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How can God be Good & Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Elizabeth Johnson:

May I ask why God saved a Facebook page [she is speaking about mine], yet let a little boy with cancer died yesterday? A 5 yr old? Why do his concerns lie within social media? I’m sure this will get deleted, as you delete every comment you cannot argue with.

Short Little Rebel:

meaning“I don’t delete comments with which I CAN not argue, I delete those with which I WILL not argue.  Every now and again, however, I do get a question from a so-called atheist that I feel compelled (by the Holy Spirit)  to answer- as I will do now.  Your question presupposes something that I can’t agree with:  that living in this world is the most important and good  thing possible for human beings.  It isn’t.  In fact, it is actually difficult to live.  People suffer all the time.  Or, I should really say, everyone suffers all the time.  That is why people kill themselves, become drunks, addicts or cut themselves.  Life is hard.  That is the very nature of human life.  Not only is life hard, but we are cognizant of it being hard.  Now, that’s a cruel evolutionary trick!  Animals may have a hard time surviving, but they certainly aren’t conscious of it.  Nor do they bemoan their death- or even fear it ahead of time.   Only we human type animals seem so afflicted.

No, this life is hard and we are meant to know it is hard.  And there must be a reason for that- some kind of purpose for it- and even better, some kind of redemption for it!  If not, then life on this earth is a horrible thing indeed- merely human animals scrambling around to push food in our mouths, have sex, have kids, work and then die- and if we are lucky, find some love along the way.    The human condition rejects that notion completely- and only the very brave can face the question head on:  WHY do we, no, why do I exist?  Why is life like this?  What is my purpose in this chaos?

In addition to this need to have meaning for our lives, humans also have a sucking black hole of neediness within each of us.  We don’t know what it is, but it seems to center around this meaning & purpose-of-life question!  Some try to fill it with drugs, some with sex, some with beauty, some with power, some with money and many, with fame.  But they, too, fail to satisfy.  That is why celebrities also kill themselves.  There is a reason for this black hole in the center of our beings.  It is meant to draw us near to God.  Why?  Because only God can fill it.   We were born into this world half baked- this was on purpose.  We are more than mere animal.  God placed this inherent knowledge within us- but he did not make the solution easy to find.  No.  We are meant to take a journey of discovery & development.  Those of us who find God at the end of that journey are the ones who have fulfilled their purpose in life- which is to be born again into our final state:  a fully developed child of God.  God gave us this life as an opportunity- to grow beyond mere animals- to fulfill our true potential.

God could have created us whole, could he not have?  But that is not his desire.  He doesn’t want robots who are forced to love him and be with him.  No!  Like us, who are made in his image, he seeks LOVE and relationship with us.  We must CHOOSE God.  THAT is the critical step that brings us to our new birth: choosing God above evil.  Trusting God though things are difficult.  Serving him though we are afraid for ourselves.  It is through our choice that we demonstrate our love for God.  That is where satan comes in.  He is the other choice.  And he is beautiful and promises very wonderful things.  Just look at Beyonce and her willing submission to Sasha Fierce.  Beyonce has been given the worship of other human beings while she is on that stage.  And she is hooked on it.  Choosing God is a very far distant option to Beyonce right now.  She thinks she has everything she wants.  But her death is imminent.  What will she do then?

So, back to the question of the little boy who died.  You question the existence of God based on the fact that he allowed this boy to die young- because no ‘good’ God would allow that, right?  Or, you are using that fact to show that God is not very nice or good.

Let me first say this:  this earthly life is freely given to everyone by God.  In that sense, he is completely fair.  If he did not exist, then this boy’s death would be the simple result of happenstance and/or genetics.  And if we are mere animals, you can’t really rail against his death because that is just evolution at work.  You should be fine with it.  But if God does exist (which you presuppose in your bitter question), then clearly he is to blame for that boy’s death.  And in your mind, he is unfair, cruel and capricious. But if God were cruel, vindictive, capricious and unfair, he would also be fully evil.  He would be a tyrant.  He would use his Godly power over life and death and would kill you for even doubting him!  Why put up with all the atheists in the world?  Why not make us slaves to his altar?  Why not make us sacrifice our children to him in blood sacrifices?  Why not demand constant homage to him?  Why allow us to love at all?  To laugh at all?  To have joy at all?  To have a great day at the beach?

No, IF we presuppose that God exists, then logically, he must be GOOD- or our lives would be complete hell from start to finish.  In fact, no one presupposes that God is EVIL.  IF we are talking about God’s personality, then he must exist and he must be good.  Or there is no God.  And I am not trying to convince you that there IS a God.  I am only trying to explain why God could be good and yet, allow that boy to die.  Ok?

So, how can God be all good and allow bad things to happen?

