Joyce Meyer - When Bad Things Happen to Good People - Part 2
Don't let trouble destroy your faith in God. Just dig a little deeper. You say, "But it hurts"! Well, you know what? The only time you're growing is when you're hurting. And I'll tell you, when you really grow, when you do the right thing, and the right thing is not happening to you yet. When you really, I mean, you're a pretty good person, as far as, you know, a person can be good, which is not very good. But you know, you're trying to obey God, you're tithing, you're giving, you're serving, you're loving, well, how do we respond when bad things happen to good people? Well, you know, "God don't you love me anymore"? Don't ever say that to God.
I used to say that, "Well, God, don't you love me anymore"? And in Romans 8, it says, "Let nothing separate you from the love of God, which is found in Christ Jesus". Don't ever say that. Just say, "God, I know you love me". If you have to say it through gritted teeth, you say, "God, I know you love me. I know you're good. I know you love me, and I know that you're going to work this out for my good". Amen? Don't let it steal your faith in God. Let it drive you deeper. "But Joyce, it hurts". I'm doing a devotional on the book of Psalms. And man, I tell you. The way David prayed for his enemies: "Poke their eyes out God, kill 'em. Slam their kids against the wall," I mean, he was just like, it was bad. And I thought, "What's with this"?
Now, fast forward, new covenant. We have to bless 'em, forgive 'em. Help them if they have needs. I mean, the Psalms it's getting a little bit hard, I think, I'm on like, Psalm 110, or something. And it's getting a little hard because they're all just a like. Somebody's just having a fit about what's going on in their life, but then, they always end up with, "But God, I know that you're good, and I put my trust in you. And I know that you'll work this out". And God doesn't mind if you're honest with him, and if you tell him how you feel. But always bring it back to, "But I know that you love me. I know that you love me".
You know, it's okay not to be okay all the time. We don't always have to be okay. And I think we need to get a little more honest with each other. Christians, sometimes, are just like, "How are you, brother"? "Fine". No, you ain't fine. And I've caught myself, lately, it's just like, "How are you, Joyce"? "Fine". And I'm stopping myself. And I say, "Now, wait a minute. I'm not fine. I've felt lousy for the last three days. But I trust God, and I know that he loves me, and that this will come to an end". I think we would be a lot closer. We would have a lot better fellowship, and a lot better relationships, if we would stop pretending all the time. "How are you"? "I'm fine".
You know, I doubt very much that Jonah was fine when he was in that whale's belly. You read the Psalms, David sure wasn't fine all the time. We go through things and it hurts. But when you feel the pain, you might as well just say, "I'm growing". Come on, "I'm growing". Just start doing that, if you want to make the devil mad. "This hurts so bad, but I'm growing". And you know what? It's gonna make you stronger. And you're gonna get to the point where the devil can't handle you. In Isaiah 41, it says, "I will turn you into a new sharp threshing instrument that has teeth".
You know, I work out, three days a week, with a trainer, and I've been doing it for, I guess, now, about 14 years. But my husband's been working at 63 years. That's why he looks the way he does. And, you know, I don't get too sore, anymore. I mean, when I first started working out, I thought it was going to kill me. I mean, the first few times, I worked out, I mean, I had to fall on the toilet and pray to get off. I mean, you couldn't... Everything hurt. And you know, when everything hurts, that's generally, when we want to give up. But I don't get too sore, anymore, 'cuz, I've got experience, now. But Friday, I must have done some different kind of exercise, because yesterday, I was really sore. But you know what? I thought, "Good". 'cuz that Soreness tells me that I'm building muscle somewhere, where I needed it.
