Episode 75 – When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Bad things happen. We may do everything we can to be our best, do our best, be loving and caring to others, and even do ‘the right thing’ when doing so is really hard. But living a life of Goodness and Virtue doesn’t guarantee an escape from hardship. When unfortunate circumstances or trauma happens, we often launch into questioning why. Why does suffering exist? Why me? In this episode we explore the timeless story of Job which reveals how such questions bind us to perpetual suffering. There is a way to live with trauma without becoming its victim.
Bad things happen!
We may do everything we can to be our best, do our best, be loving and caring to others, and even do ‘the right thing’
Living a life of Goodness and Virtue doesn’t guarantee an escape from hardship
The Story of Job
The article I reference in the beginning of this episode can be found here: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/09/job-edward-l-greenstein/594769/
18th book in the Bible
Believed to be the oldest book, predating Genesis
Wisdom literature genre
Poetic in nature
As relevant today as it was in sixth century BCE
Satan (the adversary)
Job was a righteous man who did everything right and lived a God-centered life. But he loses everything – his land, his children, his health
He suffers mightily and seeks answers to questions such as:
Why is there suffering?
Why am I targeted?
Why was I born?
He is ‘consoled’ by ‘friends’
Finally Job gets a response from God, but his questions are not answered
Instead he awakens to the Nature of Reality, the Mystery of Creation and the Vastness beyond himself
Nature of Reality
Mystery of Creation
Vastness of ‘beyond self’
The shift in consciousness that he experiences is being able to live with trauma without becoming its victim. As a result, his life is restored in an incredibly abundant fashion. This is symbolic of how Life supplies us when we say yes to it.
Takeaways from the story:
The questions of why suffering exists and why an all powerful God doesn’t prevent evil in the world are not answered
Those are not the questions!
And as long as we make those our questions, we will not transcend our suffering
The question of how to live when bad things happen IS the question
Don’t spend much time blaming yourself, others or some existential force
Stop resisting what is and looking for answers to ‘why me?”
Just keep living – pain happens — suffering is optional
Dialogue and Inquiry
What is your experience of “bad things happen to good people?” What is the way through? Or how do we not resist when bad things happen?”
In the face of unfortunate circumstances or trauma, have you dwelled on the question, “Why?“ Do we really need to find answers to existential questions? What purpose does it serve? Ultimately would the answers matter?
What theological/psychological ‘help’ would today’s ‘friends’ provide us when we are afflicted with great loss? Have you ever had or been such a ‘friend?’
What does this story mean to you and how do you apply it to your life?
I look for and acknowledge the presence of God in all that is currently confronting me. I accept and welcome without resistance, the spiritual opportunities that every moment presents. This is the key that opens the way to Peace and Healing, for the only thing that upsets me or brings suffering is my resistance to what is. God is in the midst always.