I already answered the first part of that question- he made life difficult (including the death of people we love)- to bring as many human beings to him as beloved children.  I also explained that you are looking at this boy’s death with an erroneous assumption- that THIS life on earth is all there is and is the best thing that can happen to us.  But IF there is God, then there is also heaven and an existence outside of this life, right?  Thus, you can not possibly KNOW that this earthly existence is the best we can ever experience.  In fact, as we said- God must be good and he must love us- or you couldn’t even be allowed to be so disrespectful towards him.  Therefore, if God exists, he is good and there is a life past death and it is bliss- because God loves us.  And this boy is there, now, with God in perfect joy.  He will live trillions upon trillions of years and his five years on earth will be less than a blip in his entire existence.  In fact, ALL our lives will be that way.  How can 80 years compare to trillions of years of existence?  How could it possibly hold any weight at all?  How can it be the end all be all of human existence?  No, you are are looking at this issue with the wrong glasses on.  And THAT is why you can’t see that God can allow things you consider ‘bad’ on earth.  He has eternal glasses on.  And he loves, not only that little boy, but ALL the people around him- including you- no matter how close or far your relationship with him may be.

Thus, if God exists, then that boy is incredibly happy right now and God must have his reasons for not interfering in that boy’s death.  Has it ever occurred to you that if God exists, then he is smarter than you?  My point is this:  you have no idea what God knows.  If God is God, then he is so far superior to your intellect that his reasoning cannot  be your reasoning.   If you made a pot out of clay, could it be smarter than you?  Could it ask you why you put it on this table or that table?  Could it mock you and call you stupid or say that you don’t exist?  Can it tell you how to make or use the other pots you create?  No.  It is a bunch of clay.  Unaware of your great knowledge.

God knows each and every one of us.  He knows that 5 year old, his siblings, his friends, his parents and even you- who have used him as a reason to ask this question of me.  Perhaps that 5 year old died to save YOU from death.  Did it ever occur to you that God loves YOU that much?  To end a young boy’s life so that YOU could hear God’s word & come to him and not die?  Perhaps, after you read this, the Word of God will settle into your heart and perhaps you will listen.  Then, that boy’s death just took on great meaning.  HE is fine right now.  No need to worry about him.  But YOU are not fine.  At this point, you are headed not only toward physical death, but spiritual death.  Should you be killed by an accident today, you will most certainly die forever.  Or worse, go to hell in eternal suffering.  God loves YOU, Elizabeth.  And the combination of my post and this boy’s death has brought us together in this exact moment in time.  YOU are the reason for God’s work at this moment.   If that  boy’s ‘unfair’ death should cause a conversation which results in the salvation of your eternal life, then it was completely worth it.  He was saved anyway due to his youth.  And you would have been saved too.  And who knows how his death affected the others in  his life?  Did it cause a crisis that brought his parents to their knees and did they throw themselves upon the Lord and thus find eternal life too?  That’s better than a mere 80 years of harsh life on earth, don’t you think?

If God is God,  then he is good.  And if he is good, then all that he does is to help us, not hurt us.  Even if we think he is hurting us or being mean, he is not.  We are just too immature and short sighted to understand how his actions benefit us or someone else he loves.  Like a little child who is denied candy or is disciplined and grounded from fun, we cannot understand why God, our Father, does everything he does.  But like all good parents, he does nothing for himself- but for his children- all of them.  He loves YOU, Elizabeth and would move heaven and earth for you to be saved from death.  ALL is for our good.  Whether you can fathom that or not.

AND he gave us the most important thing of all:  a WAY for us to be with him.  Our natural state is NOT to be good.  We can see this evidenced across time and across the world.  Humans truly are born sinful.  We strive to achieve all the verities of William Faulkner.  That is why we have the word, ‘Hero’.  So very few of us ever achieve all those greater virtues that we need a special designation for those who do.  And we celebrate their heroism.  That means that the rest of us don’t achieve those things.  And let’s face it, we all know that the hero only achieved those heights for but a moment in time- they are nowhere near perfect in their lives.  So, although God is all good, we are not.  We need some sort of reconciliation with our all-good God.  Something needs to transform us- we need some way to rid us of our sinful ways.  If we don’t have this way, how can we ever escape the discipline and continued censor of God?  In other words, how can we be cleansed and pure again so that we can exist in peace with God forever?  How can we be in eternal contention with him?  How would that please either him or us?

This is why God sent Jesus, his son, to the world.  It was no accident that Christ was born through a miracle, lived to perform miracle after miracle and then performed the greatest miracle of all- resurrected himself from death in a new, eternal body.  He didn’t do these things to impress us.  He didn’t do them to show off.  He did them so that we cynical human beings could believe that he is who he said he was:  the Son of God.  And that because he could fulfill his promise with himself (resurrection), that he was also empowered to do the same for us.  He died and resurrected himself to give us an example of what will happen to us.  His life and miracles are for a very pragmatic purpose- to prove that he is God’s Son and that he is that powerful and that all his promises and statements are true.

