“Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” If you have struggled finding an answer to this question—as most of us do at some point—then this can be a great opportunity for you to learn something. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I can’t speak for God. But I can share with you what I have gathered from my personal experience, and what I have learned from the wisdom of those who have gone before me.

Let’s use a real life example and take a look at hunger in developing countries.

– Hunger is the world’s No.1 health risk. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

– There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the USA, Canada and the European Union.

– 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of them live in developing countries (578 million in Asia and the Pacific, 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 37 million in the Near East and North Africa).

– 65 percent of the world’s hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

– 10.9 million children under the age of five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths [Source: http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats%5D.

In my own humble opinion, this is an extremely horrifying reality. Of all the ways to live and die, starvation would rank up there as one of the worst. If God is so loving and fair, why does he let some people suffer so much, and others apear to suffer so little?

If we are to understand, we have to be completely honest with ourselves, and ask ourselves a few questions.

“Am I perfect?” If we understand that no one but God is we can conclude that our judgment is flawed and there have been ample times in our lives when we thought we were right, but turned out we were actually wrong. Sometimes someone may have even told us we were wrong, but we leaned on our own judgment anyway and fell on our face.

“Do I assume that a perfect God should think something is wrong or right, just because I feel it is wrong or right?” Or in other words “Would I want my God to have as flawed judgment skills as my own?” This is an important question to ask when dealing with this topic, because it really gives us a foundation to stand on if we truly want to know why something is the way it is, even when we feel that it is wrong.

“Do I have the correct perspective?” Understand that we as mortals are limited in our perspective because we are just that: mortal. Everything we deal with in this life has a beginning and an end. This mortal life is all we know and can comprehend, so our judgment is based on what we can see, hear, smell, touch, or feel emotionally—things we know. However, God’s perfect perspective is eternal.

That should be enough for now. If you have answered those questions honestly we can take a closer look at those who are affected by hunger and death around the world. God has a perfect plan for everyone right? So instead of looking at what’s lost with our mortal perspective, let’s try and look at what’s gained with an eternal perspective.

Understand that this mortal life is but a mere a spec in the eternal lives of all mankind. The suffering that one person may endure in mortality will be as a night dream to those in the eternal world (see Isaiah 29:7).Think back to a time in your adolescence when you experienced great pain. That pain may have been very traumatizing to you at that time it happened, but now a hazy memory has muddled some of those details. Time has a funny way of dulling distant sensations, but what does last the test of time more than pain or details, are the lessons learned and experience gained. If it is so easy to forget painful details in such a short period of time in mortality, imagine how we will view this mortality in timeless eternity.

“Hey remember that time on earth?”

“Yeah, that was so tough but I learned so much! I can’t believe how much I gained from that spec of time so many eons ago!”

For those who endure suffering and tribulation in this life, they have a promise from a loving Heavenly Father that no trial is meaningless, and shall  be for their good. All losses will be made up in the eternal realm.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7).

If the purpose of this life is happiness and to prepare man to meet God, then trail is given for our benefit, to purify and to give us the experience we need to enter into His holy rest. The Lord counseled the Prophet Joseph Smith while he endured one of his most trying times while a prisoner under false accusation in Liberty Jail, Missouri:

“If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

“If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-8)?

It is not our position to sit in judgment of what one person needs and another doesn’t. To say that it is not fair that one person suffers above another is to discredit individual progression. Is it not possible that there are those who were more righteous spirits that needed only to gain a body and learn physical adversity in this mortality to enter the presence of God? We do not know the mind of God, nor are we qualified to judge what another one of His spirit children needs to be prepared to meet him. For some it may be spiritual tribulation that is needed, and for others, physical; for some the adversity will be greater, and for some lighter. Christ who was the best of all, the only perfect soul to walk the earth, suffered more than anyone who ever lived.

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11-12).

Did not inconceivable sufferings happen to Christ? Does He not know what it is to starve? Does He not know what it is to endure the pains of death? Was His suffering unfair or given in vain?

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 3:32-33).

So why do bad things happen to good people? Or similarly, why does God allow horrible things to happen to innocent people in this world? Simply, it is because God knows what each individual needs, what one individual can handle and what one can’t. Only God knows how to achieve the greatest good and growth in each of His different, loved children and to bring to pass their immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39).

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In closing, here is some food for thought. Those who suffer, gain experience. Those who help the sufferer, gain charity (see 1 Corinthians 14). For those who suffer and are helped, gain, with experience, gratitude. All those who are positively involved gain the blessings of Heaven.

The only ones who gain nothing, are those who do nothing.

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