Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Feb. 7, 2021

Reflection for Feb. 7, 2021

When bad things happen to good people

Book of Job  illustrates the mystery and love of   God 

by Sister Ann Rehrauer

We don’t often get a reading from the Book of Job – and it’s probably a good thing. Job seems to have spent much of his life battling chronic depression. But as we hear his story – it’s pretty understandable. In the beginning of the narrative, Job experiences God’s blessings of prosperity, large flocks and plentiful crops, a happy and large family, and good health. And suddenly – it’s all wiped out. At first, Job accepts the ill fortune: “I accept good things from God – should I not accept evil as well?” But as the losses continue, it finally wears him down and he cries out in frustration, “WHY ME, LORD?”

We all know people who seem to have more than their share of “ill fortune” - painful cancer, a young mother dying and leaving small children behind, a series of job losses and evictions, people living with addictions they can’t conquer, deaths of medical personnel and first responders who died providing for others during the pandemic. And we, too, sometimes ask, “why --when we need these people so desperately? Why doesn’t God intervene to prevent this?”

The Book of Job is an attempt to answer the age-old question – “why do bad things happen to good people?” In the wisdom of the world, being blessed by God in this life is a sign of God’s favor and happens because of the righteousness of the recipient. And yet, as Job rightly says, he has been faithful -- and still evil befalls him.

For 37 chapters, Job’s friends and colleagues offer advice, relying on the perennial wisdom that says somehow, this must be his fault.

At last, an answer comes from God – but it doesn’t seem very satisfying:

“Who can know the mind of God?”

“ Who has been God’s counselor?”

“Were any of us there when God laid out the plan for the universe?”

When all was said and done – Job acknowledged that God has a plan, God is in charge, and we don’t always understand – but we are called to trust God.

As we struggle with the mystery of evil and suffering, we, too, have to acknowledge that God has a plan and we are not in charge. But we also know that God never wills evil and suffering. Rather, God wants what is good for us, in spite of the existence of evil in the world. Sometimes that means working through hardships, enduring suffering and pain, and losses that are part of being human and living in an imperfect world. God’s will for us is to do whatever we can to alleviate suffering and to right injustices. And at the same time, to trust that in the midst of all that surrounds us – we are loved and sustained by God and by people God provides to support us on this journey.


Jean Mauthe
02/05/2021 7:55 am

Good morning Sister Ann. Thank you so much for your beautiful reflection. I do know one family that has been hit hard over the years. They have had to deal with cancer with 3 of them, a son who died at 23 (11 years ago today) due to heart issues and a second son who has high anxiety due to all that has happened to his family members. But this 2nd son is also married and expecting his first child and the parents first grandchild. So there is also joy in their family!! I do not know about the faith of the kids but I know the parents hang on strong to their faith in God. I don’t know how else they would be able to handle what life has thrown at them. We do have a very imperfect world as you said. We each have to do our little part to make it less imperfect. Thank you for doing your part by encouraging us and reminding us that we are loved and sustained by God and all of God’s people!!!!! Have a great weekend. Stay safe and stay warm.

02/05/2021 9:52 am

Thanks so much. I've had this discussion before, God never wills evil or suffering. God always loves us. He wants what is good and is with us in our suffering. Well said!

Peter Schumacher
02/05/2021 10:54 am

What a perfect time to read this reflection! And you are right that people ask this question from Job’s time to the present. Thank you for your insight as we continue to see “bad things happening to good people.”

Paula Charles Benson
02/05/2021 11:48 am

Dear Sister Ann,

I loved reading your sustaining words of God and the life of Job! Thank you!


02/05/2021 3:06 pm

Beautiful reflection of God's everlasting presence & love on our journey.

Father Bill Jacobs
02/06/2021 9:48 am

Dear Sister,

That is truly one of the best Reflections that I've heard in a long time. It captures our challenges from a political sense, a Pandemic sense, a Country sense, and the challenges of our family life nowadays. I loved it! You & the Holy Spirit did a great job!

Bless you & hope to see you & the Good Sisters down the road a bit. I miss you folks! Father Bill

P.S. My Sisters Annie & Mary Lou, as well as Brother Ronnie & I all drop by (virtually) to wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day and a wonderful Lenten Season....

Denise Dorner
02/06/2021 11:12 am

Sr. Ann.

We all have different "struggles" every day and the reminder that God has a plan for us and is here for us, is comforting. Thanks for the encouragement!

Patricia Budz
02/06/2021 10:27 pm

Thank you, Sister Ann, for helping us understand why bad things happen to good people. It is

not for us to always understand but to give us hope and to keep our faith strong. God is with us every moment of our lives and for that we thank Him!

Sister Rose Jochmann
02/08/2021 10:53 am

Good reflection for this time in history and for our daily lives! Thanks.

Debbie Tahany
02/13/2021 10:09 pm

Thanks Ann, for the reminder God does not "test" us, but walks within us and around us (family/friends) as all that is on earth and human occurs in our lives. Blessings and stay warm!

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