrate through His prophets the material prosperity that He had promised to the faithful.   But the story in 2 Kings of the widow of the prophet wasn’t working out so good for her and her sons.

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Kings 4:1

Can you just see her, as she stands before Elisha pleading for help?

“Why has this calamity happened to us? Why didn’t the promises of prosperity to the righteous come true for us? Why did my husband die in the prime of life before he could straighten out our financial difficulties and provide for his family? 

It’s not fair!”

Now the dismal dilemma for this widow was that, not only had she lost her husband, now she’s going to lose her sons—her family. That was bad enough, but it also meant something else. You see, it meant that in her old age, she would have no security. It was sons who took care of their aged parents. So, it meant that she faced loneliness, bereavement, destitution, and despair.

Some of you are widowed—through death, through divorce, or through singleness. Isaiah 54:5 is a verse to safely trust.

 “…Your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name ….” Isaiah 54:4

 He is your husband! He loves you and He is the one who will provide for you. If you need human beings to help you, he will bring them into your life.  

He will supply your every need!


None of us should ever be ashamed or afraid to cry out to God in our need. He is a God who wants to meet that need, whatever it is–whether it’s loneliness, or security, or daily provision, or guidance, or comfort, or victory over sin, or peace, or wisdom. He is both husband and father!


Elisha’s response to this woman rightly reflected God’s attitude.  In verse 2: “Elisha replied to her, ‘How can I help you?’” You see, he was sensitive, he was concerned, he was compassionate, he was willing to be involved, and so is God!  He asked another question which I really love. He said, “Tell me, what do you have in your house?” (2 Kings 4:2b)

This was an important question. God would use what she had to start with.

“Your servant has nothing there at all … except a little oil” 2 Kings 4:2c

 All she had was olive oil.

 And she had so little—not even enough for herself, and so she disparaged what she had!

 Do you ever do that?

 God says, “I want you to trust me—to live by faith. I want you to serve me. I want you to accomplish this task or finish this project.”

 And we answer, “How can I? I don’t have any talents! I don’t have any resources!   I have nothing.

 But you see, girls, God never made a “nothing.”

 He asks us to surrender whatever we have, and whatever we are and He’ll multiply it to accomplish what He has chosen for us to do.

We probably all remember how this story ends.  Elisha told her to gather up empty jars from all her neighbors and go inside her house, close the door and commence to pouring oil from her almost empty jar. And she did…until she had filled all the jars she had borrowed.

God always works things out perfectly.

But… look at how this all start?

 It started with sorrow, loss, poverty, adversity, and anxiety.  It continued with injustice and oppression.

This woman’s situation went from bad to worse and there was no human help available. It was her very extremity that brought her to cry to Elisha for help.

In doing so, she was really crying out to the living God, and throwing herself upon Him for his help, and He rescued her—not only from the immediate danger, but from future poverty, as well.

This woman was given a testimony of the Goodness of The Lord and how He provided for her deepest needs. 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   2 Corinthians 12:9


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Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is eight years new to Birmingham, Alabama.  Her sweet husband of 37 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.

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