See, if it don't hurt then you're already in good shape in that place. So, let's just stop being twigs and start being trees. We've got a big oak tree in our backyard. I mean, that thing's probably been, I don't know, maybe, it's a 100 years old. I don't know. And we had a really bad storm, a couple weeks ago, and there were a lot of trees that were uprooted and twisted around, but didn't bother that oak tree. When you become a deeply rooted tree of righteousness, the storms of life can't destroy you, and blow you over. So, when you have problems, don't let it destroy you. Second thing, you can do when you're having trouble is make a decision that you're going to let it make you better and not bitter. And I know you probably heard that statement. Let it make you better, not bitter. But in all seriousness, let it make you better. Not bitter. Don't be offended when you have trouble, and get indignant.
You know, the word indignant is an interesting word. And it's kind of like this little attitude that's like, "Well, I don't know why this happened to me. I don't deserve this". Oh, honey, we deserve so much more than what we get. I mean, if it wasn't for the mercy of God... His mercy's new every day. And if it wasn't for the mercy of God, we would all be destroyed. "Well, I don't deserve this". Oh, my gosh. If it wasn't for the grace and the mercy of God, if we got what we deserved, c'mon, is anybody home out there? If we got what we deserved, no matter how good you think you are, if you got what you deserved, it would not be pretty. That's why God doesn't want us to give people what they deserve. But he wants us to give them mercy. Everything God gives to you: he wants it to go through you to somebody else. Are you with me?
A good news statement, "To me and through me". God fills you full of his love, so you can love somebody else. God shows you mercy, so you can be merciful to somebody else. God forgives you, so you can forgive other people. If we're not giving it away, then we become like a stopped up well, with no life flowing it. My goodness, the time is going by fast. The other thing, when you have trouble, please hear this, don't try to figure it out. Some of you needed that more than the way you're behaving. Don't try to figure it out. It's just a waste of time. And even if you get something figured out, that you think is right, it's probably not.
Romans 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God". Now, listen to this. "How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways are past finding out". It's not gonna do any good, to try to figure it out. I don't know why I got cancer 32 years ago. And I don't know why I had to have two hips replaced, but I'll tell ya, I'm getting to be like the bionic woman. I'm getting all these parts that will never wear out. You may have to put up with me a long time. We've got longevity in my bloodline. My grandfather was 102.
Now, look. Let's end with a little bit of Romans 8, 'cuz it is so good. Romans 8:36 and 37 says, "Even as it is written, for your sake we are put to death all the day long", now, I love this, "We are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter". Now, you may not like that. But I like that. Do you know why? Because what it's really saying is, people looking at you, to them, you may look like a sheep being led to the slaughter, 'cuz you got some problems. "But right in the midst of all these things we are more than conquerors". Whoo! I don't care what it looks like to you, I've got the victory, and I'm going to be a trophy of God's grace. And God's gonna use me to spread the knowledge of his fragrance everywhere that I go. Come on. Anybody feeling better?
Okay, now, listen. You don't wanna be like Mark 4 said. There are people that, boy, when they hear the word, they get excited. They act like you're acting, right now. But when trouble or persecution comes, on account of the word, I mean, it doesn't even say you're in sin. You know, if you're just making some progress, you're hearing the word, trouble and persecution can come on account of that. You're being tried. You're being tested. Do you really believe this stuff? The devil said to God, "Well, of course, job loves you. You've put a hedge about him and nothing, but good stuff, happens to him". And God says, "Well, we'll just take it down and you still won't be able to defeat him".
Now, he had a few rough days in there. Said a few things about God, that weren't accurate. But if you read the end of the book, everything that job lost, was given back to him twice over. You look like a sheep being led to the slaughter, but right in the middle of all those things, you are more than a conqueror. See, here's the thing that you don't understand, you've already got the victory. 'cuz Jesus already said, "It's finished. I've already decided how it's ending". And all you have to do is hang on till the end. Keep your faith until the end. Love God until the end. When you're hurting so bad, you feel like you can't stand it, go love somebody else.
Joyce: Well, I really pray that my teaching, today, has encouraged you, not to give up on your faith, no matter the troubles that come. Ginger's with me, today, and she's gonna ask me some of the questions that you've sent in about this topic.
