Why do bad things happen to good people?

The age old question.  Don’t we all ask it at some point?  Do we really want to know the answer? 

As a counselor who works with good people of which obscenely bad things have happened to, I admit I have asked the same question.  For believers, this question can shake one’s faith and lead one to question if God is actually good.

I don’t claim to have an answer, but when I consider the power of resiliency, the desire to ask why subsides as I contemplate the wow!

If you could sit in a counselor’s room for any length of time you would undoubtedly witness the wow!=resilience, bravery, victory, and strength.  These words don’t usually reside in the same societal narrative as “mental health” “therapy” or “counseling” but THEY SHOULD.  

When we focus on the why we give too much power to the negative circumstance.  Yes bad things happen and in no way am I dismissing that gravity of these bad things.  They are bad, often they are far worse than bad–but–when our narrowed focus gets fused on why we give up our authority to pursue the what.

C.S. Lewis writes after his wife’s passing, “But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good.  The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting.  If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.  But is it credible that such extremities of torture be necessary for us? Well, take your choice.  The tortures occur.  If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one.  If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary.  For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.  Either way, we’re for it.”

C.S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed”

So, perhaps the what, or maybe it is better said- for what (purpose)- is the more critical question than why.

Some “for whats” I have witnessed as a clinican include:

“For” an awareness of His Glory and presence.

“For” a break away from the dysfunction of generational issues.

“For” a positive and effective change that ripples through future generations.

“For” a clear and confident sense of self-efficacy.

“For” a deep compassion to facilitate healing in others.

“For” an accurate and full understanding of intimacy, the ability to express and experience it, the knowledge of the dangers that obscure it, and the capacity now to protect it.

“For” the opportunity to reframe one’s belief about themself and the strength to denounce the lie.

“For” belief in one’s worthiness.

We can ask and focus on the why or we can pursue the “for what”: “Either way, we’re for it”