“Where is God when bad things happen to good people?”


We seem to be in a season of suffering. And we are especially sensitive today since it’s the anniversary of 9/11. It seems that bad things are happening to people all around us. Finances, divorce, drugs, death…and the list goes on and on. Just this week a friend of my daughter’s drowned at Lake Keowee trying to help another girl.

So the age-old question, once again, is asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Is God punishing us? Does he not care? Is he too busy for me?

The answer to all of those questions is unequivocally NO. God loves us beyond what we could ever imagine. We are his children.

…For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5-6 NLT)

My friends Betsy and Bob (who I visited this summer) are missionaries in Prague, Czech Republic. So many people think, “Wow…what a great place to be a missionary. How hard can it be in comparison to Ethiopia or India or another third world country.” Believe me. It’s hard. I saw it first hand. Europe is not a third world country and most people in Europe don’t think they need God. Why would they when their lives are hunky-dory? So actually convincing people that having a relationship with God is a good thing—that it’s necessary—is very difficult. To even broach the subject requires months of developing a personal relationship with them. That’s love, people. And it takes a lot of it.

Here’s the thing. Our suffering increases our awareness of God’s presence.

Sometimes we need to emptied of our own resources and pride so we can rely on Him.

Does he cause our suffering? I don’t think so. But he does walk through it with us, whether we realize it or not. He will dwell with us through the pain.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (Matthew 6:30 NLT)

Often when we are in the midst of a trial we may feel underserving of God’s love. It’s certainly not uncommon for our own sin to be the cause of our suffering. In my case, even though I ended up dependent and then addicted to a narcotic from a medical condition, the desperation shame was there, none the less. Even though I knew better, on a subconscious level, I pulled away from God because I felt underserving of His love…and His grace and mercy.

Nothing we can do can make us unworthy of God’s love. We may feel like He’s not there when we are suffering, when in fact, we are the ones pulling away from Him!

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:1 ESV)

But why? Why have our sins separated us from God when He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins? When Jesus’s blood covers our sin? It’s us. What if we separate ourselves because we don’t feel worthy?

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; (Isaiah 59:1 ESV)

God loves you. No matter what. 

Don’t let the trickery of the enemy deceive you into believing you are not worthy. All of God’s children are worthy in His eyes. He didn’t send Jesus…His only son…for someone he didn’t love. He sent His son for you.

Let Him walk beside you during the hard times. Let his peace flow over you. I’m a believer in imagery. When I’m in the shower, I will often pray and imagine the water as the peace of God flowing down over my head. Crazy? Maybe. But it works.

And a final thought that brings it home for me is this: There is only ONE person in all of history that was perfect. That was Jesus himself. He walked and lived on this earth as a human for 33 years, not sinning even once. And what happened to this perfect human being? He suffered the most horrific death I could imagine…being nailed to a cross and left to die a slow, painful death in front of a crowd of people some cheering because He was being put to death, and some His faithful followers, crying tears of sadness. But what happened when this horrid thing happened to this perfect human? The world was saved. By God sending his son Jesus to willfully let the Romans and Jews hang him on the cross to die, He gave us the opportunity to have eternal life with Him in Heaven. He gave us…horrible sinners…a way out of this sinful world. What better example of what CAN happen when bad things happen to good people.

The Shower

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

Never forget….

He loves you. He is with you. You are worthy. 



  1. Miranda Vaughan says

    This is great momma. I love you.

    • CelesteVaughan says

      I love you too baby…I know nothing can fix things right now, but I promise it will get easier. And God can take anything…no matter how bad…and make something good come from it.

  2. Sherry Carter says

    The trickery of the enemy…what a great phrase, and so true. We listen to him tell us that God doesn’t care, that He isn’t with us… I’m trying to tune my ears to God’s truth and reject Satan’s lies.

    • CelesteVaughan says

      He loves being tricky and we need to learn to hate him that much more for it. As long as we don’t let him, Satan has no power over God. Unfortunately, we let him convince us all too often we aren’t worthy. I’ve even resorted to post it notes around the house to remind me! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Sherry!

  3. Praying for Miranda and her friend’s grieving family. So so sad.
    You beautiful post reminded me of a line from this morning’s Jesus Calling (my paraphrase):
    When we trust Him with someone or something, we release them into His care.
    I love that visual of hands letting go. I just wish it was as easy as it sounds.

    • CelesteVaughan says

      Thanks Susan. Yes, letting go is hard. Especially when something like this happens, we want to hold on to our own even tighter, but we have to remember they are always ultimately in God’s hands.

  4. A very tough question answered beautifully, Celeste. Praying for Miranda’s friend’s family. I can’t imagine. My heart hurts for them. I read the same passage as Susan this morning. Goes hand in hand with your post.

    God bless, my friend. 🙂

    • CelesteVaughan says

      Thanks Cathy. It’s always a tough one. Thanks for affirming my explanation on the subject. Kirk Cameron has done a movie called “Unstoppable” that is in theaters one night on September 24th and he addresses this question. I can’t wait to see it. Hopefully it will do well enough to get more showings!

      Miranda is strong in her faith and will get through this. More than anything, she needs prayer in helping her friends deal with it.

      Thanks for stopping by Cathy!


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