Ginger: Oh, Joyce.
Joyce: Oh, Ginger.
Ginger: These are hard ones. These are the big questions. So, we're just gonna dive into them because they're questions that people have.
Ginger: And I think it's really important as we begin this, because we're talking about, you know, that phrase that everybody asks, "Why do bad things happen to good people"? And I think it's really important, as we ask these questions, to understand that we're not gonna know the answer to absolutely everything. We can't understand everything that God is.
Joyce: Well, we live in a bad world with a bad devil. And so, you know, even Jesus said, "In the world, you will have tribulation, but cheer up, I have overcome the world".
Joyce: And so, even though bad things happen to good people, good people can put their faith in God, and watch God take those bad things and work them out for their good.
Ginger: Yeah, alright, let's just jump into these questions. The first one comes from, Barb, in Illinois. She says, "Three close people to me are wonderful followers of God. It seems the more good they do: the more things go wrong. I don't see God working in their lives. I'm afraid that if I push harder to be a better Christian, what bad things could happen to me, too"?
Joyce: Well, it's definitely true that when you step out and you try to do something good, the enemy is going to come against you. I heard somebody say, one time, "I would be more concerned if the devil wasn't bothering me, than I am because he is". Because if you're not doing anything to help anybody else, if you're not making any progress in your walk with God, he's probably, gonna leave you alone. Now, everybody goes through this, but that doesn't mean that, that's your eternal destiny. You know, we have a lot of great things happen in our life, now. But I remember, when Dave and I were first getting started in the ministry, I mean, it was just one thing after another, after another, after another. And the devil comes against progress. He hates growth and he hates progress. And sometimes, God will use those as testing times in our life. You know, it's easy to say you have faith. It's easy to say you trust God, till you have to do it. And so, this person is saying, "Why should I become a Christian if that's what's gonna happen". Well, it's probably happening to you, anyway, so you might as well get on God's side, where you're going to have some divine help, and know that these things won't last forever, and that God can take them and work them out for good.
Ginger: So many of those bad things are preparation for the good things that God has. And if you look at the alternative, the alternative is a life where, maybe, they're not seeing that same type of bad things. But they're still seeing many bad things in their life. And in the end, it's not gonna go well.
Joyce: Do you know, if you have Jesus in your life, you can be happier having him and a problem, than you would, if you did not have Jesus in your life, and you had no problems?
Ginger: Yeah. Excellent point. Okay, Sherry, from Missouri, says, "Why do bad things still happen after prayers, sleepless nights, and many tears. For example, praying for a sick loved one, and they're not being healed".
Joyce: Well, first of all, I want to say that if you don't like mysteries, you're not gonna like hanging out with Jesus. Because there are many things that don't seem to make sense. We live life forward, but we understand it backwards. And so, the only thing I can say is that I know that God is good. And I know that he takes bad things and works them out for good. And here's my answer to her. Just because you think it's bad, that doesn't mean that God sees it as bad. You know, many times, he has plots and plans that we don't know anything about. And I really like that thought of, you live life forward but, I mean, how many things, Ginger, did you not understand when they were happening, but you look back now, and you see, "I see what good that did in my life. I see how I grew through that".
Ginger: Oh, so many things.
Joyce: "I see how it affected other people". And so, our whole walk with God is about trust. Without faith, it's impossible to please God. And we don't need faith if we understand everything. So, the best thing to do, when you don't understand something, is just say, "Well, God, I don't understand this, but I trust you anyway". Because when everything else is pushed out of the way, one thing you must hold onto, is that God is good.
Ginger: You're doing really well with these answers. This is really helpful, here. Here's a very tough one. And our heart, just breaks when we read some of these questions, for the pain that people are going through. But Lisa, from new Hampshire, says, "I'm watching, 'Enjoying Everyday Life,' and Joyce is talking about God working everything out for our good, even bad things. My son died, recently. And God could have saved him, but he didn't. How is God going to work this out for good? I'm completely lost".
