Would somebody please tell me why bad things happen to good people? Over the past twenty-two years I have read the answer to this question many times. But it wasn’t until this morning when I realized how simple it really is. If you are willing to open your Bible, you will discover the answer.
John 9 is known for a miracle Jesus performed when He healed a man born blind. It proved again that He truly is God incarnate as “Nobody [had] ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind” before (John 9:32).
This passage is also an ideal example of faith formation. Though it is easier to believe that Jesus Christ is the formator, I believe the disciples are the formatees and the blind man is not Jesus’ focus. He is simply the object Christ uses to teach his disciples a lesson.
The place where Christ forms his disciples’ faith is in verses 1-5.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:1-5 (NLT)
When they saw the man on the roadside, the disciples quickly decided that they knew what the blind man’s problem was. It was either because of his sins or his parents’ sins that had caused him to be born this way. Many people who come for faith formation believe they know what the problem is. If they only help the formator diagnose it, the problem should be solved faster.
The disciples are like this. They are certain they know what the problem is and want it to be dealt with ASAP. However, instead of ridiculing the blind man or his parents for their sins, which is probably what the disciples thought Christ would do, He turns the tables on them and says, “Stop pointing fingers! Nobody did anything wrong! This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (Verse 3)
So why do bad things happen to good people? Jesus didn’t give his disciples the answer they were expecting, concluding “they don’t happen to good people!” or “they always have and always will happen, so deal with it!” No, according to Jesus, these things happen “so the power of God can be seen in them.”
If there was a passage in the Bible worth memorizing, it would be this one. Because, if there is one question everybody asks at least once in their lives, it is this one.