Again, not to show off.  But because God loves humanity so much that he allowed someone he loves beyond measure to endure humiliation, pain and death so that WE could come to him forever.  That’s it.  So simple.  So loving.  Would you allow your son to be beaten by his classmates? Would you allow the mean kids in school to smack the gift he brought to school to the ground, stomp on it, and then slap your boy across the face?  Would you?  No, you wouldn’t.  None of us would.  But God loves you and me and all of us that much.

And so, we come to the conclusion of this long answer to your short question.  God allowed that boy to die because he has a plan for all the people in his life.  A plan to prosper them and not to hurt them.  And he has a plan for you, Elizabeth.  A plan to bring you to me and for me to not ban & delete your question as I do for most so-called atheists.  A plan for me to spend many hours across two days thinking, praying and writing this answer to you.  A plan to save you from death, Elizabeth.  That is but one reason why that little boy died so young.

Elizabeth Johnson, here are the words of God:  “Come to me and be saved.  Stop rebelling and allow me to love you.”  That’s it.  I hope and pray that you hear him, Elizabeth.  God doesn’t always call twice.


Susan Shannon

aka Short Little Rebel


  1. Perhaps the greater question: how can God be God and not smite ALL mankind? Years ago, folks asked in the midst of national pain a similar ques. regarding the 9.11 towers, ‘how could God allow this?’ and I suggested there is not a person alive who is not deserving of a building to fall on them.

    A helpful answer? No. A comforting answer? No. Ah, but a true answer, and herein lies the eternal riddle. A just and holy God has decided not to overlook, but to allow sin to run its course, that His grace may be manifested, and that man may have no excuse. He has nothing else to say than that which he has said, and his longsuffering with the tresspassers on his creation is remarkable indeed.

    God is good, and man, well, we fall a tad short.

  2. I read a book called “The Shack.” I would advise anyone hurting to read this book. It was such an inspiration to me. The man had lost his daughter to a kidnapping and murder. Through this book, he questions God “why,” though it isn’t biblical, it gives good insights to God and why certain things happen to some people and not to others. Hopefully this book could be of help to anyone hurting and questioning our Lord right now…Yes, bad things happen…we have allowed that in a society where God is not welcome anymore…sad…Hope you read the book…Blessings for peace and comfort..

  3. Hello Susan,

    Great post. Let me tell you that you are right that we don’t know what God has planned and limiting God to our mortal humanism is erroneous and foolish.

    Now I wanted to share a short testimony. My mother lost her first son when he was 3. It had a very devastating effect on her and I think that she was on the verge of insanity. There was a 7-year old period before my birth and she struggled with alcoholism and depression, but one of the positives — if we may even call it such — which that period brought was that she started praying to God. Our country was still Communist and she didn’t become Christian until ’99, but she prayed and I believe that God heard her prayer by giving her me. My father didn’t want another child and even she thought she would be unable to bear another child. There were also complications during the delivery and my poor health haunted my early childhood, but both of us extremely thankful to God and our Lord Jesus that He lead through those difficult times into the Saving Light.

    It is easy to blame God for all the sad and difficult times, all our sufferings, but as the Bible says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) I may not a modern Prophet Jeremiah, but I know that I was born by the grace and mercy of God.

    • Mark, thank you for that testimony! What country did you live in? I do hope that your health has been restored by now. And though you didn’t mention it, I do hope that your mother’s mind and heart and soul was truly healed of the sadness of the loss of your brother… Susan

  4. Another amazingly helpful explanation Susan, thank you. Your words have once more rung true with me and explained why the Love of God is surrounding us all daily if only we are able to understand what He is saying to us and doing for us! You provided a wonderful answer to a question that has bothered me for most of my life — the reason why God apparently allows innocents to suffer in this life — but I was not seeing the “Big Picture” of life and death and the Life Hereafter — know I see and now I understand. =D You have a truly God given mind and a talent to help dumb folk like me — and I am so very grateful. David W.

    • I’m glad that helped, David. When we put our eternal glasses on, everything changes. God exists and loves us. ALL his plans are to prosper us, not hurt us. Many people fail to understand that God loves the other person as much as he loves them. So, if your minor suffering will help that person find eternal life without damaging your eternal life, then God in all his love, may choose that option. Makes perfect sense then. As far as you being ‘dumb’, I refuse to hear it. So.. stop saying stuff like that. I command you! 😉

  5. I lost a little brother when he was only six and I spent most of the next 20 years blaming God for his death and rebelling in every way I could think of, and your answer to Elizabeth Johnson concisely sums up all of the ideas that I had to assimilate before I could finally be at peace with my brother’s death. Now I look forward to getting to see him again and I thank God for making that possible. Peace and blessings to you, Susan!

    • David, thank you for that personal testimony. Sometimes our losses are the very thing we can use to help a struggling person find God. I know my worst pains of the past are the very things that touch others the most. When I tell them how it was for me and how I was led to the Lord because of my pains, they really get it. These very human and normal things that happen in our lives actually illuminate the love of God. We just need to have the eternal glasses on.

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