Bob Tamasy: Do Bad Things Happen So We Can Do Good To Others?

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

One of the most common, yet confounding questions asked whenever discussions of religion or spirituality arise is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Countless articles and books have been written on the topic, with varying degrees of success in providing a reasonable answer.

 

There’s no denying many people live good lives – at least outwardly – and yet often encounter serious difficulties and tragedies. For those of us inclined to believe in cause-and-effect – that good things should result in more good things, as well as bad things leading to bad consequences – we find ourselves wondering, “What’s the deal?”

 

There’s no easy explanation for bad things happening to people who live upright lives – although that hasn’t discouraged theologians and philosophers from trying.

But the Scriptures offer some insight into possible reasons. One of them – even if it may provide little consolation while we’re going through struggles – is that personal suffering equips us to empathize with and console others when they go through circumstances similar to ones we’ve already experienced.

 

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, we read these words from the apostle Paul:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

 

That, without question, is a mouthful. It’s tempting to try and dissect this passage into itty-bitty pieces, but the gist of it is that as we go through seasons of suffering, and receive comfort from God, we in turn can share what we have learned through the process to offer comfort to others. In fact, the apostle uses the word “comfort” nine times in just four sentences.

 

Consider Paul, the one-time persecutor of Christians who, after his life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ, had endured adversity in many forms, including persecution, imprisonments, beatings and stoning, shipwrecks, illness and other hardships. If anyone knew about suffering, and the need for comfort while going through it, Paul was the guy. He was intimately acquainted with the subject; a card-carrying authority on it.

 

But how does suffering prepare us to serve as comforters for others? I’ve written about this before, but after undergoing open-heart surgery, I knew about it from personal experience, not from reading about it. So when I encounter others who have either recently gone through the procedure, as I did while serving as a cardiac volunteer at a local hospital, or hear of someone who has just received the unsettling news from a cardiothoracic surgeon, I can relate to what they’re going through. Sharing about my own “journey of the heart,” I’ve tried to offer hope, reassurance – and comfort. Along with what I found to be a good game plan for recovery.

 

Most of all, it’s understanding that we don’t have to go through life’s challenges alone. Whether it’s a health crisis, financial difficulties, the loss of a loved one, overwhelming family challenges, addiction, or some other issue, there are other people who have gone through similar circumstances.

 

Even more important, our faith in God can sustain us during even the greatest adversities. And we, as followers of Jesus, can remind each other of that. During high-stress times, it can be easy to lose focus and forget, so it’s our job to encourage one another to remember. We can point to promises like Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

 

And then, drawing from our own experience, we’re able indeed to, as Paul wrote, “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.


Charles Finney: Grandpa - Making A Light

Bob Tamasy: The Problem With Taking Things For Granted

God’s Grace Enables Progress And Joy, Say Christian Scientists At Annual Meeting


Grandpa was a resourceful man. As he grew up, he did not have a lot of store bought things. He made most of what he used. Grandpa bought his farm before electricity was even in the county. His ... (click for more)

Quite a few years ago, before the shattering of the Iron Curtain and the disunifying of the Soviet Union, a friend in Atlanta hosted two Russian visitors. As hosts often do when people come to ... (click for more)

In a year often defined by uncertainty, Christian Scientists gathered at their online annual meeting, including from Chattanooga and congregations throughout world, to acknowledge the ways in ... (click for more)



Church

Charles Finney: Grandpa - Making A Light

Grandpa was a resourceful man. As he grew up, he did not have a lot of store bought things. He made most of what he used. Grandpa bought his farm before electricity was even in the county. His only light at night was either a candle or a coal oil lamp. Since the cost of coal oil (kerosene) was about a day's wage, he used a lot of candles. Grandpa said he was so poor, he could not ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: The Problem With Taking Things For Granted

Quite a few years ago, before the shattering of the Iron Curtain and the disunifying of the Soviet Union, a friend in Atlanta hosted two Russian visitors. As hosts often do when people come to visit from out of town, my friend wanted to introduce his guests to some of the local sites. One of the destinations was a huge, indoor shopping mall. “Who doesn’t like a trip to the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

1 Dies After 2-Vehicle Crash Early Thursday Morning At Hixson Pike And Thrasher Pike

One person died in a crash involving two vehicles on Hixson Pike early Thursday morning. At approximately 6:30 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the Hixson Pike and Thrasher Pike intersection for the report of a motor vehicle crash. Upon arrival, deputies and emergency services personnel located a crash involving two vehicles. There has been ... (click for more)

Historic Zoning Panel Allows 1 New Hillside Home In St. Elmo, Rejects One Beside It

The Chattanooga Historic Zoning Commission, after hours of discussion on Thursday, approved one new home on a steep hillside in St. Elmo, but rejected a similar one that was to have gone in beside it. Watchtower Investments initially wanted three identical large new homes clustered together between Tennessee Avenue and Seneca Avenue near Forest Hill Cemetery. The Community ... (click for more)

Opinion

Historic Zoning Commission Works For The Developer, Not The Community

As a St. Elmo property owner for many years, I have followed the success of the community's preservation of our historic character. The Historic Zoning Guidelines were crafted back around 1989 with the clear intent to preserve and protect the historic community; a Historic Zoning Commission was established to ensure Guidelines were followed. I have become increasingly aware ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UAW: No Drug Tests?

General Motors is at wit’s end. GM needs to hire 450 “part time” workers immediately in Flint, Michigan and another 275 at the Fort Wayne, Ind., assembly plant. Add the fact the United Auto Workers, with its last president just sentenced to over two years in the slammer, is just as desperate for new members. GM is offering $16.67 an hour the first day, free medical care after 90 ... (click for more)