Turning Bad into Good

For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer. II Corinthians 1: 5-6 (NABRE)

Earthquakes, wildfires, floods, mudslides, blizzards–and war, poverty, abuse, and hunger. If there were a God, atheists claim, such bad events would never happen. Because bad things happen, there cannot be a good God–they claim.

But how good would people be if no one ever had to be a hero? If everyone escaped tragedy, there would be no heroes to celebrate. Without bad things happening–how could we be good?

When bad things happen to us, they help us sympathize with other people who suffer the same fate. No one understands a mother who has lost a child better than another mother who has been through the same experience.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that only survivors of floods can help those facing the duress of rising waters. It does mean that bad events can have meaning. It means a good God can use bad things to turn us into helpers and heroes.

Take Zach Bolster, who lost his mother to cancer.

While she was battling the disease, Zach saw the hardship other patients suffered just trying to get a ride to the hospital.

“My family was shocked by how many cancer patients had difficulty getting to their chemotherapy treatments. We soon realized what a huge financial and family burden transportation during cancer treatments can be. Some patients resorted to riding the bus, others, unfortunately, missed their treatment altogether.”

So Zach and his then-fiancee (now wife) founded ChemoCars to help those in need get to the hospital for their treatment. In only eight months, they had provided 2,000 rides. The ministry continues today.

Cancer is an awful disease. And Zach would prefer his mother had never gotten sick. But his work pays tribute to her. His hardship and hers make other lives better today.
His work brings something good out of something bad.
God once took a bad day–Good Friday–and turned it into redemption for us. The Cross was the bad thing for Christ that became the ultimate good thing for His followers.
Heroes who walk around on earth remind us of the greatest hero–the One who gave Himself to a bad thing to bring us to the best thing–Himself.

Revised from 1/29/18

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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32 Replies to “Turning Bad into Good”

  1. Yes, through my own experiences, I have learned how to help others. My husband and I started a cancer support group when I had breast cancer. My sisters and I became aware of the needs of nursing homes when our mother lived in one. There are many lessons to be learned and shared from the experiences of everyone.

  2. I find it interesting that some people say bad things prove a good God does not exist. But I’ve always wondered why they don’t say good things prove a good God exists!

  3. A family in our home town lost a child some years ago to a rare disease. They have since started a ministry to families in similar circumstances. They bought two houses, one close to each of the two hospitals, where families from out of town can stay free while their loved one has treatment. Of course, the ministry is named after their son.?❤️

    1. The stories about losing children are the most heart-wrenching. Imago Dei–the image of God–that’s what we see in stories like this one you tell. Thank you for sharing it. God bless!

  4. You are so right. God makes horrible situations into beautiful ones. Death is a part of life, but it also helps us appreciate what we have, the people we love. I am blessed to have seen God make good from every dark situation I’ve been in. I don’t always see it at the time, but later I do.

  5. Thanks for tackling such a tough subject. As the Bible states, God isn’t willing that any of his should perish, but he desires good for us all. It is amazing how he turns difficult situations and pain into something good.

  6. So many people blame God for the bad things that happen. They don’t see that we live in a fallen world that started out perfect but was contaminated by sin. God is so good that no matter what, He can take a bad day and turn into something good if we trust Him and walk with Him.

  7. It’s so easy for people to blame bad things on God or to use that as their “reason” to say He doesn’t exist. But I’ve always thought the same thing as Ava — why don’t people tend to look at all the good as reason to show He is here? There is so much good that can come from bad if we’ll let it. I love your thought of “But how good would people be if no one ever had to be a hero?” What a great perspective.

  8. You are right, Nancy, when you point out that going through a bad situation gives us empathy for others. And sharing love with others helps us through our grief as it helps the one to whom we’re are reaching out. I enjoyed the comments others made here–it’s interesting the reasons people use for not believing in God, although I’ve yet to understand how anyone could view the amazing beauty of creation and not recognize there is a master planner. Thanks for your uplifting message–much needed in these times.

    1. Thank you, Katherine. God shows His creative hand all over the world. Manmade light keeps us from seeing His glory reflected in the stars. That’s an apt metaphor for the way the world blinds us to Him. God bless!

  9. I don’t know if you realize that you have become an apologist – ha ha! But seriously, why God allows evil is probably the biggest stumbling block to people wanting to know if there is a God. The best and most easy answer that I have found is due to free will. Most of the worst things that happens to us is from people doing sinful things in this world, and so because God created us in his image, which includes free well, we’ve got nobody to blame except ourselves. However, when it comes to cancer and things that seem like the “natural evils”, that is harder. That’s a theological issue of living in a fallen world that’s not been set right yet. And you are absolutely correct in recognizing that sometimes the best lessons we learn in life come from suffering. Even God suffered.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. When we fall into the lie that our lives should be completely free of suffering, we can remember He suffered. He did it for us. And He was transparent about us having tribulation. We ignore the truth at our own peril–and if we don’t keep our hearts right, we may miss seeing the good that comes from the bad.

  10. Your post reminds me of this truth from 2 Corinthians: He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! (2 Cor 1:4-6)

  11. Beautifully said Nancy. If we are in God, we will try to find ways to turn our bad into Good for God. Great encouragement. Thanks

  12. I love our God who makes all things work together for good, even bad things. Most of my spiritual growth has resulted from times of deep struggle. I don’t want to repeat those situations, but the good that has come from it is worth the hardship.

  13. Insightful post, Nancy. I’ve heard atheists make these claims. This is such a practical and truthful thought, “…a good God can use bad things to turn us into helpers and heroes. Zach’s story drives home this point. And how thankful I am that “The Cross was the bad thing for Christ that became the ultimate good thing for His followers.”

  14. Nancy, Zach’s response to pain reflects a heart like Christ’s. If more of us allowed God to use our pain for good, what a better place it would be for all of us.

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