“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

I understand the question, but I think it is fundamentally flawed. In that question is the assumption that people are inherently good. The Bible would disagree. It makes it clear NO ONE is good, not even one (Romans 3:10, 23, Jeremiah 17:9, 1 John 1:8-10). My follow-up question would be, “Who are these ‘good’ people you speak of?” I’m certainly not one of them!

The book of Ezra chronicles the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the second-to-last chapter, after the Jews have finally rebuilt the Temple, there are other problems. Ezra is learning about a major intermarriage problem that is plaguing the Jews. Hundreds of years before Paul lived to write Romans 3, Ezra was affirming “None is righteous, no not one.” As he prays, he says something so profound…

for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God…

Ezra 9:8 ESV

Favor has been shown for a brief moment. The question we began with made the assumption that everyone is good, which seems to entitle us to “good” treatment. What I love about Ezra 9:8 is that it doesn’t smell like entitlement. It recognizes God’s favor for what it is: a gift we did not (and cannot) earn.

Never take God’s favor or blessing in your life for granted. You’re not entitled to it and you didn’t earn it. Be thankful for it.

Beware when we make assumptions about the way we deserve to be treated by God. Be thankful for God’s favor when it is displayed in your life, and let it remind you of how much God loves you despite what you deserve!

K E V I N • M I L L E R

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