The Outrageous Reality of the Gospel
Written by Kacie Drake | ChattHOP Staff
This question irks me: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And if that question isn’t bad enough, there’s one that’s even worse: “Why do good things happen to bad people?”
These questions are the worst because they have everything to do with the idea that people “deserve” certain things. Good people deserve good things; bad people deserve bad things. (As if we were good judges of what people deserve?)
The principle of reaping and sowing is real, but I do not believe the light of the Gospel is displayed in phrases like, “they just had it coming for them…” or “that’s what they get for doing this or that….”
The reality is that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The reality is also, “ALL are justified by his grace as a gift.” (Rom 3:23-24)
Here’s the thing. This world is fallen; it is not our home. It is passing away.
Who are we to determine what is “good or evil?”
Wasn’t that the original Problem? Good and evil should have never been put in our hands. But the tree of good and evil bore fruit, and through the Deceiver, the fruit of good and evil was put in our hands—our needy, beloved, terrible human hands.
Thus, the world as we know it. Good and evil clattering all around us; good and bad things happen to all people; this world is not our home.
All this would seem hopeless if it were not for the other tree: the tree of LIFE. It was this tree of LIFE that was protected, guarded from human hands.
And it is LIFE that God has been relentlessly, jealously, lovingly leading his people towards since we first consumed the Bad Fruit.
We have no power to eliminate certain circumstances from our lives. On our own, we have no power against the death around us and against our own inevitable end. We cannot stop the things that occur; we cannot run away and ignore them; we cannot create for ourselves paradise.
But Jesus gives us this outrageous promise: “I have come to bring life, and bring it to the full.”
Christians seem strange to others because they know they are strangers on the earth.
The Gospel isn’t about trying desperately to be “good” in a world that does not keep its promises to us (success, fortune, ease, painless living.) The last time I checked, the Bible mentioned that it is the Prince of Darkness, the Original Deceiver, who is on the earth right now, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.
The Gospel is that we get to be alive in a dead world.
The Gospel is that we don’t have to worry about what happens to us and around us because this world is not our home.
And when the good and the evil just seem dark, we know that the light of the world chose to step down into darkness, and he has given us LIFE.
His life doesn’t just “cancel” death; it conquers it.
Our time here is not for us to determine what “our ministry” to the world should be. Yes, we are unique; yes, he calls us each to individual and specific things; but the world is passing away, and only love will remain. The truth is that “the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Life is not about safety and security and “good things.” It is not about “try harder,” “work harder,” or “do more.”
Life is about victory and authority and walking full of life in a land filled with death. It is about letting go, trusting God is who he says he is, and making his heart our home.
Our reality is found in 2 Corinthians 4. I love Eugene Peterson’s take on Paul’s message to the Corinthians—
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around us in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives…
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized;
we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do;
we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side;
we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives!
So we’re not giving up.
How could we?
Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.”
I don’t know what you are experiencing right now. I don’t know if it’s death or disease or disappointment or dread. I don’t know if it’s exhaustion or excitement or existential crisis.
But you were not meant to handle it on your own; and this earth is not your home.
Every human walks through “the valley of death.” Nobody is exempt from “bad things happening.” Nobody. If our God is not exempt, neither are we.
But we live in the Good News: we get to choose how we respond to everything that presses against us, because we’ve been given the choice to LIVE.
His arms are open—wide as the crossbeams—and He says to each of us: “I have come to bring life, and bring it to the full.”
And it is in our ordinary, bad-and-good-things-happening lives, that LIFE lives.
This is the truth: “not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.”
So we do not lose heart.