Why do bad things sometimes happen to good people? Jesus lived out an answer to this question. In becoming a human being, and in suffering on the cross, though he was innocent of any crime, Jesus himself became a good person to whom bad things happen.
Bad things happen for many reasons: we live in a physical universe of cause and effect, and we live in a sinful world, where people sometimes do things that are very wrong. Jesus experienced all the difficulties of physical life, and he suffered and died because of the wrongdoings of others. He knew his sufferings were not caused by the Father: he asked the Father to forgive those who were to blame.
Yet the Father allowed the suffering, and Jesus struggled with that, both in the Garden of Gethsemane when he begged the Father that he would not have to drink from the cup of suffering, and on the cross, when Jesus asked why the Father has abandoned him. “Yet let it not be my will that is done”, Jesus prayed, “but your will”. In so praying, Jesus shows us how to live in a suffering world. Suffering is not God’s doing: God allows it, often for reasons we do not understand, but his mercy is never absent. Jesus, who longed for the cup of suffering to pass him by, accepted it instead, trusting in the Father’s mercy. Instead of obtaining the relief for himself that he had asked for, Jesus suffered to death, but in the end, he received from the Father new life for himself and for all those who believe in him.
We, too, can trust the Father: though he may not spare us suffering, even when we would like to be spared, his mercy will never be far from us, even if it comes in a way different from what we had hoped. We may never fully understand the full ramifications of our suffering and the suffering of others, but we know, from Jesus’ example, to trust in the Father’s love and mercy, and remain steadfast and loving in the face of pain. Truly this is not easy: sometimes it seems impossible. But Jesus loves us, and he knows suffering: he lived it. He will help us through the bad things that come our way.
Copyright 2016, Agapios Theophilus