Joyce: Well, I don't know exactly everything that God will do, but I do know that if she can manage to still love God and keep her faith, and continue to be a blessing to other people, one of the good things that I know can come from it, is she can be a tremendous encouragement to other people who lose children. You know, one of the things that I know from being sexually abused by my father, and I prayed, and I feel like, you know, "Why didn't God stop it? Why didn't my mother do something about it"? There's always a why. I don't know the answer to all that, but I know the fact that even though God didn't deliver me from it, he brought me through it. And so, God didn't heal her son. But if she's willing to go through it, God will bring her through it, and he will make her stronger. Her faith will be deeper. And nobody can minister to somebody else, like somebody who's been there and been through it.
Ginger: That's so true.
Joyce: You know, it's very effective for me to say to somebody who's been sexually abused, "You can make it through this, and God can work it out for good". You could tell 'em that, and that would still be good, but it wouldn't have the same impact that it would with me telling them, because they know, that they know, that they know, that I've been there. So, that's one thing that I could say right away could work out for good.
Ginger: Well, and the world is such a hard place. Because, you know, when Adam and Eve took a bite out of that apple death came into the world. And there are just, facts of life, that God still had a good plan to redeem, even though, it is hard for us, as we walk through it.
Joyce: That's right. We always have a redeemer, and he's a restorer. He heals broken hearts. And this woman, I can imagine, her heart is just breaking. You know, I have not lost a child, to death. So, I can't say that I know what that feels like, but I can just imagine, that it's just really, probably, about one of the most awful things that can happen to you. I do know people that it has happened to. And I do know that they have survived it, and they still love God. And I just think that, there's no such thing as trust without unanswered questions. There's so many things that we want answers to, that we are just not gonna have those answers, until we get to heaven. And that's part of being in a relationship with God.
Ginger: Well, we're just gonna keep on asking these hard questions. This is from, Paula, and she says, "Why does God keep allowing bad things to happen in my life? It's like I never get a break". And I think how many people are feeling that way. "Is this the consequence of former sin, before becoming a Christian"?
Joyce: Well, there are consequences from sin. But you're going down a rabbit hole that has no end, if you start thinking that every bad thing that happens, is a result of some bad thing that you've done. God is good and he forgives us. And I just believe, let's think about Jesus for a minute. Right before he began his public ministry, he was led by the Holy Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, 40 days and 40 nights. Now, why? Well, I believe that testing proves who we are. It's good for us to know, but it's also good for the devil to know, that we're not gonna quit and we're not gonna give up. And sometimes, you'll have seasons of testing in your life. The Bible says, there's a, you know, a time for this and a time for that, you know. So, there's a time for testing. And if you keep trusting God, you're sowing good seeds of faith, and then, there will come a time for reaping. So, we go through seasons in our life where it's like, "My goodness. How blessed can we be"? I mean, it's just like everything you hear is good news, good news, good news. And then, you go through a season, you know... Now, what I'm gonna say, maybe, doesn't compare to what she's been going through. But I couldn't even tell you, how many pretty, major repairs we've had on our house this year. It's just like, "Really"?
Ginger: Just one thing breaking after the next.
Joyce: I mean, one thing after another, after another, after another. And it's so important that we know this will end. We will come into another season, and Jesus passed every test. And so, I've got one series called, "Don't panic. This is only a test". And some of these things, nobody has the answer to. You know, we all want to know everything. And like I say, if you don't like mystery, you're not gonna like hanging out with God. Because there's just a lot of things that we just have to say, "Well, I don't understand this. And it really, really hurts. But I'm gonna really make the devil mad, and I'm gonna trust God anyway, and believe this is gonna work out for my good".
Ginger: Yeah. Well, let me tell you, thank you. We should all buy you a coffee, or something, you did such a nice job answering these really hard life questions.
Joyce: Well, I hope they help people.