It’s the question parents haven’t fully prepared their kids to answer—and the enemy knows it. The enemy has used this question on kids away at college to effectively weaken their faith—or worse. Here’s the big question …
“How can a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Sounds almost harmless on the surface. You’ve asked the same question yourself. But this is an iceberg question. The real danger lies deeper. Unless you help your kids find answers to this question they’re vulnerable. They’re in danger. Because if your kids doubt God’s love, every other part of their faith will take a hit. God’s love is foundational to everything we believe, right? “For God so loved the world …”
Here’s a crash course on THREE BASIC REASONS God allows bad things to happen to “good” people.
- We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen to good and bad people. Man chose sin back in the Garden of Eden, and has lived with the consequences ever since. Someday God will change all that … but until he does bad things will continue to happen—to everyone.
- Bad things keep us on the right tracks. When everything is rosy, people tend to drift from God. It’s a sad fact of life. Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to nudge us closer to him—and to keep us from really getting ourselves in trouble.
- Bad things make us shine for Christ like we never could before. Sometimes bad things change us—for the better—in ways we can’t imagine. This is the one we really need our kids to understand—and we’ll use a glow stick to do it.
• Go to the dollar store and pick up a glow stick for each of the kids—and yourself. Buy the biggest ones you can find.
• Now take the kids into a darkened room and give them each a glow stick. Have them take it out of the packaging. Hold up your glow stick and say something like this;
“In this plastic tube is a chemical, and suspended in that chemical is a small glass vial with different chemical inside. In order to make the stick glow, we need to BEND the plastic tube until we BREAK the glass vial inside (demonstrate this as you speak). Then we SHAKE UP the light stick so the two solutions mix and voila! You create this great chemical reaction!”
• Have each of the kids activate their glow stick, then transition to the spiritual truth. “This glow stick is a picture of another reason why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Sometimes, like a glow stick in its packaging, we look good—but we aren’t accomplishing what God created us to do. Sometimes God has to BEND us, BREAK us, and SHAKE UP our world. And then something changes inside … our heart. It is only then that Christ can shine through us like he never good before. Maybe we mess up somehow. Or get extremely embarrassed. Or lose our job. Or maybe we don’t get accepted by the school or program we applied for. We feel crushed. But as God helps us through our bending and breaking experiences, we will later be able to help others through theirs. And likely we’ll be a lot more compassionate and sensitive to them … and we’ll understand them like we wouldn’t have before.”
I’d love to develop this more … but you get the idea. Even if your kids are going to a Christian college, they need to understand why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Remember, simply going to a Christian college doesn’t necessarily make your kids safer. Our enemy doesn’t avoid Christian colleges. He infiltrates. There will be intelligent students and winsome professors who are good at getting kids to question their faith.
You’ve encouraged and helped your kids prepare for testing so they score well for college … but how are you preparing them for the spiritual tests they’ll face when they get there?
For a few bucks and a trip to the dollar store you can teach your kids some truth that will protect them from the lies of the enemy. What’s stopping you from doing that today—or one day this week?
See to it that no one takes you captive
through hollow and deceptive philosophy …
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
By Tim Shoemaker
Husband to Cheryl
Dad of three sons and two daughter-in-laws
Grandfather of five grandkids
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Author, Speaker, Writing Coach
Click HERE to link to Tim’s website Smashed Tomatoes (and other life lessons) and to view the family devotionals and books Tim has written.