Do you have a tendency to question God about the bad stuff in your life? It’s a common response to suffering. Folks have written entire books trying to make sense of what is often referred to as “bad things happening to good people.” I appreciate conversations about this, because I happen to think this is a very clear place where we can discipline ourselves and develop a more robust spiritual backbone. I have a favorite go-to series of biblical texts to illustrate my point, which is this: God gives good things to both the naughty and the nice. Stop already with this tendency to blame God every time life does what life does — life is messy and difficult and includes death and life, sorrow and celebration, grief and joy. This is life on life’s terms. The scriptures say it like this:
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
Matthew 5:43-47 The Message
We say we believe? Then we need to practice believing — even in the midst of the bad stuff! I’d encourage you to take some time and notice what these verses tell us to focus on. But I particularly love this, and focus on it in times of tragedy and inexplicable suffering:
This is what God does. He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
Maybe practice believing as a spiritual discipline. When your mind wants to chase rabbits down the hole of wanting to know and understand, explain and justify, thank it for its rabbity ways but tell it you are busy remembering what you believe! Let’s see how that perspective changes our level of stress, sets our course of action, impacts our feelings and our capacity to love one another!!