Why Bad Things Seem to Happen to Good People

If God doesn’t cause or sanction human suffering, how do we explain 9/11 and other tragedies that visit truly wonderful people?

I’ve been pondering this question, since receiving word the other day that a longtime friend was recuperating from breast cancer surgery. She’s the latest in my circle of really awesome friends to encounter this experience.

Like any red-blooded spiritual sleuth who fervently believes that the Universe is orderly and that everything happens for a reason, I couldn’t resist the urge to search for the reason that bad things sometimes happen to good people. The only thing I knew, for sure, was that the reason was going to be a good one.

Where to look? I had two options: Either I could peer through the easily accessible “God allows bad things happen to good people” theater glasses, or I could make that arduous climb into the balcony, where I keep my panoramic “God is good all the time” lenses. It was a no-brainer. You can only see part of the picture through those earth-bound theater glasses, so I clambered into the balcony.

Wow, what a spectacular view! It never changes. No matter what time of day or night, it’s always the same; so reliable, it’s absolutely comforting.

I mentally focused on a scene that would correlate to the challenge my friend was experiencing. I was drawn to the image of one brilliant soul. Like the others, its radiance completely overshadowed the physical body it was wearing; but I knew that this one had something special to share with me. I scooted back in my seat and waited for more. Gradually, the story began to unfold.

I watched this beautiful soul leading its body through a transformative experience.

“Why?” I asked.

“Balance,” it told me. It was offering her an opportunity to be still, to focus on her inner Light, to listen to her inner self—listen, rather than think. Listen, rather than speak. Listen, rather than work.

Ultimately, it said, all physical illness presents us with an opportunity to embrace ourselves with unconditional love, to see and feel dysfunction, and love ourselves anyway. Love is one of the most potent healers in Life.

I thought about that. When we’re busily flitting about the planet, working on this project, solving that problem, helping this organization or that person, our minds are totally focused on images and circumstances outside of ourselves: the work, the people, the bills, the traffic. Even when we look in the mirror, we are looking outside of ourselves. We barely know ourselves, and rarely love ourselves.

We’ve been misled into believing that we’re bodies, merely imperfect impermanent bodies. Unfortunately, Loved Ones, the creators of that tale thought the world was flat, too. They treated animals and people barbarically, and justified it by saying that God behaves the same way. I don’t know about you, but that raises a credibility issue for me.

Until someone offers evidence that disease, murder, accident, or even terrorism can end our invisible eternal lives, or that paramedics or surgeons can save our lives, I will maintain th belief that the only thing that can be terminated or saved are our bodies, the constantly decaying costumes that our invincible souls wear from time to time.

We hold a lot of inexplicable beliefs about ourselves. Some of us, for example, believe that we are going to take our physical bodies when we leave the physical world. Surely we’ve noticed that physical bodies only function in this atmosphere. If they were transportable throughout the galaxy, astronauts would wear polo shirts out there.

Some of us refuse to be cremated because we want our bodies to be intact when God “returns” to Earth. We believe that our bodies are going to reconstitute, blood is going to suddenly start rushing through our veins, and our unused muscles will flex and push open the lids of caskets weighted down by six feet of dirt.

I’m not mocking these beliefs; I’m merely suggesting that they might actually prevent us from feeling the presence, experiencing the comfort and taking advantage of the wisdom of God in the here and now.

For example, most of us believe that the things we experience in life are circumstantial, happenstance. We think that things happen to us, rather than for us. We think that something outside of us governs everything that happens. If something “good” happens, something outside of us has blessed us. If something “bad” happens, something external is working against us.

That’s one way of looking at the world, but it never really leads us to the answers or the growth that we seek. What if we, as souls, are in total control of everything that happens to us, individually and collectively? What if whatever we experience was designed to serve our holy souls—our true selves—in a mighty, mighty way? What if we could ask our souls to reveal the blessings and the lessons that are woven into the fabric of our experiences?

It’s difficult to fathom that we have any control over what happens to us, isn’t it? It’s so much easier to credit or blame a distant God or Satan. But that’s only because we truly do not understand how much power lies within us, and how much God lives within us.

Something within you resonated with the words “God lives within you,” didn’t it? You felt it in your solar plexus—around the spot where you get that “gut” feeling. Right? Pay attention to that. It’s the beginning of practicing God’s presence. Next you’ll progress to embracing it, then surrendering to it, and finally, relying on it for direction.

God is where we are; yet when we reference God’s name, we often look into the sky. Why? We say that God is omnipresent, which means God is present everywhere, not somewhere. And that presence is equally distributed. There’s as much God in you as there is in the most heinous criminal, as much God in the richest person in the world as there is in the penniless orphan. It’s the same God. Nothing and no one is outside of God’s presence, no matter what they own, lack or how they behave.

We readily acknowledge that God is Love, God is Spirit, and God is Life. But when we reference God’s name, we often say “Him”, as if omnipresent eternal spirit is defined by and confined to the gender classifications of the animal kingdom. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines gender as “the sex of an individual, male or female, based on reproductive anatomy”. Does spirit have reproductive anatomy? Is air male or female? What about water?

It appears that we’ve done what Jesus said cannot be done: We’ve put new wine into old skins. We’ve poured the New Testament’s unconditionally forgiving, ever-present God of Love into the skin of the spiteful, wrath-filled, jealous and unforgiving Superhuman who “walked” the Earth in Genesis. We’ve created a bi-polar God that’s difficult to relate to or trust, let alone communicate with or rely on in times of trouble.

There is only one God; and It is good all of the time. Not only are all things possible with God, it’s impossible to be without God. God doesn’t turn “His” head and allow innocent people to be killed and pedophiles to harm children. God doesn’t control any soul’s drama. If anything, karma directs the actions on the Earth stage. We are not unjustly blemished at birth by someone else’s sin or extremely and sadistically punished for our own. Love would not do that. If anything, we fairly experience the reciprocal return of our sins. We reap what we sow.

Most of us have no idea why we’ve jammed our eternal spirits into a physical body right now. Why did we choose this place? Why did we choose this time? Why did we choose these experiences? Our reasons are not the same. The paths we’ve chosen are not the same. The lessons we’re learning are not the same. What we’re balancing is not the same. Our goals are not the same. Our karma is not the same.

Some of us came here to see how much money we could amass, how much money we could give away, how much peace or how much chaos we could create. Some of us wanted to see how many people we could heal. Others came to help kindred souls repay their karmic debts—all different reasons that, when combined, create the non-stop drama for which this planet is known.

Through the “God is good all the time” lenses, all is well. There is no good or bad. Those are judgments we’ve imposed because we’re looking through theater glasses. We’re not seeing the eternal Truth about ourselves.

You are not destructible. This is not reality, and it certainly is not Home. This is just a fleeting experience in Universal timelessness. No one has ever come here and stayed.

Remember, God is not outside of you. All paths inward will lead you Home.

I love you deeply.