Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.
It’s not fair but it’s true.
There is no rule written that living a good life exempts people from what can sometimes seem like terrible trials and struggles. I don’t begin to think that I have all the answers to life’s unfair outcomes, but I hope that perhaps some of the things I have learnt over the past 50 plus years, will help someone.
Let’s start by stating my views are undoubtedly heavily influenced by my Christian faith. It’s ok for us to have different beliefs and ideologies.
There is a biblical misquote I grew up with that states “the sun shines on the righteous” this suggests that good things come – to good people. You will struggle to find the quote in the scriptures. Why, because it isn’t there, it seems to be twisted from….
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt 4:45
You can see there is a significant difference between the two. It was never meant to be taught, that good things are reserved for good people. Simply put that would neither be fair nor helpful.
Chaos and Order
I’m currently reading “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson. Whilst I don’t subscribe to all his ideas, he draws an interesting picture of the events in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. Traditionally we see the story as a conflict between good and evil, but Peterson frames it as chaos verses order.
Adam and Eve lived in the garden in perfect order, they walked with God, named the animals, food was abundant and freely grew. Then with the bite of a fruit from one tree, their world was tuned upside down. They learnt quickly about chaos. Their new world outside the garden gate was hard, it lacked order and could be seen as cruel and unfair. Yet leaving the garden paradise and swapping it for thorns and trials, was the only way they could learn to stand on their own two feet, grow and progress. It also changed their ordered innocence, to the chaos of parenthood, there are some days we can all relate to that challenge!
The online gym
Some years ago I jokingly told some friends that I had a great business idea. An online only gym. What the customer got was the buzz from signing up and the kudos of telling others they had joined a gym. They also had no guilt for not going to the gym, because after all it didn’t physically exist. What I got, was the money with no equipment to buy or building to rent. Everyone wins, especially me! I was ahead of my time, it would have worked so well during Covid lockdown!!! But obviously without attending and putting in the effort, overcoming the challenges, the customer gets no physical benefit. Much like for Adam and Eve the challenges are what brings growth.
“Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they ‘hover overhead’, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life constantly.” Its easy to see that this may not be healthy and removes growing experiences. Sometimes too much order and no chaos is not a good thing, for the parent or child.
In todays world there are many forms of privilege. Many are seen as negative and rightly so. Whether based on gender, race or wealth giving people advantage because of who they are, rather than what they earn, harbours resentment. Remember the misquote at the beginning. “The sun shines on the righteous’ imagine how much resentment the self professed “righteous” would face, if everything just magical went their way?
Putting it all together
I don’t comprehend how a loving Heavenly Father watches our suffering and trials without stepping in. But…
I believe that He wants us to experience chaos like Adam and Eve, because we don’t grow and advance when we are trapped in the overtly ordered garden.
I believe that a loving Heavenly Father wants us to actually go to the spiritual gym (church) and lift others weights. Not just subscribe and sit at home.
I believe that a wise Heavenly Father does not intervene and air lift us from problems, because He knows that is not how we learn to be like Him – progressing as we overcome our own challenges is the only way.
I believe that the God I follow, never wants me to feel privileged at the expense of others, because that does not teach me compassion or understanding.
Mortal life is hard but it is just a small portion of a infinitely larger eternal life that God has planned for us. We come here from Him like children going to school. We are spiritual beings having earthly experiences, then after we graduate we can return to His presence. Some of us graduate younger than others. Some have more lessons to learn. But lets not be despondent, we have the trust of a Heavenly Father that believes that we can succeed.
Where do we fit in?
When we know where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. Some of the trials in life are easier to deal with. This short video I have put together helps explain.
I love a modern day parable by Boyd K. Packer
With an understanding of Gods plan this modern day parable helps put things further into perspective
He said the plan of redemption might be likened to a grand three-act play, with Act I titled “The Premortal Life” or “The First Estate;” Act II, covering the span from birth to the time of resurrection, titled “The Second Estate;” and Act III titled “Life After Death, Eternal Life.”
“In mortality, we are like one who enters a theatre just as the curtain goes up on the second act,” President Packer said. “We have missed Act I. The production has many plots and sub-plots that interweave, making it difficult to figure out who relates to whom and what relates to what, who are heroes and who are villains. It is further complicated: you are not just a spectator; you are a member of the cast, on stage, in the middle of it all!”
President Packer noted that the line, “And they lived happily ever after,” is never written into the second act. “That line belongs in the third act when the mysteries are solved, and everything is put right. . ..
“Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of this great drama, you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life. Some are born with so little and others with so much, some in poverty, with disabilities, with pain, with suffering, premature death even of innocent children. There are the brutal, unforgiving forces of nature and there is the brutality of man to man. We’ve seen a lot of that recently.
“Do not suppose that God wilfully causes that, which for His own purpose, He permits. When you know the plan and purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a loving Father in Heaven.”
If you have found this helpful or interesting, please share and uplift another.