I remember the first time I wondered, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. It was the day an older girl in my youth group tragically passed away in a car accident. It was the same day I realized that I needed a relationship with God because I wouldn’t always be able to handle things myself.
I remember the second time I wondered the same thing. It was the day my friend Hannah came to my house and told me that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer. It was four years later when one of my Young Life girls was diagnosed with cancer that I realized God could use Hannah’s death to help me minister to someone else. For the first time, I recognized the good that could come out of tragedy as I was able to empathize with a group of high school girls.
Today I’m wondering the same thing while grieving the loss of an incredible man, Donald Leonetti. He loved his family and his community. He gave so much of his life and his finances away. He brought passion, laughter and life to any room. He always encouraged me and he printed and designed great t-shirts (and normally cut me an awesome deal).
While I’m grieving senseless violence and the loss of a great man, I’m reading Ephesians. I’m seeing in scripture why bad things happen to good people.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
God has never been out to get any of my good friends that have gone through hard things. But there is sin in this world and there are people choosing to live in this sin and follow the prince of the power of the air instead of Jesus, the prince of peace. Because of this sin, sometimes bad things happen to the best of people and we’re all reminded how broken this world is.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved”
God loves us. He sees beyond our sin. He saves us. He gives us a way to be free from sin. He gives us a new way to walk through life. He gives us life forever.
Today I’m grieving the death of a man on this earth, but I’m rejoicing that God is transforming this world. As we’re reminded of the reality of sin and brokenness today, may we be even more reminded by the depth of God’s love for us that he does not leave us here.
Donald, thank you for showing the world what it looks like to live life well. You loved to the max, and we’re forever thankful for that.
For those who are sinning and cause others pain, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34