Why Do Bad Things Happen?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  This is what Paul wrote to the church in Rome. (Romans 8:28)  Do we know this?  I mean, really know it?

One time we got some "bad gas" (fuel for our van, not the other kind!) that messed up our fuel gauge.  Hubby and I were on the interstate, about a mile and a half from our exit, when the needle suddenly dropped and the van stalled.  We started praying that God would please get us as close as possible to the exit.  We knew that even if we coasted that far, it was still at least another mile to the closest gas station and we were not dressed for a walk.  Well, we kept praying and Hubby kept steering and the van kept coasting.  I couldn't believe it when we made it around the bend to the exit ramp! Instead of pulling over, Hubby decided to see how far up the ramp we could coast... we kept going!  The light at the top of the ramp is always red and is a couple minutes long.  We didn't want to get stuck in the lane at the light, so we prayed that we could pull over, but just then the light turned GREEN!  So we coasted through, somehow making the turn without any power steering and thought, "Uh oh, we're going to get stuck on the bridge that crosses the interstate."  Just then, the light on the other side of the bridge turned green, so we slid through that one, too!  At this point, Hubby knew we couldn't get much further and we were going pretty slow, so he was driving on the shoulder to stay out of everyone's way.  Around another bend in the road and another red light.  Once again, just as we approached, it turned green!  The gas station was just up ahead, albeit with a steep entrance that we couldn't possibly get up at the speed we were crawling by now.  Do you believe that we not only made it up that incline, but to within mere feet of the pump?  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been there myself!  This was definitely an example of answered prayer!

Why did God choose to provide what we asked for in this silly case, when so often we pray for someone's life, health, comfort, or other "legitimate" request, and he chooses to say no?  This is the question that probably keeps most people from accepting God's existence.  Why does he let the bad things happen?  When I fell down a flight of stairs, breaking several bones and ending up in a wheelchair, I prayed for a quick recovery.  I asked God to amaze my doctors with my "miraculous" healing so that I could get back to my life as soon as possible.  I felt confident the day the surgeon who put my ankle back together came in to check on me.  I was sure he was going to say I was healing fast and should be able to go home and get back to work in a few days.  I was devastated.  Three more weeks in the hospital!  Two entire months confined to a wheelchair!  This wasn't happening... I had prayed fervently!  Why did God refuse to grant my request?  It's not fair!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  This was for my good?  It all is.  We have to know that, even when we don't like it.  I was a new Christian when this happened.  I was taught countless valuable lessons through this trial.  I saw my brothers' and sisters' selflessness as they attended to my and my daughter's needs.  Transportation, food, laundry, everything was taken care of.  Without that experience, would I perhaps be a more selfish Christian who doesn't step forward when someone is in need?  Would I not have learned the peace that comes from ceaseless prayer? What about being humble?  It's hard to not be humble when other people are laundering your underwear.  Is it the way I would have done it?  No.  But God knows what's best for me when I don't.  He takes the most miserable experiences in our life and works them out for GOOD!  Know that.  Even when you don't feel it at the time. It all takes place in HIS time, not ours, and his plan is perfect.  Thank you, Lord, for knowing what's best for me and working good out of even the worst situations!