Acts 14 Lesson

Adversity. Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen To Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people? 

That is a question that people have been asking forever.

It is an important question for us to think about because if we cannot answer that question for ourselves, our faith will suffer.

Asking why bad things happen to good people can lead to other questions like:

  1. Where is God when something horrible happens?
  2. And why did He not intervene?

To answer these questions, we must first accept the following four truths that are found in the Bible:

  1. God loves us,
  2. Satan is the ruler of the earth,
  3. God allows us to suffer for our own spiritual well-being,
  4. There is no pain or suffering in Heaven.

We will look at these truths one at a time and then the lesson will be yours.


God’s love is stronger than anything we have experienced or can imagine. 

He loved us first when we were trapped in sin, which is why He sent His Son. 

As you read the following three verses, take comfort in knowing how much you are loved by God the Father:

  1. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” - John 3:16,
  2. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love,and the one who abides in loveabides in God,and God abides in him.” -1 John 4:15-16,
  3. “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39.


Did you know that Satan is referred to as the “ruler of the Earth” several times in the Bible?

It is not something that we hear a lot, but that is exactly what the Bible says. 

Understanding that God is allowing Satan to temporarily rule the Earth is fundamental to understanding why bad things happen to good people. 

Consider the following four scriptures:

  1. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power ofthe evil one.” - 1 John 5:19,
  2. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 4:4,
  3. “The ruler of this world will be cast out.” -John 12:31,
  4. “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” - John 14:30.

In these four verses, Satan is referred to as:

  • “The evil one,”
  • “The god of this world,”
  • And “The ruler of the world” twice!

Knowing this, we need to pause and consider what the implications are for those of us who are seeking to go to Heaven. 

Understanding that Satan is the ruler of the Earth explains why bad things happen to good people.

When we understand that God is permitting Satan to rule the earth for a period of time, we understand the influence that Satan has on spreading sin and destruction throughout the world. 

Peter wrote about this in his first epistle:

  • “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8.


Suffering is part of being a Christian!

For followers of Jesus, it is not a question of if they are going to suffer, it is a question of when. 

Peter and Paul wrote about this in the following two scriptures:

  1. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12,
  2. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

Suffering comes in different forms.  

As Christians, we may experience physical suffering, persecution, isolation, or any number of things.  

God allows suffering for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To disciplineus,
  3. To shape us into the people that He created us to be.

There are many verses that talk about suffering in the Bible. 

For today’s lesson, we have selected these three:

  1. "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17,  
  2. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” – Psalm 119:71
  3. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

As we live our lives, we must continue to meditate on God’s word to help us keep suffering in its proper perspective. 

The following two scriptures will help us do just that!

  1. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18,
  2. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9.

Whatever suffering we endure on Earth, it will be nothing compared to the glory that awaits the faithful followers of Jesus in Heaven!! 

And no matter how bad our suffering on Earth may be, it is only temporary. 

It will have a beginning and it will come to an end.

Heaven, however, is forever!! 


Today’s lesson would be incomplete if we did not talk about Heaven and what it will be like.

As you read the following three verses about heaven, think about what it would mean to spend eternity with God, Jesus, and all the saints! 

It is this excitement that provides the hope that we will need to persevere during times of adversity.

  1. “He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:4,
  2. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” - John 14:2,
  3. “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9.

Heaven is a place more beautiful than anything we can imagine or any place we have seen! (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Unlike Earth, there are no tears, no pain, and no death in Heaven. 

In fact, the Bible teaches us that we cannot begin to comprehend the majesty of Heaven. 

It is something that we will need to see for ourselves to believe!


Satan is the ruler of the Earth. 

That is what the Bible teaches.

And because he is, we know that there will be suffering and great tragedies on Earth. 

God allows suffering for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To disciplineus,
  3. To shape us into the people that He created us to be.

When we are suffering on Earth, we need to remember that our suffering is temporary, and that Heaven is forever. 

It is the hope that we have of spending eternity in Heaven that allows us to persevere through the difficulties that we will face in this lifetime.

We will end today’s lesson with the following words spoken by the Apostle Paul. 

They are the same words that we hope to be able to say when our time on Earth is coming to an end:

  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8.


Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?


Click To Join The Discussion

Today’s lesson struck a chord in my present life, as I’ve been hit with some unsuspected financial stress. Although my health is good (but not great), Satan knows what it takes to cause me worry. I will be the first to admit that my faith is not where it should be and wouldn’t withstand real persecution, but I am striving to become stronger in that. Pray I do.


I understand whay you are saying. I am stressed about finances also. I will pray for you.


Amen, Derek. Keep reading the Bible and applying what you learn. God will take care of the rest!

Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?


Pat Dermody

Jesus came down to earth to demonstrate how to live in good times and bad. Even He had bad days with friends and enemies turning against him. His friends even fell asleep when he asked them to pray with him. How disheartening when all is friends left in his hour of need.!Of course, dying on the cross was the worst. But he showed us how to endure pain courageously. His reward was heaven. During this Coming New Year I will strive to imitate Christ and ask myself more often “What would Jesus do”?

Pat Dermody

Thank you, Pat.