There is a such a common question that is asked. It’s asked to trip up those who have faith into doubting what they believe. It’s asked genuinely, really wanting to understand if God really is as good as we say he is. It’s asked out of curiosity. It’s asked, just to see what kind of answer I can come up with. But I’m okay with not having all of the answers.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
I believe that God is perfect. He created the world to be perfect. But we failed, thus the world was corrupted. However, God continues to love us anyway. Because his love is perfect where we fall short.
Some people like to think that God orchestrates everything that happens in this world, but that’s not the case. I mean, yes he could do that, but he gave us free will. So, as humans, we have choices to make, choices to do evil, and choices to do good. Hating someone because they’re a different gender or race? That’s a choice. Loving someone, even though they’re different, or might not love you back? That’s also a choice. And for those of us who had the misfortune to be born after the original sin in the garden, sometimes making the right choice doesn’t make sense. Because we were born into sin. So vision gets skewed sometimes.
But choice doesn’t answer the question as to why some people get cancer, or are born with a mental “defect” that makes life harder, or why people develop dysphoria, or even why I’m bipolar. Am I not a good person? I’m not answering that. But it’s because this world is corrupt. This world has sin in it. And sin isn’t just an action anymore, it’s in the world.
God did not create the world originally to contain sickness and hurt and anger. Those all came after sin. And even if someone tries to live their whole life never sinning, they still live in sin. Because sin is in the world. It’s in the air we breathe. It’s not something we can just escape. We can’t fix a corrupt world overnight. I’m not even sure if we can fix it at all.
And if we ask why God doesn’t step in and destroy all of the things that are not of him, I think it’s because he loves us still. He loves us regardless of if we love him. It’s not as easy as, “those who don’t accept Christ are going to hell.” It’s complicated and unexplainable, God’s love. His desire never was, is, or will be to destroy us. Even when he told Moses on the mountain that he wanted to kill all the Israelites and start again, he didn’t destroy them, and he never ceased to love them. Even when he sent the flood to make the world new, he broke his own heart and promised never to do it again.
But all of these answers aren’t really answers. No answer I can ever give will ever be good enough. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the mystery of God’s goodness. I’m okay with simply knowing that we don’t know what he’s doing, because we are inside of time, where he lives outside of it. We don’t know what awful thing he’s going to use for some amazing goodness in our future. And we also don’t know what awful thing he hated to allow, but did because of the corrupt nature of the world, and the rampant free will that he didn’t interfere with.
I’m bipolar. And I accepted my crazy a long time ago. I used to believe that God created me this way, and that somehow it was going to be used someday, and I spent so many hours angry at him for it. But maybe he didn’t create me this way. Maybe I just am this way because of the corruptness of this earth. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be used someday.
I both do and do not try to hide my crazy. I can get really excited and feel so much love for my friends and want to do so many fun things. But that excitement will get used up. I’ll hit the mountaintop and drop off a cliff. I woke up yesterday knowing I shouldn’t see people. But I chose to drive to Nashville for the first time with them instead. If it had been smooth, with a plan, and a city tour guide like I had in Michael Glenn, or Jackson, or even Jamie with his San Francisco list, or Aaron with his Portland list, and maybe a whole day, then my landing at the bottom of my depression might have been smoother. My city exploring might have been something worth doing. But instead, instead the chaos inside my head matched the chaos outside. Instead I didn’t know what I was doing. Instead, it was as if I had never been to a city before and things like paying for parking had to be mansplained to me. Instead, I saw no river or beauty, I saw the ugliness that comes with all downtowns. It was loud and hot and too much. Why I ever thought that kind of adventure on a bad day would have been a good idea is beyond me. Because I can’t explain my broken soul to those around me. I’m unhelpable. I’m broken. But I’ve accepted it. It’s just embarrassing when I’m spilling out onto the floor and the only thing that can be done is to mop me up.
Life is chaos. Life is chaos. Life is chaos. And I could go on screaming at God to take me from it, because I’m not going to do it on my own. Or I could find a way to take this chaos and make it art. Find the beauty in the ugly. Be Tyra Banks for a moment. That’s not something I know how to do at the bottom of the cliff, but I will find my moment at the top again, and I will be living amongst the beauty again.
And none of this is to say that I had zero fun in Nashville, because I did have fun. I love my friends here, they care about me. It wasn’t there fault that I can’t handle my own existence sometimes. That will never be anyone else’s fault. That’s not what I want to be taken from this. I am flawed. We are all flawed. Welcome to honesty hour.